While there are countless choices to be made while planning a wedding, your selection of wedding photographer will be one of the most important. After the day has come to a close, your photographer is the one responsible for preserving these memories years to come. However it can also be one of the more challenging decisions. While your other vendors can provide you with tastings and examples, you won’t know what your photographer will produce until after the fact. Before selecting the party in charge of telling the story of your wedding day, make sure your well versed on everything you need to know…
Everything you need to know when choosing a wedding photographer
• The average couple spends 12% of their total budget on photography.
• The average cost of wedding photography is $2,400.
Types of Wedding Photographer
1. Boutique style: Typically the most expensive option, these services will provide a team of professional wedding photographers as well as an in-house production team. This type of business offers high quality and leagues of experience with a focus on weddings. With a comprehensive team, boutique style photographers usually have a quick turn around time for images.
2. Full-Service Wedding: This is generally a small business that works anywhere from 15-30 weddings a year. They are well versed in the wedding industry and will provide professional photos at a higher price point.
3. Part-Time Wedding: This type of photographer usually has another full time job and shoots weddings over the weekends. They will offer professional work, however may be a little slower to deliver your photos post-production due to other obligations.
4. Professional Non-Wedding: This is a photographer who is more familiar with other genres (like landscapes or editorial,) but still encompasses professional editing skills. They may be less expensive than a wedding photographer, however may take a less traditional approach.
5. Film shooter: These photographers generally deliver a more classic, traditional style. Shooting with film sacrifices the technological advantages of digital photography, but can provide a unique, more old-fashioned flare.
6. Shoot and Burn: This is a slang term for photographing a wedding and then burning the images directly onto a CD. The results will be the fastest, but your photos will come to you 100% unedited.
7. Up and Coming Amateur: This is the pre-professional photographer, who is familiar with the latest techniques and trends from classes or experimenting. Because these photographers are hoping to gain industry experience, they will offer reduced prices.
8. Friend or Family Member: This will be some close to you who simply has an interest in photography. Although they rarely have experience, they will eliminate the cost of a photographer as a favor to you!
Tips For Hiring a Wedding Photographer
1. Book ASAP: To make sure a photographer will remain available for your date, put down a deposit as soon as you can. If you find a photographer you love, you want to secure their business before another couple does!
2. Look at a portfolio: The best way to familiarize yourself with a photographer’s style is to review past work. You should be looking to see if they’ve worked weddings similar to yours in size and style.
3. Second Shooter: There are certain moments that one photographer will miss if working alone. One person can’t capture the bride’s cathedral veil floating down the aisle and simultaneously catch the groom’s face as she enters the ceremony. Make sure your photographer has a second shooter to incorporate another perspective.
4. Make sure they bring lighting: The key to any good photo is the proper lighting. You need to make sure the service you hire can set the scene for a beautiful backdrop at various spots throughout the day.
5. Compare packages: Look for photographers who will bundle all of your required services into one package. Most will offer a discount for couples that want an engagement session etc. in addition just their wedding day.
6. Discuss product options: Is a post-production album or framed canvas important to you? Before investing in wedding photography, discuss the display options your photographer may offer.
7. Familiarize with ceremony/ reception: Walk your photographer through the plan for your ceremony and reception. This will help them to envision the best angles and gather inspiration to execute on the big day.
8. Set expectations: Be very honest about what you would like out of your wedding photography. By outlining what’s most important to you, your photographer is better equipped to meet and possibly exceed your expectations.
9. Make sure your personalities mesh: You will be spending a lot of time with your photographer on the day of your wedding. Get to know him or her on a personal level to make sure you’re both comfortable and compatible. You want to be able to trust this person to capture the emotion of such an important day!
Questions to ask your wedding photographer
1. What is your price range? Before you move forward with anything else, make sure a photographer falls within the budget you’ve allotted for this aspect. It’s important to make sure you’re getting what you want within your price point.
2. How would you describe your photography style? Different photographers will take different approaches to capturing your wedding day. A photojournalistic approach will capture the events of the day as they naturally occur, while a more traditional style will call for more portrait posing. Familiarize yourself with the various styles before shopping in order to find a photographer best suited to your taste.
3. How long have you been in the industry? It’s important to gage a photographer’s experience before booking for such a big day. There are so many meaningful details to capture throughout a wedding and you want to find someone who is familiar with the process.
4. Are you familiar with my venue? If they’ve never shot there before, see if your photographer is willing to do a site visit. This will enable them to scout out the best photo locations as well as elucidate any rules or restrictions that may apply.
5. What kind of equipment do you use? While it may not seem like an important detail beforehand, you don’t want to be burdened by cumbersome equipment during the intimate moments of your day. Find out what a photographer needs present to do his job properly and plan accordingly.
6. Do you have insurance? A reputable businessperson will have liability insurance to cover their equipment etc. You don’t want to get stuck with any unforeseen costs in case of an emergency!
7. How many hours does your service include? Some photographers operate by package, while others charge a shooting fee. You want to find out exactly how you will be charged and if there are additional costs for an extra hour etc.
8. How long until we get the pictures? Depending on the editing process, there can be large discrepancies in how long it will take photographers to deliver their final products. When interviewing candidates make to get a pretty accurate estimate of when you can expect to see the images!
9. Will the images be available in high resolution? Many photographers will readily deliver all of the edited photos to you for web download, printing etc. while some prefer you to purchase the individual reprints from them directly. It’s important to clarify these policies before signing a contract.
10. In what format will the images come? Many people will be anticipating viewing these images. Find out what format your photographer will provide so that you can prep your friends and family accordingly.
11. Do you offer color as well as black and white? Black and white photos capture certain things that color photos cannot, and vice versa. While digital photography allows most photographers to easily convert color images be sure to ask if this option is available to you, or if there will be an additional cost for alternate versions of certain photos.
12. Do you have a backup plan? All vendors should work under an “expect the unexpected” frame of mind. Make sure the photographer you choose to hire has an incase-of-emergency alternative to provide if necessary.
Top 5 Must-Have Wedding Shots
1. Bride getting ready-A bride spends a lot of time and energy finding the perfect dress and adornments. Capturing all the excitement and anticipation as she’s getting dressed is a moment worth remembering.
2. The bridal party- The bridal party consists of those most important to the bride and groom. A photo with these people will remain meaningful for years to come.
3. Bride walking down the aisle- This is the moment everyone has been waiting for and consequently, will most want to remember. It is when everyone first sees the bride and the bride first sees the groom. There are so many perspectives to this moment that should be captured accordingly!
4. Giving away the bride- This is another moment filled with a lot of emotion. The bride’s relationship with her father (or whoever will walk her down the aisle) is so special and should be reflected in the photo of the moment she is given away at the altar.
5. First Kiss- It’s finally official! This is a moment of pure love between the bride and groom and will be a cherished forever.
Day-of Must-Have Shot Checklist
Memorable Moments and Details
1. The wedding dress (and shoes!)
2. The invitations
3. The rings
4. Hair and makeup
5. Putting on veil
6. Getting into dress
7. Groom tying tie
8. Boutonniere pinning
10. Leaving for the ceremony
11. Ring bearer/ Flower Girl
12. Wedding party and parents walking down the aisle
13. Bride walking down the aisle
14. Giving away the bride
15. Groom’s first look
16. Exchanging vows
17. Exchanging rings
18. First kiss
19. Throwing rice as the newlyweds exit
20. Entering the getaway away
Main Reception Moments
1- Entering the room
2- Detail shots of tables, cake etc.
3- Mother Groom dance
4- Father Bride dance
6- Cutting Cake