How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer

How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer

 

When you plan a wedding, there are so many decisions that must be made.  One of the most important ones is to choose the perfect photographer(s).  You can spend all the money and time in your venue, cake, dress, flowers, etc. but if the photos you paid for to help you preserve that memory for the rest of your life don’t turn out, then all of that was in vain.  Here are a few easy steps to help you select wisely:

1.  Choose what wedding photography style you want your photographer to have.   

Are you going to prefer a more traditional style with formally posed shots or a more candid ‘as the moment happens’ (where you may not even know the photographer is there) type of approach?  Are you looking for very artistic, unique photos with heavy editing or the combination of several styles that tell your wedding story?

2.  What do you want/need from your photographer(s)?

Do you need several hours of coverage starting from the time you are getting ready and ending with you leaving your reception?  Or would just a few short hours of coverage meet your needs?  Would you prefer a photographer that offers packages (time + photo album + prints, etc) or do you prefer to choose each element of your collection as you custom build it yourself?  Do you just want a DVD/USB or online gallery with the photos uploaded so you can print/view them yourself later?

3.  How many photos do you want to remember your wedding by?  

Some photographers provide you with as little as 50-100 photos of your wedding while high end photographers take thousands of photos (2500-5000) and provide you with hundreds to thousands to keep forever.

4.  What kind of video(s) do you want to remember your wedding by?

Some videographers provide you with just one video – a short wedding trailer or one with a certain time limit like 10-15 minutes while high end videographers offer you 2 videos – a cinematic highlights trailer video (wedding trailer) and a full documentary style video capturing all of the ceremony and all of the speeches.

5. Online gallery or DVD/USB with reproduction rights or professionally printed photographs?

Many couples only want the digital files with reproduction rights, but do you know how to resize them?  Do you know where to print them so the colors are true and not changed by printing?  Do you know how to design and layout a photo album or enlarge your favorite photo into a canvas wall art?  Will you ever print the photos or will your digital files sit on your hard drive or collect dust over the years?  Or will you display your photos as cherished memories?

 

An online gallery or DVD/USB will house the digital files that you can print from in the future.  Do you want an economical album that you print yourself or a professionally designed album that tells your entire wedding love story?  Would you prefer professionally printed photos in various sizes to use as décor in your home?  Do you want to make a mouse pad, mug, key chain, or blanket, etc?  Would you like special order items like photos on metal or acrylic or very large canvas prints?  Knowing what you will do with your photos after the wedding will help you select the photographer that can give you the perfect options.

6.  What is your wedding photography budget?

A photographer(s) cost is more than just the time that they are actively taking photos at your wedding.  There is time for prep work before your BIG day and several hours of culling and editing after your wedding.  Generally this cost should absorb about 12%-15% of your total budget.  Knowing this will help you to narrow down the field some.

7.  Research and ask around before you choose your photographer.

Talk to friends that have been married before you for advice.  Ask bridal shops/jewelers as well as venues for suggestions.  Google wedding photographers in your area or look on Facebook/Instagram.  Please read the reviews!!  Look at their portfolio!!  Is it a ‘look’ that is appealing to you?  How does their pricing compare to your budget.  Make a list of viable options; call each of them.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Does their personality make you feel comfortable and will there be a communication issue if hired? You can even ask to talk to past customers to get a good feel for how they will handle your wedding.

8.  Narrow down the list to just your favorite few photographers.

Set up a time to meet them in person or video chat with them.  Inquire about liability insurance, back up equipment, second shooters, how they will handle rain, etc.  Look at their portfolio in person; do you feel comfortable around them?  Talk to them more about your plans and ideas.  Do they understand? Are they listening or do they do all of the talking?  Ask about sales tax, travel fees/hotel accommodations, a la carte items, etc.

9.  Talk to your fiancé about each of your favorite photographers.

Compare the pros/cons of each photographer (price vs. service, package options, comfort level with photographer, second shooter availability, etc.)  Only choose the photographer that you BOTH like.  Then sleep on it.  If you still feel the same in the morning, then book them immediately by signing the contract and paying the deposit.

10. FOLLOW UP!   

Now that the contract is signed, confirm your date, your plans, and any other special parts of your day at 2 months out and then again 2 weeks out.  Provide them with a copy of your wedding day timeline.  Invite them come to your rehearsal for one last confirmation of plans before the BIG day.  This will allow the photographer to plan the big shots, scope out the venue if they haven’t seen it before ,and to iron out any last minute logistics.  Then sit back and let all of your hard work pay off!  Have fun!!  It’s all about you; eat, drink, dance, and leave the rest to your photographer(s).

 

If you have any questions about our wedding photography or to book your wedding with Bella Lumiere Photography, please contact us.

interracial bride and groom smiling with foreheads together

February 11, 2021

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