Picture Perfect, choosing the best photographer for your Big Day.
Wedding Photographers create the most tangible remembrance of your wedding, so a fair amount of consideration needs to take place in advance. Ideally, a balance of posed photos and an abundance of candid shots should cover most of the wedding day activities. Two photographers are sometimes hired for pre-wedding photos ~ one to document the bride's and her attendants' preparation, and the other for the groom and all his merry men.
Talk to photographers about a mix of posed and spontaneous shots, as well as "edgy-bold", a photo style in angles and more creative framing and composition. Look at wedding photos online for ideas. Ask for references from bridal shops, florists and caterers. People in the same industry often know the best (and worst) of their counterparts. Be sure to ask why someone is recommended, so you can find out early if it's a relative or best friend.
Everything placed on a photographer's website is chosen for spectacular resolution and composition, so you want to see more than one complete wedding album. Maybe this photographer is great with outdoor shots, but weak in the flash department, or strong in posed shots and doesn't seem to capture spontaneity well. Look at photos similar to your venue, dimly lit church setting or hilltop on a hopefully, bright, sunny day, for example. Evaluate each photographer's level of enthusiasm and personality. The overly bubbly one might be tiresome on wedding day, while the introvert hiding behind the lens may not be bold enough to get terrific candid shots.
It is not unreasonable to ask for references from previous brides. Once you zero in on someone who seems to be the kind of photographer you seek in your price range, make an appointment and check availability for your wedding date. Many brides and grooms who want an excellent photographer with a stellar reputation call first for available dates and set the wedding day around the photographer.
Experienced photographers will have price ranges based on location, size of wedding party and guest list, final photo albums and CD arrangements. The contract should include, at the least:
- photo package description
- location (is mileage extra?)
- date(s), day(s), hours
- delivery deadline (up to 2 months is reasonable)
- price, overtime, extra fees
For hours of the big day, outline a general schedule of events where the photographer is expected:
- getting dressed
- pre-wedding poses
- post ceremony shots
- family, special photos
- cake cutting
- driving away
- great-grandma Lucy, etc.
Discuss with your photographer the processing and retouching of the photos. How much adjustment do you want in beauty, color, special effects? Most photographers retain all rights and can use photos for promotional purposes. Make sure you understand what you can use and how and if you can reproduce anything without incurring extra fees or infringing on the legal rights. And don't forget to say "cheese".