Long after the wedding cake has been eaten; long after the flowers have wilted; long after the thank you notes have been written you will have one tangible remembrance of your wedding – the photographs. As important as finding the right dress, the right cake, and the right caterer are, finding the right photographer is just as, if not more, important and, like selecting a reception site and caterer, selecting and hiring the right photographer is one of the many planning tasks that should be faced early in the process.
MOST PHOTOGRAPHERS’ SERVICES are booked anywhere from 6 to 12 months in advance, especially during the busy spring and summer months. Keep in mind, most photographers can only shoot one wedding a weekend. That means on average they have only 52 available dates.
BEGIN BY LOOKING AT PHOTOGRAPHS from the weddings of friends and family. Ask for their suggestions or recommendations.
COUPLES USUALLY WILL VISIT three to four photographers before selecting one.
KNOW YOUR BUDGET BEFORE making appointments and share it with the photog-rapher when you make the appointment.
PACKAGES GENERALLY START in the $1,500 range and can go up to several thousand dollars.
PREPARE FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT. In addition to the date, time, and location of the wedding, know how many people in the wedding party as well as any special photo requests you have.
ASK FOR REFERENCES and a detailed list of what the wedding packages include.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER will be involved in your wedding and reception, all day. It should be someone you feel comfortable with and who you feel will do the best job for you.
MEET WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER shortly before the wedding to confirm the list of shots that will be taken at the wedding. If there is something special you want, for example if your great-grandmother will be there, you need to let the photographer know ahead of time.
ASSIGN SOMEONE familiar with the families to assist the photographer rounding up everyone for the different photos.
BE ON TIME! If your photographer is arriving at the dressing location at 9 a.m. to take preparation shots, be ready at 9 a.m. Whatever amount of time you normally take to get ready, double it.
TAKING PORTRAITS at the church immediately after the ceremony? Inform everyone involved the night before at the rehearsal dinner.
MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS are including all photo rights so you can have your reprints done anywhere, not just with the photographer. These packages may be more expensive going in, but they may save you money in the long run if you anticipate needing lots of prints for family and friends.
PHOTOJOURNALISTIC photography creates a visual record of the wedding day as it happens, instead of posed shots. People are in motion – dancing, talking, laughing – accurately reflecting the ongoing activity and the excitement of the wedding day.
MOST COUPLES CHOOSE a blend of traditional and photojournalistic styles to get both posed and candid shots.
THE KEY to successfully finding the right photographer is looking at a lot of photographers’ portfolios, and seeing a good sampling of an individual photographer’s work before you engage him or her as your wedding photographer.