Your wedding will be a blur of dancing, well wishes and champagne. After months—maybe years—of planning and anticipation, all you’ll have to show for it (besides a husband, of course) are your wedding photos. Hiring a photographer is arguably the most important part of wedding planning. Here are three things to consider when making your selection.
In wedding photography, “You get what you pay for,” is a harsh reality. Maybe Cousin Freddie photographs pets and has offered to take pictures for free. That’s perfect, if you want a schnauzer’s-eye-view of the biggest day of your life. Some photography “professionals” are really amateurs trying to start a new business or weekend warriors without proven track records. Cut a course from your dinner service or nix the top-shelf bar to make room in your budget for a seasoned pro with experience and references. The future Mrs. You won’t regret it when she peruses her gorgeous album years from now, long after everyone’s forgotten what they ate at your reception. When negotiating price with a photographer, be sure to find out what’s included (assistants, albums, retouching, digital images) and compare packages, not just bottom lines.
Once you’ve found some photographers in your price range, study their portfolios. Do the candidates tend toward formal, posed pictures or journalistic-style candid shots? Does one photographer stand out in terms of capturing the mood of the event or those special, intimate shots that show relationships between the people in them? If you see photos you love, be sure they were taken by the photographer you’ll be working with, not a partner or assistant. When you find a photographer whose work meshes with your expectations, book him. Just like with your fiancé, you’ll “just know” when you’ve found “the one.”
Your army of bridesmaids is prepared for anything on your big day….Is your photographer? Will your wedding be the only event he shoots that day or will he be sneaking out before you cut the cake because another bride awaits? Will he bring an assistant or second shooter? Additional camera equipment in case of malfunctions? Lighting equipment? The best wedding photographers know how weddings typically progress and capture all the key moments. They’re also flexible enough to spontaneously run alongside your getaway carriage at midnight to catch that all-important parting shot.