{How to…} Choose your wedding photographer

This post is going to all about how to pick your photog for your big day. The do’s, the dont’s, and the things you might not think about that are very important.

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Start looking right away because the best professional photographers book their schedules a year in advance. If you want outstanding pictures, start searching for your photographer when you have decided on the date. A wedding photographer’s peak season is Saturdays during the spring, as this is when many couples get married. If you will be celebrating an “in-season” wedding, book your photographer at least six to twelve months in advance. (I already have a wedding booked for fall of 2014!)

Take the time to actually look around. Good wedding photographers have a reputation of success, and therefore are relatively well known. They should be the easiest to find. Start your search by asking for recommendations from friends and family who have held weddings prior to your event. Ask if they liked the photographer. Look at their wedding album. Additionally, other professionals involved in your wedding day festivities will likely have worked with photographers in the past. Ask for recommendations from your wedding planner, venue manager, caterer, baker, florist or limousine driver. If all else fails, The Knot has some of the best photographers featured right on this link!

Look at SAMPLES!
See a photo you love? Copy the image URL and upload it to Pinterest (with credit to the photographer of course). Think about the tone that you want your photos to express. Are you and your fianc serious and traditional, or do you prefer a more light-hearted and playful theme to your wedding photographs? After narrowing your selection of wedding photographers down to about three, make appointments to interview the candidates. During the interview, ask to see samples of past work.

Likely, the photographer will have two or three wedding albums available for show. Make sure you see at least one album of an entire wedding, from start to finish. After examining all of the photographer’s work closely, request to see another set of photographs from a recent wedding. This will enable you to see both his best work-from the pre-selected albums-and her average daily work.

First, examine the basics of the pictures-such as color, clarity, exposure, graininess and composition. Then determine the photographer’s style; does she shoot photos that are adventurous and unique or are they standard and ordinary? This will also help you determine which style you prefer.

Pay attention to the photographer’s ability to capture the emotion of the day. Does it appear that he has the personality to make his subjects comfortable and happy? Or is she the type of photographer that seemingly takes pictures without much passion.

Come away from the interview knowing the quality of the photographer, his overall style, and if she will adjust her style to your individual taste.

Evaluate their professionalism: While not all amateur photographers are created equal, the best way to ensure you receive a quality wedding album is to hire a seasoned professional with a solid background from which to draw.

During your initial interviews, find out how many weddings the photographer has shot. He/she may have been a professional photographer for 15 years, but only doing weddings for the past year. Remember, wedding photography is much different than any other type of photography.

Along with the number of years he/she has been filming weddings, ask how many actual weddings she has photographed. This will give you a better idea of how experienced the photographer has become.

With such 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 he dress and how will he act to your wedding party and guests?

Finally, find out if the photographer has shot at your wedding venue before. If he has, he may know of places to get good shots or ways to capture moments the best.

Lastly…DETERMINE COSTS AND SIGN THE CONTRACT. Any photographer that doesn’t have a contract for you to sign doesn’t take their business seriously and you shouldn’t either.

It is SO IMPORTANT that you click with your photographer, nothing is worse than not being on the same page on your big day. Make sure that everything is hashed out beforehand! Even if it means calling them one more time the week of the wedding 🙂

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