I totally understand that choosing your wedding photographer is a very difficult task. The relationship that you have with your photographer is among the most important of all your wedding vendors. Your photographer will be with you on your wedding day from the beginning of the day with the make-up until your exit (most of the time the photographer will leave after you 🙂 Your wedding photographer is also very important because he/she is creating physical memories of the day. You look amazing in your dress but without your photographs you will not remember exactly how pretty your were; the flowers are gorgeous but without your photographer you will not keep a clear memory of them,…
The question is how to choose the right photographer? I decided that I would share my thoughts on how to choose your photographer and what question is the most important to ask during your first meeting.
I narrowed it down to five different topics that are the most important for me:
1) Ask to see two or three full galleries of recent weddings that the photographer covered. Ask to see something similar to yours. If you are having a church ceremony and a reception inside, ask to see some examples of those. If you are having a ceremony at the beach and the reception in a backyard ask for those. Looking through the galleries will give you an idea of the style of the photographer but will also show you how he/she handles the lighting situation. Some photographers are extremely good with daily light and you have seen beautiful images in their website but if your wedding is in a church late afternoon in Winter you want to be sure that the images keep the same quality that you like. Looking through those galleries also give you a good idea of the amount of pictures that you will be receiving.
2) Ask the back up plans. I mean does the photographer has a second camera if the first one doesn’t work. Does the second shooter has a second one? What happens if the photographer is sick on the wedding day? How the photographs are saved and backed up after the wedding and when? I have heard so many stories of photographers having their gears stolen with the memories cards 🙁 Your photographs should always be saved in at least two different locations so if anything happens your photographer still have a copy of your photographs. It is also very important that your photographer has a back up for everything. I don’t mean only the camera but also flashes, lenses, lights,… what would happen if your photographer has only one flash and it doesn’t work in the middle of the reception?
3) Ask the photographer who will be your photographer on the wedding day. Ideally, you would like to meet with the photographer that will be with you on your wedding day. What happens if you meet with somebody you like but on your wedding day your photographer is a different one and you don’t feel spending your day with him or her? Meet with the photographer that will be with you on your wedding day before signing the contract.
4) Ask for the deadlines. Will you receive a sneak peek the same week-end to share with friends and family? When your full gallery will be available? When your album (if included) will be delivered? I remembered that after my wedding my photographer asked me if I wanted a few sneak peeks to share with my family and my first answer was “no, I can wait for the full galleries”. Few hours later, I changed my mind and emailed him that I wanted a sneak peek; I was so excited to share a picture with my friends that couldn’t be there! Deadlines can be very different from one photographer to another one; knowing them before signing your contract is important because you need to decide if you are ok to wait or not. If your photographer has a six months deadline to deliver the full gallery you may not see any of your wedding photographers before six months… so be sure you are ok with it before signing!
5) Ask your photographer how to communicate with him/her. Is it by text messages? Emails? Faceboook messengers? Phone calls? What is his/her timeframe to answer? Who will answer your questions? If your questions are answered by an office manager, be sure that he/she communicates with your photographer. If you are somebody that needs an answer right away and can’t keep calm until you get one you want to be sure that your photographer will have a 24 hours of less policy to answer his/her messages. You don’t want to add stress on you. Don’t forget that communication is key on organization!
Let me know if there is anything that I am missing! I would love your opinion!