Choosing A Wedding Photographer
For anyone preparing to celebrate their special wedding day, there are a wide range of different points to consider to make it the most perfect day possible.
One of these points is the choosing of a wedding photographer. Considering that it can be a major expense reaching into the thousands of dollars, it is a vitally important part of the day that necessitates preparation and planning in order to get the right wedding photographer to match the requirements and style of the happy couple.
Knowing What you Want
Any wedding photographer that you talk to about your wedding will have a number of questions that will ask of you, and so it is important that before you meet with any wedding photographers, you have asked those questions of yourself. Knowing what you want from your photographer on the day will help you to get the most out of the process and make the most informed choice for who to choose to photograph your big day. A number of useful questions to ask are:
- For how long do you want the photographer on the day? Do you want them just to photograph the wedding ceremony itself with some formal pictures afterwards, or are you wanting them to photograph the whole day from people getting ready early on through the last dance and the end of the reception?
- What style of photographer are you looking for? Are you looking for more formal pictures, or do you want an informal, reportage, style? Good wedding photographers will be able to manage both styles and more, but it is useful to have an idea of what you are looking for.
- Are you looking for just photography or also video? If you are looking for both, you may consider engaging the same photographer (although it is unlikely that they will be able to do both at the same time unless they have an assistant) or you may consider a separate photographer and videographer.
- How do you want to have your final images? Are you looking for images only in digital form, or are you looking to have them printed, either individually, in a set, or in a finished album?
- Do you want extra features, such as an engagement shoot?
It would also be useful, if you are able to, to have a list of any specific photos that you want, for example with particular family members, or agreed locations. These may change over time, but it begins a helpful discussion.
Finding a Wedding Photographer
When booking a wedding it will be worth asking any locations that you are using on the day whether there are any photographers that they recommend or work with regularly. It may be that the venue commonly works with a specific photographer, and although you will not be required to use them, they may come with a greater knowledge of the venue, in terms of locations & lighting etc., which may improve the photographs on the day.
There are also industry bodies, such as the Wedding Photojournalist Association, which provide online lists of wedding photographers, and many other lists are available online.
You should also never discount the advantage of personal recommendations of family and friends of photographers that they have used for their own weddings, although you should be wary of someone who recommends a family friend who has a camera but has no experience in photographing weddings. This can save money but will be a false economy if they do not have the required skills.
Any wedding photographer worth considering will have a website from which you will be able to review a range of images and weddings that they will have photographed. Of course, almost any image portfolio will be a collection of what they consider to be the very best of their images, but it will give you a good idea of both the quality and style of the work that they produce.
By browsing the portfolio of a range of different wedding photographers, and you should look at least three different photographers if you can, then you will be able to ‘audition’ and narrow down a long list of photographers available on the Internet into a small group that you can approach for further information.
When talking to a potential wedding photographer, consider the sort of package that they provide. They may only provide one package, which is designed to suit all potential clients, or they may offer a range of different packages. This will vary greatly from photographer to photographer.
Some photographers, for example, provide a bargain package that will only cover the ceremony, formal photos afterwards and digital images. Other photographers may provide this, a package which covers 4-5 hours (the former plus speeches and some informal shots if time allows) and/or a whole day package, which could be 9-10 hours and attempts to fully document the whole day.
Photographers may also, either as part of their package costs or as an optional extra, provide the services of a second photographer. Although a second photographer can increase costs if not provided as part of the agreed package, they do increase the options in terms of what photographs can be taken, and often allow for a greater mix of the formal and informal shots on the day.
The price will vary depending on the skill & experience of the photographer and what services are being provided. The cost of a wedding photographer typically starts at about $3,000 and can range up to about $20,000. Photographers often have both high levels of skill and technical expertise and have also invested extensively in the camera equipment that they have, as well as having insurance requirements to insure protection for themselves and their clients. The best wedding photographers are well worth their cost for the polished final product that they present to the client.
There are so many factors to consider when booking a wedding photographer for a special day, and although it is an expensive outlay, by being clear about what is wanted and how to look for the best photographers for the budget, a quality and lasting memory of the event can be provided that can be looked back on fondly for decades to come.