Choosing your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you will make during the planning process. Your wedding day will pass in an emotional whirlwind, and the images captured that day will be precious reminders of the loved ones who shared it with you.
Professional photography is not cheap. It will be one of the largest expenditures in your wedding budget, but it is also the only enduring purchase you will make. Keep these things in mind when choosing your photographer:
- Your wedding is not an experiment. This is not the time to allow your cousin to develop her budding photography business or to choose a part-time photographer. Select a seasoned professional who is a full-time photographer and who shoots weddings at least 75 percent of the time. The role of second shooter is good training for someone looking to build experience or a portfolio.
- Ask to see a complete wedding from beginning to end. Don’t rely only on the favorites slideshow presented by a photographer. You want to see how the photographer captures candid as well as posed shots and how he/she deals with lighting changes. Look for the ways the photographer uses the venue and scenery as backdrop and staging. Do they offer props? Does he shoot from different angles and perspectives during the ceremony? Are there a variety of close ups as well as wide angles?
- Beach photography is not church photography. Photographing a beach wedding is a unique challenge due to lighting and weather conditions. If a photographer seems fantastic but he primarily only shoots church weddings or indoor venues, you should consider a photographer who has extensive experience with beach weddings. Again, you don’t want your wedding to be the test case.
- Make a list, check it twice. Your photographer should work from a checklist, which she reviews with you before the wedding. Moving into posed portraits following a ceremony can be hectic in the excitement of the day, even more so when you have larger wedding parties. Using a checklist makes the session more efficient and ensures that you capture the most important posed photos. There is nothing worse than realizing weeks later when you are proofing your images that you forgot to get a photo with your special aunt (or grandparent, or family friend, etc.) A checklist doesn’t have to mean you don’t have time for spontaneity or creativity, but it does help keep you on a timeline so you’re making it to your reception and not keeping your guests waiting too long.
Finally, you should ask if your photographer offers an online slideshow and/or online proofing. What is their turnaround time for proofing and order delivery? Do they offer digital images and copyright releases? Just remember, don’t skimp on the budget for photography. Your memories are too important – there are other areas where you can cut costs in order to afford quality professional photography. You don’t get a do over of your special day.