1. Connect with their Work
You’ve probably come across images that ‘speak’ to you already. You’re on the right track :) Before moving forward, it’s important to feel a connection with a photographers work. Do you like dramatic images, candid moments, detail shots? It’s not a bad idea to save/tag/pin images that you really like. This may help you narrow down your options and you may wish to share some of these selections with the photographer you end up choosing.
If your friend offers to shoot your wedding for free that’s awesome! Just make sure you ask to see a few of their recent weddings and make sure you love their work. If you’re not comfortable with what they share with you, you can always say that you’ve always had your heart set on working with photographer ‘XYZ’ and that you’d like for them to relax at the wedding as a guest. You can even ask if would they like to bring their camera to the wedding to take candid pictures.
2. Experience Counts
There’s a lot of pressure for photographers on a wedding day because things don’t always go according to plan. There’s no second chance to capture fleeting moments. Bad weather, working with groups, dealing with lighting and posing can, while under a time crunch, throw off an inexperienced photographer. The less experience a photographer has, the more homework you may want to do.
Ask your prospective photographer if they’ve shot at your venue before, check on a rainy day plan and ask how long they’ve been shooting weddings. You’ll also want to review a couple of their full weddings to get a better idea of what to expect from your wedding coverage.
3. Are You Compatible?
Chances are you’ll spend more time with your photographers on your wedding day than anyone else. It’s important that you like spending time with them :) If you live in the same area, most photographers would love to set up a meeting with you just to chat about the details of your day. This is a great chance to form a first impression. If you’re planning your wedding from away, ask to set up a facetime or skype call.
Another way to test out your compatibility would be a schedule an engagement session soon after booking. This is a great way to know if you’ve made the right choice.
4. Don’t Scrimp on Price if You Don’t Have To
Easy for me to say, but the old standard - ‘you get what you pay for’ certainly can apply here. You’ll probably find that shopping for a wedding photographer can be a whole new experience as you are often comparing different artistic styles, levels of experience, prices, personalities and levels of service and products.
This is a great time to get all the details on the packages offered. Some photographers have special rates for off peak dates, full and half-day coverage and some include albums and others just the coverage. Just make sure that you are comparing similar offerings.
5. Get the Details Before Committing
Contract: Make sure there is a written contract and you’ve read and understood all the fine print. Things like copyright, hours of coverage, and deliverables.
Copyright: Most photographers retain ownership of the copyright to the images they capture but should spell out your rights with respect to your wedding photographs. Make sure you can print, share and copy these images. Our policy is “as long as it’s ‘personal use’ you can do anything you like with your images.”
Second Shooters / Assistants: Are there two photographers? Can the second photographer work on their own? How much experience do they have? This can be really important when it comes to getting ready and ceremony coverage. If you have two photographers that can work independently, you’ll have more candid moments captured.
Files: Are the digital files included and how are the processed / retouched?
Bonus: 5 Questions to Ask Your Prospective Photographer
What do you love most about photographing weddings?
How many weddings have you photographed?
How long after the wedding until we receive our images?
Can we see a couple of recent galleries of full weddings?
Tell me about a ‘typical’ wedding day timeline.
By Alex MacAulay
Alex and his wife Kate have been photographing weddings together throughout Nova Scotia for more than 20 years.