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Hiring a Photographer

Weddings:

You will likely spend more money on making your wedding day perfect than on any other day in your life. You will spend months planning every detail and it will all pass by in a blur. Great photos will capture the day and all the details and beauty you worked so hard for. Photography is not the place to cut corners. The good news is that you can find a great photographer without breaking the bank. Here are my tips for finding the right photographer for you.

1. Be sure to look at a lot of the photographers work, including at least one complete album. Do the photos tell the story of the day? Do you find yourself immersed in the story? Do the images evoke your own emotions and can you see yourself in the photographers work? Colors should be clear and accurate, images should be detailed and focused? Your eye should naturally flow into the image, the images should be about the people and the moments. Do not settle for anything less than photos that you fall in love with. If you do not fall in love with their other work- it is unlikely you will love the photos they take for you.

2. Style, Philosophy & Approach: Ask the photographer about their style, how do they shoot a wedding? What is their goal when photographing a wedding? How do they work with the bride and groom? What do they do during the formals? What is their approach? Will they pose you? The photojournalist approach is most popular and commonplace currently. This style emphasizes a documentary style of capturing moments as they happen while staying out of the way. A good well rounded photojournalist photographer can also pose a bride and groom to bring out their best. She/He will also know how to find good places to shoot and how to compose and plan beautiful portraits. An older more traditional style would focus on staging more shots and be much more visible instructing people to look and smile.

3. Personality: You will be spending more time on your wedding day with the photographer than anyone other than your new spouse. Do you like them, is their personality right for you? Some photographers are high energy some are more relaxed. Get to know your photographer, are they listening to you? It is very important that the photographer is someone you can communicate with- they need to understand you and you need to understand them.

4. References: Ask for references, and seek out reviews online. Sites like www.onewed.com have photographer reviews.

5. Make sure you know who your photographer will be and meet with them. Many bigger studios might have you meet with the owner and then send someone else out on the day. Make sure you are contracting the photographer you meet with and that you are seeing their work.

6. Do I need a second photographer? Most of the time I think one photographer is enough. There are a couple scenarios when two becomes necessary, for one very large weddings with large families and bridal parties. Generally I recommend you consider two photographers if you have over 250 guests. Another scenario is when there are locations that are far apart and when the bride and groom are getting ready in different places. A second photographer can focus on the groom while the primary photographer focuses on the bride.

7. Cost: I urge you to place a premium on wedding photography; it should be a priority. The food, cake, flowers and entertainment will be used up on the night, the photos will last forever. These photos will become priceless family heirlooms. Photography cost is very broad; you can conceivably hire a photographer for as little as a few hundred dollars to as much as tens even hundreds of thousands. Just because a photographer is more expensive than another does not make them “better”- look at the work first. Then set a reasonable budget and see which of the photographers you love fit into that budget.

8. Value: Make sure that you are comparing costs based on value. How many hours are they working? What are you getting for the cost? Compare the products: albums can have a raw cost (cost to the photographer just for printing) of $30 to $1000 or even more. Do you own the images taken? Are you receiving all the images on a disc, and will they be edited and ready to print? Some photographers will give you smaller images that cannot be printed or only printed small, others will not give you the original photos at all- you will only get the images as the prints and albums that you buy.

9. Beware sub $1000 photographers. It is expensive to be in business today and very difficult to make a living for under $1000. Does the photographer have a legitament business registered with the city? Do they have insurance? Many venues will not allow a photographer without insurance. How many years have they been in business? A brand new illegitament business could easily go under and take your deposit and never show up on the day. Maybe they are cutting costs by not having proper equipment or back-ups. It is possible you can acquire a good photographer for under $1000, but it can be risky so do your best to be skeptical and ensure that you are getting a true professional who will deliver on the contract.

10. Albums: In my opinion the album is really where the photos come to life. Think of your photos as pieces in a large puzzle that is the story of your day. The album pulls all the pieces together to tell the story. I urge my clients to get an album that is designed by a professional, preferably the photographer. There are lots of different kinds of albums, make sure that you see and touch the album you are purchasing. Make sure that it is durable and will last a lifetime or longer. Learn more about Albums here.

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