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, you need 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 their work, you can always say that you always had your heart set on working with photographer ‘XYZ’ and that you’d love for them to relax at the wedding as a guest and you’d love for them to bring their camera for candid pictures.
2. Experience Counts
There’s a lot of pressure for photographers on a wedding day and there’s lots that can go wrong. The stakes are pretty high and there’s no second chance to capture special moments. The less experience a photographer has, the more homework you may want to do.
You may luck into an up-and-coming photography rockstar that’s only charging $500 but more likely you’ll come across someone that’s learning as they go. Things like bad weather, darker venues or a parent that’s a challenge to work with can all throw off an inexperienced photographer and have an impact on your wedding pictures. 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.
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 :) While you can certainly ‘creep’ them on Facebook, 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.
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 - but not always.
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
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, 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.
Second Shooters / Assistants: Are there two photographers? Can the second photographer work on their own? How much experience do they have.
Files: Are the digital files included and how are the processed / retouched?
Bonus: 5 More 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.