Tips for hiring a wedding photographer


  • Author Nayeem Modan
  • Published April 15, 2012
  • Word count 1,682

Wedding, One of the most important days in our life. A day filled with emotion and fun, which cannot be described in words but as we all know, it can be relived and rejoiced by looking at the images captured by your photographer. What would you remember after looking at the images captured by your photographer, is all up to you. Who would you blame, if photographer hired by you turns in horrible images. Images should remind you of your memorable day and not how horrible the photographer did his job.

Planning a wedding is daunting task. Yes! We know that one of the toughest and important decision of your wedding plan is finding a very good PROFESSIONAL photographer; who can capture all the memories the way you want and who also fits in your budget. Let’s keep budget aside as there are many more important things that matters more sometimes. Customer service, communication, punctual and friendly is to name a few. How would you like a photographer who has horrible people skills who makes you feel uncomfortable? How would your guest feel on your wedding day having him/her around? Not returning your phone call or reply to your email when you have questions or suggestions?

Finding a photographer who fits in your budget is one thing but hiring someone solely based on your budget is a recipe for life long regrets.

As soon as you decide to tie a knot after picking the date; first vendor to contact is should be the photographer because good photographers are usually booked in advance.

You may be someone who is getting ready to call studios right after reading this article or you may be one of those individuals who already talked to various photographers. In any case, you will soon find out that there is a big price difference offered among photographers. You must educate yourself and ask right questions before hiring the photographer for your wedding.

So lets get you ready to find the perfect photographer for your wedding day.

What is your budget?

Come up with rough budget to spend on photography. It can be $500.00 or $50,000.00. Don’t hire someone just based on lowest price; remember that there is no second chance. On the other hand, remember that there is always something better but you have to decide what you want and can afford.

Did you do your homework?

Make a list of photographers you like to contact. Start with asking friends and family for recommendation but do your own research to find something better because you might have higher expectations, different budget and altered meaning for hiring a photographer. Search over the net to see who is out there. Don’t forget to include out of town photographer as most photographers can and will travel to your location.

Do you know what you looking for in photographer?

Each photographer has his/her own style. It can be documentary, traditional, photojournalism or combination. Go through his/her portfolio and see if you like what he/she has captured so far. Look for his/her blog. Usually, blog has lot more images then just best of his work (portfolio), which may tell you how most of his images looks (By the way, don’t just look at pretty faces and dresses! You can do that when you are searching for wedding dress later on in your wedding planning). His/her images should tell you something. Does his style visually entertain you? Does his images makes you feel you were there? Do you feel the emotions captured in the images? You don’t have to have PhD because a good photograph should capture a moment and tell a story to all his/her audience. In general, if you don’t like his images at first glance, please move on to next photographer in your list, as he/she is not the one for you.

After making the list, now you are ready to contact them. When you contact him/her make sure you give him/her as much information as you can provide which will help both of you to make decision. Try to engage in short conversation over the phone or via email. Ask questions to know some details about how he/she conducts the business. Ask questions suck as:

How flexible his/her wedding package is?

Last thing you want to do is let the photographer tell you what you will get for your money. We think as part of our customer service that you should be able to choose what you would like to include in your budget. We think that if you don’t want it why pay for it and you should think the same as a smart buyer. Who doesn’t like saving hard earned money?

Will you be able to use images for your personal use?

Many photographers will not give you copyrights of your photos even for your personal use. In other words, any images captured by the photographer are only his property and most probably you will end up with watermarked photographs. In that case you will only be able to get printed materials and you will end up going back to him/her if you need more prints or enlargement and end up spending more money.

Are there any albums included?

Wedding album could be around for generations to come if it’s made sturdy enough. After all that is the piece of art that most of your guests, friends and loved ones will be looking at. Choose wisely. Wedding album can cost from $200 to $2000. Price can vary by size, cover and page material and design. When it comes to buying an album, it is always a good idea to see the quality of the album in person. Ask the photographer to show you FULL wedding album rather then portfolio album. If wedding album is not included in the package, it can benefit you many ways. You can choose an album you like with options you need. You can decide weather or not to get album. You can add it later on as album cannot be made before your wedding photo shoot. If you are on budget, it may help you spread out the payment as well.

Is album design included in the price?

Album design can be very expensive add on to your wedding package. See if your album design is included in the package or album price. Ask how many changes they will let you do after initial album design. Limited album design correction during design phase can lead you to unsatisfactory final product.

What kind of equipment is he/she using?

It is OK to ask the photographer about the equipments they are using such as camera, lenses, lighting, backup cameras and other accessories. Asking about tools of the trade will lead you to find his/her technical knowledge among other things like how comfortable he/she is talking about it. Don’t forget that you engaging in a conversation that will tell you his/her people skills. Remember that you want some one who is friendly to makes your guests and you comfortable and not someone who just wants to keep it strictly business. Besides, you want to know if he/she has enough equipment as backup if something goes wrong. You might find some other details during the discussion, which might help you to make or break the deal.

What do other people think about his work?

You may or may not know the photographer doesn’t mean you can’t find out about what other people has experienced. In today’s Internet word it’s easy. Visit their websites and blog to checkout his/her work. Many photographers nowadays have company pages on the social networking sites where you will be able to read comments from other people. Also pay attention to photos and see if you can find emotion or the story in them.

Is he/she right photographer for me?

Try not to judge the photographer’s work by the way his studio looks, lower or higher price quote. Judge him/her by the way he/she present him/her self, by their images and by willingness to work with you. Owning a big studio does not mean one is better than the other. Keep in mind that you are there to hire him/her to get images of the most important day of your life.

Have you heard about photography trial?

Yes! It can be done. How? If you have extra budget, think about doing pre-wedding photo shoot with the photographer whom you like to hire for the wedding (reception). It is the best way to get to know his work attitude, get comfortable working with each other. The pre-wedding photo shoot also should help you to figure out how to work with camera being in front of you. You will know what to expect on your big wedding day images. It will help you and the photographer on the day of wedding as you already have worked together and feel more comfortable.

Anything more?

Yes! Always…Ask if he/she charges overtime. Many photographers offer lower prices for fixed amount of time but charge higher fees for overtime. Ask about deposit amount. You don’t want to pay everything up front on the day you sign the contract. Remember to ask any question that arise and don’t be shy.

Good luck!!!

PS: If you like his/her work, Please don’t forget to leave a feedback. If you can go to his/her blog and social network pages that helped you to make the decision, compliment his/her work. Leave a comment to let others know what you think. It’s a humble gesture that can help him/her to get more business and stay in the business until you need him/her for your next big event.

Did this article help you in anyway? Please let us know by commenting below. We always welcome any suggestions our visitors may have.

We are wedding photographer based in New Jersey area serving Tri-State.

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