Selecting a photographer for one’s wedding could very well be the most important decision made for the big day. One of our clients said it best. “There are times in one’s life when capturing the essence of the moments is as important as anything on this earth. I would argue that a daughter’s wedding would be one of those moments…!” – Admiral Leighton Smith, father of the bride.
Experience Level: Has this person photographed other weddings? Does he/she do this for a living or for fun? In this industry, photographers come and go daily. A wedding photographer that has just started out may be good, and everyone has to start somewhere, however, do you want to trust your once-in-a-lifetime event to a newcomer?
Photographic Style: Are the images that you are shown what you would like to see your wedding? Can you picture yourself photographed the same way? Is there a satisfactory mix of different styles? There are “buzz” words flying around everywhere about photojournalism, formal, classic contemporary, and so on. All colorful adjectives aside; though what it comes down to is do you like the photos?
Truth in Advertising: Is this the photographer that will be photographing your wedding or will they send in whoever is available? Don’t be shocked; this happens more often than you can imagine. Be certain that you know which photographer is going to be at your wedding, see his/her work, and meet him/her.
Personality: Is the photographer that you meet someone that you can get along with? Is the “chemistry” there? People have walked away from other wedding vendors for less. This is a person with whom you are going to spend a lot of one of your most important days. Could you handle it? Does he/she seem service-oriented?
Appearance: Ask the photographer how he/she intends to dress on the wedding day. The last thing that you want is a conflict at the wedding because the photographer wears a tank top and jeans with flip flops and a backpack at your ceremony and reception. Is this person well-groomed? Do you care?
Price Range: Although the last thing you want to do is shop by price, you should make sure this person is within your budget. If not, is he or she worth the difference? A lot of times we tend to surpass our budget constraints to get what we really want. If you see it and like it, you’ll find a way. In any case, make sure you understand what everything costs, including reorders even if you intend on printing the wedding pictures yourself.
Delivery: How long does it take to get view your wedding images? If you are having a wedding album done how long does your finished album take? Go ahead and ask. Some photographers take months to deliver the first viewing of your wedding images. Make sure you know how long things take to turn around.
Offering: Whether it’s a la carte or a package deal, do you understand what you are getting? Is there any room for changes and will it cost to do so? Sometimes the packages are fixed, and sometimes they can be customized. In any case, ask what that will cost. How much time will he/she spend with you? What if you need more time? Make sure that you know what to expect.
References: A personal reference of other weddings the photographer has captured is always the best and people love to talk. Get a list of references from the photographer and check them out personally. A photographer who doesn’t have references or is afraid to give them to you may not be the person that you need to hire.
Contract: Do you understand the contract? Is it fair? Is everything spelled out? If it comes down to a court case only what is written really counts, not what was promised. Make sure that you have no doubts before signing. Read everything and make sure what you sign is what you expect.
About the Authors:
John and Kevin own KRR PHOTOGRAPHY LIMITED and have photographed many weddings in their career. Their photography portfolio consists of people from all walks of life: working people, entertainers, celebrities, athletes, military personnel, and Presidents. Many of his images have been printed in various formats around the world. He has also coveted international and local awards for his images from portraits, weddings, special events, and commercial photography.
They have photographed weddings all throughout the United States and have twice been to Hawaii to photograph weddings.