Choosing a Wedding Photographer March 22 2008, 0 Comments

The azaleas are in full bloom! Reds, pinks and corals abound signaling our official start to spring. It also signals the start of the wedding season here in Charleston. Such an event deserves the best photography possible! But how do you choose the best photographer for your special day?

As you begin to plan your wedding, it is important to research potential photographers before you set up any appointments. Look for options on line and in the local yellow pages of the city you are going to be married in. Make a list of those websites that impress you. Be sure to read any “About the Artist” information that is offered on the site and then make appointments to meet with at least 3, preferably 5 photographers. Remember, you are documenting one of the most important days of your life. You want to be completely comfortable with the person or persons you choose to photograph it!

Come to your meetings with a list of questions. Consider the following:

How long have they been photographing weddings? Wedding photography is different from general portrait photography. (You want someone with experience.) Will they shoot at the rehearsal dinner? What time will they arrive to shoot the day of the wedding? Will they stay through the reception? If not, how long will they be there? What types of images will they be taking? An experienced wedding photographer will have a list of traditional photos to be taken before the wedding, during the wedding and after, and at the reception. Be sure this is explained to you. Ask what kinds of non-traditional candids they will be taking. Be sure to ask to see sample portfolios.

What types of photographic packages are available? How many images are included and will they provide edited prints? How will the final product be presented? (In an album?) How much are additional prints? Will you be given a CD/DVD as well or is that extra? If so, in what format will the CD/DVD be provided? JPEG? TIFF? PSD?

Get a total price! Be sure to find out what the deposit will be and how much if any will be refunded if the date is changed or postponed. Most photographers will require a deposit of up to 50%. Don’t sign anything or give deposits until you have met with all of your photographer choices. An indication that a photographer may not be for you is if they try to pressure you into making a decision on the spot. THINK about it at least overnight. Be careful of any “photographer” who says they will just give you the whole wedding on a disc and you can get the images printed yourself!! I actually heard someone bragging about doing just that once! They were not editing any of the images and frankly, I doubt they knew how. Don’t even think about hiring someone like this. There is no way to know when someone hands you a disc if they shot the wedding correctly until you pull it up on your computer. Ask what type of camera they will be using. Even if you do not know what it is, you can research it online afterward. Find out how they will handle outdoor light, indoor light such as tungsten or fluorescent lighting.

And finally, get references and check them. Past performance is a good indication of future performance!!

You will remember many things about your wedding day…how beautiful your bride, how handsome your bride-groom, the food, the toast, your first kiss as husband and wife, your first dance…but your photos are what you will show your children and grandchildren and as the decades pass and you celebrate your 50th, you should be able to look back at your wedding album and relive your entire wedding day!