Your wedding day is a day to remember. One of the most important things is capturing the moments of the day so when you look back on the photos and videos in the future, the whole experience will come rushing back to you. Your wedding photographer and videographer should be chosen with care. You want to choose people whose work not only matches your personal style and aesthetic, but that also inspires you. Here are some tips for choosing a wedding photographer:
1. Research photographers in the area where you're having your wedding. Look at their online portfolios and choose a style that suits you. Do you like candid, documentary style photos, or would you prefer posed portraits? Do you want an artistic feel or more an edge to your wedding photography? Once you decide on a style that suits you...
2. Read reviews and ratings of the photographers who styles you like. You need to know what others are saying about their experience.
3. Set up interviews with a few select photographers whose style and reviews you like. Ask to see a full gallery of real wedding shot by them and not someone on their staff.
4. Review their work. It helps to bring in notes of things to look for, for example, did they shoot an equal enough amount of photos of the bride as they did the groom? Did they capture the moment the bride and groom first saw each other from both her perspective and his? Are the photos well composed and crisp? How is the lighting? And, most importantly, did the photographer capture real emotion and are the subjects relaxed and natural, not stiff and overly posed?
5. Make sure you and your photographer will work well together. Are they excited about your vision? Do they present their ideas in a timid way or are they respectful but clear? Is anything about them off-putting? You want to be sure that you will get along as they will be shadowing your every move. The key is to find a photographer who has the courage to step forward and get the great shots, but the wisdom and social grace to not offend guests or shoot anyone in an unflattering way. They should also be good with people and be able to make them relax and smile naturally.
6. Confirm who will be shooting your big day. Larger studios have several shooters and are busy enough to not have the lead photographer always available. Be sure you click with the person that will be shooting your event. Also, in your contract, specify who will cover in case something should happen to the chosen shooter the day of the wedding. Ask if they will be bringing assistants, and how many. Also, if your budget allows, consider adding a second shooter.
7. Compare pricing and different package options. Ask for a general range based on the photographer's standard “shooting fee" and package, plus their standard rates for the album and the amount of coverage you'd like to book them for (day-of, full weekend). Find out what's included in the standard package, plus the basic range for any extras, like special effects or additional coverage, so you can compare rates. Finalize how many hours you want them to cover, ideally from when your start getting ready until you exit the reception.
8. Know your rights. Most contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken at the wedding.That means the photographer can use them to promote themselves on their website, ads, social media, etc. That also means that you can't post the digital proofs they send you -- most photographers have a policy that you can only share watermarked images or images with their credit on them. Unless you negotiate otherwise, if you want to print the images yourselves or order an album from another source, you'll have to buy the rights to the images.
9. Find out how long it will take to get your photos and how much post-production work will be involved that you have to pay for. For instance, to process, color correct and make your photos the best possible, can take up to 40 more hours of work and up to a month to get to you. Ask them how many images should you expect and will they be high or low resolution. Will you be able to get prints made yourself or do they retain the rights to the images. Will the proofs be retouched or will you get to pick which photos you want retouched. We recommend choosing photos first and then having them retouch the ones you pick.Ask about retouching options and special effects and the additional cost for both.