When the time comes to select a professional wedding photographer for your special day, there are various factors to consider.
Any special occasion or event requires a lot of planning, but once it is over it can fast become a distant memory, which is why your photos are the only lasting memory you will have of the day, taking you back to what is meant to be one of the happiest days of your life. Capturing your special day the way you envision starts with choosing a professional event/wedding photographer who has the talent, and experience to do so.
Your pictures need to be handled with care and a great deal of creativity goes into this. They need to be taken from the right angle, with the correct lighting and the best background’s. The beauty of every photograph lies in the way in which it is captured. Therefore, it is very important that you take the time to research and choose a photographer who has the experience and is going to deliver, failing that you will be left very disappointed when you receive your photos. And remember a lot of the best professional photographers book their schedules a year in advance
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Once you have an idea of the photographers you would like to contact go on to their Company websites and carefully go through the site paying particular attention to their style of work. The design of the website may also give an indication to the photographer’s personality and style. Check out their Facebook / Instagram and Twitter pages too and any other reviews found online from previous clients.
Ask the potential photographer about qualifications, awards and certificates? Always try to choose a wedding photographer who has already worked at your chosen wedding venue. This isn’t a necessity but your photographer must show a willingness to meet at the venue regularly, exploring the best photo locations and opportunities as well as taking the time to run through the structure of the day. It is also a good idea for the photographer to meet with the venue proprietor/wedding coordinator to make sure everyone is clear on the day’s agenda from start to finish.
This can often be a deciding factor for a lot of brides and grooms and although it is a vital element, it should not be the basis for your decision. High-end prices do not always guarantee the highest quality but likewise, reasonable pricing does not always depict low quality.
A photographer should be open about their pricing structures and in turn, you should be clear on your budget. Neither one of you wants to waste any time so a clear dialogue right from the beginning will resolve this.
Your photographer should offer a variety of packages to suit all and should always be flexible with pricing and what is included within each package. Each couple will have different expectations and requirements so do make sure that your photographer can tailor make a package to suit your needs.
Always remember to ask about any hidden extras. Some photographers charge an additional fee for editing, VAT, creating artwork for an album or even travel and food expenses. You should always ensure that all costs are detailed in a quote before entering in to any contractual agreement.
STYLE OF PHOTO’S
Think about the tone that you want your photos to express. Discuss with your prospective wedding photographer what style of photos you would like to have taken. Do you want the traditional posed wedding day photographs, more informal/light-hearted and playful pictures, or a mixture of the two? A talented photographer can listen to your vision and articulate it perfectly, so you should see the variation in their work.
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 he/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 he/she the type of photographer that seemingly takes pictures without much passion.
HOW WELL DO YOU GEL?
Don’t underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer. When they make suggestions, do they present them in a clear and respectful way? Are their mannerisms off-putting? In order to get the best photos, it is important you choose someone who puts you at ease and doesn’t irritate you in any way. Remember: They’ll be shadowing your every move, and the more comfortable both of you are with the photographer, the better the photos will turn out. Likewise, you don’t want the photographer to offend or annoy any guests, but to shoot them in their best light in an unobtrusive way.
To get the best photos, relaxed smiles and natural stances from guests, and calm enough to be a positive force. There is no way that choosing a photographer you think is “great”, but you don’t “click” with is going to work. The photographer needs to be able to make you feel relaxed and smile in order to get the best out of you.
Even if you know very little, you should know what type of camera and equipment your photographer would be using during your event. You may find that you are more particular about it than you think. For example, if you are having an outdoor event, does the photographer have the correct equipment to get beautiful photographers on a grey cloudy day or even in the rain?
Every photographer needs backup equipment in case his original equipment fails. Flashes, lenses and cameras should all come in multiples. Extra batteries, film and memory cards are also a must.
HOW MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS?
How many photographers will be shooting your big day? Especially during the wedding ceremony, it can be useful to have two photographers to ensure that these precious moments are captured at more than one angle and that you have a good variety of shots. This is particularly useful of getting shots of when the bride and groom are ‘getting ready’ if you are miles apart. If they are offering two photographers, ask to meet both of them.
WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS?
Most contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken at the wedding, even the ones of you. In other words, the photographer can use them as promotion (on their website or blog, submit them for publication and even place them in ads). That also means you can’t just post the digital proofs they send you—most photographers have a policy that you can only share watermarked images or images with their credit on them. Also, unless you negotiate otherwise, if you want to print the images yourselves or order an album from another source, you’ll have to buy the rights to the images.
SIGNING THE CONTRACT
While you want to make sure you book your photographer for the date of your wedding immediately, make sure you read over the legal details of exactly what you will get before signing the contract. First, negotiate price. Contrary to what you may have been told, everything is negotiable, including price, packages and wedding proofs. This means knowing exactly what type of service and what package of photographs you will be getting.
Then make sure that the photographer you want is the photographer you will get at your wedding. Some larger companies may do a bait and switch. Also, find out what part of your wedding day will be covered and how many hours you have with your photographer. This means communicating with the photographer about the details of the event, when and where the ceremony will be held as well as the reception and what types of photographs you want.
In all, the contract is in place to remind both you and the photographer of the services you agreed upon. Following these simple steps will ensure you hire the photographer to meet your needs and receive a wedding album to treasure for years to come.
QUESTIONS TO ASK:
Providing the photographer is available on your chosen date – here are a list of questions to ask:
Along with the number of years he/she has been filming weddings, ask how many actual weddings have they photographed. (This will give you a better idea of how experienced the photographer has become).
Do you know the venue and if not are you prepared to travel there before the wedding to familiarize yourself with it?
What is provided as part of the service?
How many pictures will be taken and how many will we get to choose for our album?
Does he/she provide all the images on a disc as well as in hard copy, and how much will more copies cost?
How much is the cost of the album itself? (make sure you are shown examples)
Do you charge a flat fee or work by the hour?
Will you be photographing the wedding yourself or sending an assistant?
If you bring an assistant with you, will they be included in the quote?
How soon after the wedding will proofs be available?
Are we expected to provide any food, transport or accommodation for you?
Can we keep the negatives and if not, is there an option to buy them (and therefore the copyright too)?
What is the cancellation/postponement policy?
How much is the deposit and when is it due? When is the balance due?
Is VAT included?
Do you have public liability insurance and indemnity? (All good photographers should be insured.)
What happens if you are unwell and unable to make it on the day? Do you know a photographer with the same style who could step in if necessary?
What spare kit do you take?
Can you provide references?
Are you looking for a photographer? At ClicknPlan we have a number of professional photographers we can send your way. All you need to do is tell us your requirements and then you can sit back while we do all the running around!