hiring a wedding photographer

photographer

You're creating memories on your wedding day and there's nothing like still photographs to capture a special moment in time.

There's no turning back the clock, so your choice of a wedding photographer is a very important one.

Shop around and ask for referrals. If possible, view other couple's entire wedding albums and pay special attention to the lighting. How well did the photographer use natural and artificial lighting? Did he/she also capture candid shots that tell the rest of the story?

book well in advance

Make sure you book the date for your wedding pictures early on so you can have your first choice of professional photographers. You should hire someone who also looks professional so you don't have a slob hanging around your formal wedding. This could cause embarrassment you didn't anticipate.

Ask the studio to view a large variety of photo samples, and make note of the individual photographer who worked each wedding. Hire a specific photographer that impressed you, not just the studio. Make sure it's finalized when you sign the contract.

things you need to know

Here are just a few additional questions to ask and things that will help you make your decision:

  • What is the overall cost?
  • How much is the deposit and when is the balance due?
  • Will there be an assistant?
  • What hours is the photographer available?
  • Can you purchase the negatives or get a copyright release for digital files?
  • When will the proofs be ready for viewing?
  • What is the quality of the photo album?
  • How long does it take to receive your final order?
  • What happens if my first choice of photographer has an emergency and isn't available?
  • Are there any additional charges, for example, mileage?

freelance photographers

There are benefits to freelance photographers, particularly the cost. The charges are less because they usually work out of their home and don't pay for the overhead of a large studio. Often, the photographer will take the pictures and turn the negatives or digital files over to you (with a signed copyright release) to have the photos printed professionally. Many seasoned veterans give you the choice of whether you want them to develop the pictures, or if you are to take total control.

One word of caution. In the digital age, anyone can claim to be a professional photographer. Whoever you hire needs to be completely vetted. The best way to do this is view their portfolio, social media pages, etc. and see who is in the pictures. Ask them if they recommend the photographer. Check all references thoroughly. Run searches for reviews to make sure they are legit.

sign a contract

After you've made all decisions, make sure all of the info is included on the contract -- such as the exact date, time and location for your ceremony and reception, and which package you've chosen. Include your contact information. Likewise, make sure you have emergency contact numbers for the studio and photographer. You can try to negotiate smaller fees. If successful, get this in writing as well.

related pages

today's tip

In spite of their best efforts, some photographers fall behind. Make sure get the turnaround time in writing so you're not waiting long.