THE DO'S AND DON'TS OF HIRING A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
February 2015 | Written by Christine Walker and Shannon Jones, photos by CW Photography Designs
There’s so much time and effort involved in planning your ideal wedding. It can become very overwhelming trying to select the right vendors for this momentous occasion. Finding the right photographer in a sea of wedding photographers can be quite a daunting task, to say the least. So, before you say “I Do” to a photographer, here’s some key Do’s and Don’ts to consider.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
DO: First and foremost, research the photographer prior to contacting them for pricing.
DO: Select a photographer who has many years of “real wedding” experience. Websites are filled with staged imagery which is not the same as real time engagement or wedding imagery.
DO: In addition to perusing a photographer’s website/blog, request to see a real wedding gallery from start to finish. It should contain over hundreds of photos based upon the amount of hours the photographer worked at the event. This will allow you to see more than the photographer’s favorite retouched images on their marketing sites. Ask yourself; are these the type of images you want captured at your wedding?
DON’T: Never hire someone whose photography style doesn’t appeal to you. Just because they were recommended by a friend or garnered great online ratings, if you can’t imagine yourself as the subject in the type of photos they produce, they’re not the right photographer for you.
STAY TRUE TO YOUR BUDGET
DO: Understand the factors that impact pricing. Photographers are often priced based on their experience, number of years in their profession and the type of product and services they offer.
DO: Understand exactly what’s in the photography package. Every photographer packages their services differently so ask questions if you’re unsure of what’s included. The average cost of a wedding photographer in the US is $2800 but what you get can vary.
DO: Consider the factors that may impact pricing and finished product, including how many hours of coverage you want, number of photographers, number of guests and the photographer’s experience level and equipment.
DO: Know that not all photographers post their pricing on their site so contact them for pricing after you have identified photographers whose work you most enjoy. It’s best to call them for pricing.
DON’T: You may not want to rely solely on email communication for your initial contact with a photographer. You will get a sense of their personality in a phone conversation versus requesting for pricing via email. Remember, you’re still researching the photographer to find the right one for you.
MEET WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHER
DO: Most importantly, you should really like your photographer because they will be following you around all day. If you enjoy their company, it will make a big difference in your photos vs. someone you don’t click with or find irritating.
DO: Look at sample albums and products that are included in the package. Are the albums high-quality or could you make something comparable yourself on Shutterfly?
DO: Expect a photography consultation to last about 45 minutes to an hour. Allow time to get to know the photographer. Ideally, you should feel relaxed, excited and feel like you’re talking to a friend about your wedding. Remember, the more comfortable you are with the photographer, the more comfortable you’ll be when they’re actually photographing you.
DON’T: Do not choose your photographer based on whether they work from a home studio or a posh photo studio. The studio won’t impact the quality of the work and the photographer may have to pass along its cost to you in the price of the wedding package.
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL.
DO: Choose an experienced photographer who will be focused and dedicated, who has a portfolio that shows they can anticipate and capture the crucial moments and details of the day.
DO: Look for someone who will keep an open line of communication with you during the period leading up to your big day, and who is flexible and skilled enough to capture great images in any lighting condition.
DO: Hire someone who works well with other vendors. If you find a photographer abrasive, chances are that your other vendors will as well.
DON’T: Never leave this important task in the hands of a friend or uncle with a nice camera.
You should have confidence knowing that your photographer will be part of a stress-free experience on your wedding day and will beautifully capture each moment in images you’ll cherish for years to come. After the wedding is all said and done, what you’re left with are the photos that you will have for a lifetime.