Pro vs Amateur
Some amateur photographers are going to be great depending on the type of wedding you are planning but you really have to be sure you are willing to give an amateur a shot on your “Special Day”. The only way to get close to a guarantee that you will receive a quality wedding photo experience is to hire an experienced professional with strong testimonials and a background of dozens of positive wedding experiences.
During the interview, find out how many weddings the photographer has taken over their career. They may have been a professional photographer for 20 years but only doing weddings for the past few. Please keep in mind, wedding photography is much different than any other type of photography; the pressure is on and the emotions run high and it’s important to have someone you can trust.
Have they shot your venue before? Very important question. If not, ask them to scout it in advance. If they have, they may already know where to pose to get the “dream wedding” shot or how to integrate the church’s beautiful aspects in an engaging way that you wouldn’t expect.
With significant experience comes not only the knowledge of how to photograph a wedding, but also how to act during the ceremony and reception. For example, how will they prep the dress and how will they act around your family, wedding party and VIP guests? Beautiful images capturing the joy of family and friends are just as important as the many taken of the bride and groom. The photographer will be with you just about as much as anyone in the party, how is the rapport? Will they be fun, light and supportive or cold, boring and a downer?! Truly, a wedding photographer’s personality and ability to put everyone at ease is as important a skill as the actual photographs they end up taking.
Even though you are not a professional yourself, you should know at least ask what type of camera and equipment your photographer will be using. Are they bringing an assistant? Very important. Most do but its good to ask to be sure. You may find that you care more more about the details than you think. For example, there are advantages to different types of film, exposures and certain effects that you may want to incorporate. You should also ask what program they use to edit the photos—if a photographer says they don’t edit, end the meeting!
Asking about equipment, accumulating information on your options and developing opinions or preferences shows that you really care, know what your vision is and helps you not to be taken advantage of by an unscrupulous old school pro.
Costs & Contract
While you may want to book your photographer ASAP!, make sure you read over the contract details of exactly what they are promising and what you are promising before signing any of the paperwork Be sure the photographer you meet with is the photographer who will be shooting your wedding and be there on time on your wedding day. Choose what parts of your wedding day will be covered and how many hours you have with your photographer from start to finish. Clear open communication and a joint review of the details of the ceremony, the reception, and the different expectations you have across the board is very important. Get it all in writing! At the end of the day, the contract is in there to remind everyone involved of the services you have agreed upon.
With Parts 1-3 you should be ready to find the Wedding Photographer of Your Dreams!