Choosing the right Photographer

Choosing the right photographer for your wedding is a very stressful aspect of wedding planning.  Not only do you want every photo taken to be highest of quality, the best lighting, the best angles, but you have a budget in mind as well.  Photography can up the ante to any bride's budget.

When deciding where to look, reach out to your friends first, get the name of whom did their wedding, or even epics, baby pics, family pics, etc.  Look them up on or to read reviews on them, and even other vendors that had worked with them.

If you already have your location picked, they might have preferred photographers, and might only allow them to be used, and not outside photographers, a point to bring up in deed when discussing any aspect with your venue.  They have contracts signed with each of their vendors, and vise versa, and sometimes rules cannot be bent.  So if your best friend has offered to do the photography for your wedding, get the facts to avoid any unwanted problems.

If you do have a friend, and you cannot have them be the main photographer, maybe include them to be at the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, getting ready pics, and other points where they will not step on the main photographer's shoes.

Schedule a meeting with the photographer, preferably at their studio, or at the venue of your wedding/reception. Try to focus on their personality, because they are going to be your shadow all day long, and you are going to interact a lot with them, if it is somebody with an uneasy personality, keep that in mind.

Their portfolio is going to make or break your interest, obviously.  If they have varied styles, this is great.  If you see the same poses for each wedding, a cookie cutter, almost prom picture, style, it might not be a fit for you.  The pics in their portfolio should be recent, not from the 80's, 90's or early 2000's.  Pics from the 80's are still out their in some photographers' portfolios, believe it or not!

What do you hope to see in your wedding photos?  Do you want classic styles, or a bit of edgy, almost photo journalism, with a lot of black and white, contrast and lightness?  Make sure you share your interests, if you don't want edgy, tell them.  If their portfolio is edgy, that might be their training and focus, and only do photography like that.  As well if you want edgy, and they are to more traditional style, they might not do edgy the way you want, as that might not be a high skill for them.

Again, the budget is going to come up.  Be prepared to tell how much you are willing to spend.  And make sure to know the hours you will have with the photographer.  They might offer a package of 5 hours, and then what it is to add an extra hour, or even adding an extra photographer.  Extra photographers, by the way, if you can splurge, are great to have!  While one is up close during your ceremony, the other might be in the balcony of the church getting aerial shots, for example.

When you're discussing the hours with the photographer, don't be afraid to ask if they will charge "driving time", meaning if your wedding is at one location and the reception is at another.  They shouldn't include this in their pricing.  They might use that time to take a break, grab a bite to eat, because the longest part of the day for them is coming up.

Other extra increases to your budget will be owning the rights to your photography.  This is great to have, because not only are the pics yours, you can do so many things with them, like create photo albums for family members, photo gifts, etc, they are yours to do what you want with them.

Usually photographers will include a basic album into the package, then will offer a more elaborate album, which increases the price.  If it is worth it, great, but if you feel like you could make that coffee table book for much cheaper, like at Shutterfly, then decline the extra bells and whistles and accept the basic complimentary album.

Here's a link to the how to, step by step, post about creating your wedding memory album with shutterfly:
Tutorial: Creating your own Memory Album with Shutterfly

Let the photographer know if you want any specific pics.  For example, will their be a staircase at your venue, and do you envision your bridal party in a certain formation?  They might not have that in mind, and if you do, this is the time to share this.  Take a list with you, for him to keep and hold onto, and just in case, provide a family member with this list to hand to him/her, in case he doesn't have it with.  It might sound silly to do this, but you are going to be rushed from spot to spot, and stress levels could be high!

And finally, any photographer worth their salt will offer a free epic session, take advantage of this, you will get to see his/her work, and more than likely you'll love your epics, and will look forward to your photo shoot session on your wedding day. Research and asking the right questions will help you immensely.

Good luck in finding the right photographer for your wedding!