Weddings are all about memories. As friends and family gather to witness the joining of two people in love, it’s only natural to think of ways to capture those memories and keep them for a lifetime. Wedding photographers have been around since the very invention of photography, and while much has changed over the years the desire to capture the big day in pictures remains constant. But how can you be sure you’ve chosen the best wedding photographer for your big day? It’s an important decision, and once the photographs are taken, and the cameras have been packed away, there’s no opportunity for second chances.
Before you hire a photographer for your wedding day, consider these tips for finding the best people to capture and preserve your memories.
Decision Making Time
Before hiring any photographer, there are a few questions that you, as newlyweds, need to ask yourselves. Do you both want a video of your wedding? Or would you both prefer more traditional still photography? Perhaps a combination of the two is the best route. Do you want to capture your wedding day in color or in black and white? The answers to these questions will help you later as you interview potential photographers, and will help you eliminate those who don’t work in the medium you prefer.
Professional or Amateur
Couples planning a large wedding invariably hire a professional photographer. But even couples planning a smaller, more intimate, affair need to seriously consider going with a professional. Friends and relatives may offer their services as a photographer for the day, but in all honesty you do always get what you pay for. And if the final photographs are unsatisfactory there is little you can do but grin and bear it, or hurt the feelings of someone you love. The choice is clear, whether you are planning a large traditional wedding or a small intimate service, hire a professional.
Interviewing Potential Photographers
As with any independent contractor whose services you are engaging, it is important to take the time to interview a few possible contenders. Make a list of possible photographers, using the yellow pages, the internet, and recommendations from friends and family. You should also ask for recommendations from the events planner at the venue where you will be holding your wedding and/or reception. They have years of experience hosting wedding parties, and working closely with professional photographers. Let their insight be a guide to narrowing the field of possible photographers to a few prime candidates.
Questions to Ask Your Photographer
Once you’ve reduced the list of possible professional photographers to a manageable number, it’s time to schedule appointments and arrange interviews. Before you sign any contract, you will want to ask all of the potential photographers a few important questions. Use the following list of questions as a handy guide when interviewing prospective wedding photographers.
- What is their style of photography? Can they work in color and black and white? Do they have experience in videography? Do they specialize in either formal or candid photography, and are they adept at both?
- Do they shoot on film or digital? If they do shoot on film, do they develop their own photographs, and will you be given the negatives as well as the prints?
- Are they prepared to complete a given list of photos and photographic opportunities that you will supply?
- What is their past experience, and can they supply samples of their past work?
- Will the person you are interviewing be the principle photographer, or will they be delegating the work to assistants?
- Does the photographer’s fee cover the entire event, or only individual photographic packages?
Before settling on your final decision, ask all of the potential photographers for a list of references. These should be former clients, and other industry professionals, that have supplied the photographer with testimonials. These references should speak to the professionalism of the photographer, and their ability to artistically capture the mood of the day. It is also a good idea to run the names of any prospective wedding photographers by the events planner at your hired venue. They’ll be able to offer an informed opinion on which photographers have the best reputation, and may be able to single out professionals with whom they have successfully worked in the past.
Coordinate with Your Venue
Once you have settled on a photographer that you both feel comfortable with, you will need to give them the information they need to coordinate their schedule with the venue you have booked for your wedding and reception. Give the photographer the contact information for your venue, and the name of the event planner who is handling your booking. This way your photographer can smooth out any possible scheduling conflicts, and can arrange be at the venue early to prepare for the day’s events.
Hiring a wedding photographer is a big decision, and it is important to give it the attention it deserves. After all, these are your most cherished memories they will be capturing and preserving. Take the time to ask some pointed questions, rely on the advice and expertise of your event planner or wedding consultant, and only settle for the photographer you feel will be capable of capturing the special mood of the day.