How to book the perfect wedding photographer for YOU!

Who doesn’t remember being transfixed by leafing through their parents wedding album as a child. The photos from your wedding day are more than photos, they are more than memories, they should evoke emotion of that special day. And you should not settle for anything less! You simply can’t entrust it to memory, it’s just one day you may say…but it’s the day that changes the course of your entire life. That’s where having a professional photographer entrusted with capturing as many moments and evoking as much feelings and emotions possible in order to immortalize that special day is so important. Long gone are the days of a photographer showing up taking photos and you get your album and boom that’s it. With all the technological advances in photography a new breed of photography has grown out of it, brides and grooms now have so many choices in the styles and stories they want captured for their special day. That is why it is so important to go through and evaluate a photographers portfolio and other work.

Choices oh the choices!

before you do anything you should decide what type of photography do you want. Portraiture or candids? Colour or Black & White? Some photographers offer a combination. Usually the photographer has an option to hire a second shooter, what does this mean? Well for one the second photographer can capture the stuff that the primary might have missed. Or perhaps the second shooter will be shooting the wedding in all black & white from a completely different style and perspective.

The photojournalist or documentary photographer specialize in capturing the day as it unfolds , much like covering a news story for an event to tell a story. Usually shot in black & white, this approach over the last few years has become a fresh modern look compared to traditional wedding photographers. The downside to this style of photographer is that they are used to shooting on the fly and as such may not be skilled at lighting portraits; some wont set up portraits at all. Ensure that if you’re thinking of hiring one of these types of photographers that they are willing to work with a short list of portraits.

Traditional or classic photographers photos lean more towards structure and posed photos that need to be set up, with most of the time spent on portraits and milestones throughout the day [exchanging rings, first kiss, first dance, cake cutting and such]. Usually these types of photographers will bring along lighting and possibly a backdrop in order to stage and light the photos. Generally taking many frames in order to get the “perfect shot” and will interact heavily with the guests. So ensure that not only their portfolio fits the desired photos you want, but they are friendly and will get a long with your guests. When evaluating a Traditional portfolio you should look for photo composition, backdrops, and poses used. If any of his photo make you groan or think “why would anyone want to pose like that?” then they probably aren’t the right fit for you.

Fine art photographers shoot a very distinct style of photos, generally with the quality of work you would see in galleries. Very dramatic pieces with a very specific point of view and style which may change from fine art to fine art photographer. Normally these photographers capture what compels THEM, so if this is the style you want ensure that they are willing to do a shot list of photos that you specifically want. Although the results from fine art photographers without a doubt can be quite remarkable you may want to add a second shooter if you want to make the whole family happy.

The “Sticker” Shock!

Due to the nature of any wedding photography and the challenges of time and skill involved, photography will rank as one of your major expenses. including videography it often amounts to at least 10% of your overall budget some couples go up to 30% depending on what they want done and the size of their wedding.
Fees vary widely from photographer to photographer but you can safely expect to pay anywhere from $2000-$6000 for a basic package and from $6000-$11000 for a top photographer. Most photographers require a deposit anywhere from $500 to half of the entire fee depending on who you book, and full payment 2-3 weeks before the big day. When looking at package prices take note at what you are getting for your money. How many prints are you getting? Is the album included? Are thank you cards included? Some photographers will set artificially low prices and charge a huge markup for prints and books, which in turn will have you paying more on the back end of things.

35 questions you should ask your photographer

– What style of photography do you prefer?
– Do you prefer colour or black & white?
– Do you bring an assistant?
– What does the assistant do?
– How many hours are included in the package? [although it should be marked on the package itself]
– What’s the cost for extra hours?
– How soon will i get proofs for the wedding?
– Are proofs part of the package or extra?
– Is the album included?
– How much are additional prints?
– Do you automatically do table shots, or do i have to request them?
– Are you willing to follow a shot list?
– Are prints printed on archival quality paper?
– Will i have an online gallery?
– Will guests be able to order prints directly?
– Will you stand by the quoted fees, even if you raise your rates before the wedding?
– Do you bring lighting?
– What type of clothes will you and your assistant be wearing?
– How many photographers do you think i need for my wedding?
– What are my choices in albums?
– Who owns copyright to the photos?
– How many weddings do you book per day?
– If you book multiple wedding per day do you charge a twilight fee?
– If you get sick and cant make the wedding, what’s the backup plan?
– How many photos can i expect to see?
– Will you visit the ceremony and reception sites beforehand?
– Who gets the photography guidelines from the church?
– Ask for a reference.
– Is there a minimum order for prints?
– How much is the deposit to reserve the date?
– When is the remaining balance due?
– What is the cancellation policy?

Hopefully this was a helpful article for those who seem lost and the task of hiring the right photographer seems like a daunting task! using these simple guidelines it should be a piece of cake to get exactly what it is you are looking for from your photos for that special day!

-Dave