It's likely that you've never hired a wedding photographer. I'm here to help. Here's a guide...in my opinion!
BEFORE you contact a wedding photographer, do your homework and CHECK THESE OUT:
1. STYLE, make sure you like their artwork. Pay attention to the different lighting and locations. If your wedding is indoors, ask yourself "do you like how the indoor photos look"? Same for outdoors. Do you like the tones, the light, shadows, overall style. If you don't, search for a photographer who's work you love. There's a saying that I don't know exactly, "the dress will be worn, the flowers will wilt, the cake will be eaten, but the images remain". What do you want your memories to look like?
Pro TIP: Review their recent work. Ask yourself, does their work look consistent? Are the images something you would want? Are the angles flattering? Remember the images the photographers share, are usually their best!
2. WEBSITE- Review it, read their blogs, FAQ's, About Me's. Get a feel for the photographer and personality, do you think you will be compatible? Of all the vendors, you'll spend the most time with your photographer and videographer.
Pro TIP: Request a meeting or call to speak with the photographer, there's no strings attached. There's no commitment. Things that might run through your head; Did they arrive on time? Did they look professional & put together? Did you vibe? Were they kind? Did they listen?
3. REVIEWS & SOCIAL MEDIA- Hear what other couples and vendors are saying about the photographer. Wedding directory websites will also have a number of reviews, WeddingWire, TheKnot are the two most popular. You can also rely on trusty Google,Facebook or Instagram. Want to see what the photographer is currently up to? It's almost always posted on social media. Checking out their social media and recent works is important homework too.
Pro TIP: Direct links to WeddingWire & TheKnot are shared above. They aren't the final word, I would ask friends you recently got married for referrals too. Ask they what did they love about their wedding photographer.
4. PRICING. Review their price list, investment page and or price range. It's important to know your budget for photography before you start shopping.
5. CONTACT. Call or email to get the ball rolling!
Pro TIP: Most photographers book a year out. The earlier you book, the more likely you'll be able to get the date you really want. For example, 10/10/2020 is the most popular date of 2020. Booking early may also offer a savings, as the cost of doing business increases every year, in addition to general inflation, as such the cost of services like wedding photography will increase. Ask your photographer if their current pricing applies to advanced dates.
Here's some questions you may want answered:
GENERAL + BASICS
Is my wedding date available?
If no, do you have an associate?
How long have you been in business?
How many weddings have you captured?
Are you licensed in the state?
PRO TIP: For the most part you've done your homework before you get to these questions. The first thing you want to know is availability, is your wedding date open? If it's not available, ask if they have an associate. An associate is another professional that works on behalf of the wedding photographer. Their images are so similar, you may not be able to tell them apart. Most of the time, I can't tell the difference anymore. For most associates, including mine, I edit all the images so they will be as close to my style. Asking how many years in business or the amount of weddings is helpful so you know that they have experience to handle anything. I am not saying that new photographers won't do a wonderful job and capture beautiful work. There's just something to say about a seasoned professional. Images are captured quickly and beautifully, changes in timelines will be handled effortlessly, and typically the photographers have seen it all. Licensing is so important, you want to hire a professional that is licensed. Most wedding venues require it.
LET'S TALK STYLE
How would you describe your photography style (e.g. traditional, photojournalistic, fine-art, moody)?
How would you describe your working style?
If your style is mostly candid, will I still get formal, posed portraits (and vice versa)?
Do you shoot weddings in digital, film format, or both?
Do you specialize in indoor or outdoor events, or both?
Do you have an updated portfolio I can review with examples of full weddings?
Can I give you a list of specific shots we would like?
PRO TIP: There is no wrong answer. The answer should help you determine whether this is a photographer who blends into the background and shoots what unfolds naturally, or creates a more visible presence by taking charge and setting up beautiful images.
HOW DOES IT ALL WORK
Are you the photographer who will shoot my wedding?
If so, will you have any assistants/second-shooters with you on that day?
What type of equipment do you use?
Do you have backup equipment?
What about a backup plan if you are unable to shoot my wedding for some reason?
Are you photographing other events on the same day as mine?
How will you (and your assistants) be dressed?
Is it okay if other people take photos while you're taking photos?
Have you ever worked at my wedding venue before? If not, do you plan to check it out in advance?
What time will you arrive at the site?
If my event lasts longer than expected, what is the additional charge?
Do you have liability insurance?
PRO TIP: You want to know you're hiring a professional, not just someone with a great camera. There's so much more to photography then the gear. Does your photographer have assistance for your large wedding? If they do, what is the fee associated with more photographers. When asking about gear, the camera brands aren't important, the best is and will always be debatable. (Nikon, hehe). A professional will have professional equipment with back ups upon back ups. They will carry extra cameras, lenses, memory cards, snacks and lights. It's good to know if your photographer has another obligation the same day. Knowing this means you may have to solidify your time before booking the photographer. If uncle Bob allowed to capture images when the photographer is capturing portraits, most will answer, that after the photographer is finished, Uncle Bob may snap away. For efficiency it's best to have the photographer capture it all so that the timeline is flooded and everyone is looking at the camera. If your wedding photographer has not been to the venue, that is NOT a dealbreaker, a great photographer can capture beauty anywhere. Most professionals will arrive early or visit in advance to scout the best locations and greatest light. Your wedding photographer and their staff should look professional and fit in with the style of your event. Jeans don't quite fit a black-tie aesthetic. Knowing what the overtime charges are, is important. If your wedding is running ebbing for any reason, you will want your photographer to stay to capture everything as planned. This is a big one, liability, most venues require that a wedding photographer carries 1 million in liability insurance. You will also want to hire a professional to carry insurance. This is helpful for both the photographer and client.
LETS TALK MONEY
How much of a deposit do you require and when is it due?
Do you offer payment plans?
What is your refund/cancellation policy?
Do you charge a travel fee and what does that cover?
What packages do you offer?
Are your packages customizable?
How many hours are included in each package?
Do you include engagement photos in your packages?
If I want to look like a different person, do you provide retouching or other corrective services?
How long after the wedding will I receive my images?
Will they be viewable online?
How many final images should I expect to receive?
PRO TIP: Knowing your budget from the very start is important. It will help you to select a photographer that you love within your budget. For some, talking money may be difficult, don't stress, ask questions, find out how pricing works. Some price for the whole day, some price by the hour, some like myself have a base and add by the hour.
Have you ever worked with my videographer? Coordinator? Venue manager? etc.
If I hire you, when will I receive a contract?
What information do you need from me before the wedding day?
PRO TIP: Ask your vendors for referrals. The wedding community may have a lot of members, but for the most part, everyone knows everyone. Don't book a photographer—or any vendor—who won't provide a contract.
Do your personalities jibe?
Do you feel a connection with his/her photos?
Are you comfortable with this person's customer service/communication style?
Did the photographer listen well and address all of your concerns?
PRO TIP: Follow your gut.
Thank you for visiting. I hope this guide helps you select your perfect wedding photographer. Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have! It's so important to me that you select the right wedding photographer for your day.
Mary Fosky Photography LLC is a wedding photography company based out of Central Florida. With over 6 years in the Wedding Industry, Mary and her team have captured over 100. MFP brings their experience, artistic eye and love for photography with every moment they capture. When Mary isn't capturing weddings she enjoys spending special time with her family.
Photo captured by Josie Brooks, Edited by Mary Fosky.
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