Decisions about wedding photography should be handled with great care. Unlike a bridesmaid outfit or a flower bouquet, photographs can only be seen after the fact. This means you are hiring a wedding photographer based on the faith you have that he or she will deliver a good product. If reliability and quality are your primary concerns, then basing a decision on price alone doesn’t make a lot of sense. We suggest instead a process that will increase the likelihood that you will be satisfied with your wedding photos.
- Get Personal Referrals – Although it might seem otherwise, you are not the first person to get married. Survey your married friends and put together a list of recommended photographers. Couples with positive experiences will be more than happy to recommend their wedding photographer to you. Then, when you subsequently interview photographers, you have a natural way of breaking the ice by discussing the work they did at your friend’s wedding.
- Check Out Websites – Review the photographs posted on the website and decide whether you like what you see. Remember not to base your decision on the design of the website, since nice-looking websites are easily available. Rather, concentrate on the photos – are they of high quality? Do you like the expressions, compositions and backgrounds? Is the style to your liking (i.e. candid, formal, photojournalistic, film vs. digital, stills vs. videos, etc.). Look at the price list and see what you get for your money.
- Speak On The Phone: Have a brief chat with the candidates and see whether you click. You can also find out the photographer’s availability on the date of the wedding. . See what you can tell about the photographer’s personality. You want someone who is upbeat and efficient, not a “Debbie Downer”. Verify the prices that will be charged and the number of photographs you can expect.
- Visit The Studio: Sit down with the photographer and ask questions. Here are some good ones to ask:
- How will you display the proofs (printed, electronic, contact sheets, online, etc.)?
- Will you help me select the final pictures?
- Are there different price levels and what do you get with each?
- How much for items like duplicate prints, prints mounted in albums, enlargements, folios, etc.?
- How long will it take to get the photos back?
- What guarantees are offered?
There are actually a huge number of questions you can ask, so try to write them down the night before. After going through this process, the chances are excellent that you will be happy with your ultimate choice.