Photos of your wedding are the most prized mementoes of that special day in your life. They bring back memories of the beautiful dress you wore, the smiling guests, the magnificent cake, the flowers and the confetti. In hindsight, your photographer has the power to make or break your lovely memories.
Hence it is very important to take great care in hiring the right photographer. Your work starts from the time you get engaged, as most good photographers are booked much in advance. Choosing and dealing with the photographer involves the following considerations:
1. Hire a professional photographer
It is always better to hire a professional because he will be knowledgeable and experienced in the nuances of wedding photography, will be punctual and will have the right equipment and film.
2. Choosing the photographer
Mostly, good photographers are chosen by word-of-mouth, recommendations.
3. Ask for portfolio and samples
Before choosing the photographer, go through three or four samples of weddings he has covered. The samples must be of a complete wedding coverage. This will help you judge whether he has the goods that you want for your wedding. What you need to ask is whether there is variety in his portfolio, is there a mix of candid and formal portraits, are there black and white, sepia, and other fancy works?
4. Meet the actual person
Most photo companies will arrange meetings with their sales people, so you don’t meet the actual photographer who will turn up on the wedding day. He may be a freelancer employed by the company and may be a total disaster who may ruin your special day. Insist on meeting the actual guy and see if you gel with the person. You don’t want him to ruin your day.
5. The type of photographer
There are different types of photographers available in the market. You will pay more for photo journalists, artistic photographers etc.
The usual rates are:
Traditional - 150-200 proofs - medium format - $1400-$2000
Photojournalistic -300+ proofs - 35 mm - $2000-$3500
Artistic - 300+ proofs - 35 mm - $3500-$10000
In photojournalistic style, candid shots of the wedding party are taken as they are. In traditional style, concentration is on bride and groom and formal, posed shots. Artistic refers to the material that goes to make the photo and how it is processed.
6. Make a plan for the day
Plan for the wedding day a whole set of activities that will get the photography going smoothly. Especial arrangements must be made for formal shoots and portraits.
7. Arrange for back-up
Make sure that he comes with extra supplies and equipment in case anything goes amiss. It is also good to have a photographer’s assistant or a second photographer to cover the wedding. Two photographers will give two different perspectives to the wedding.
8. Types of cameras
There are a choice of cameras like professional or non-professional cameras, digital cameras, medium format cameras, 35 mm cameras and large format cameras. 35 mm cameras are used for photojournalistic shoots. Digital cameras are being used increasingly due to cheaper cost and ease of handling.
Make sure he is using at least a six mega-pixel digital camera.
9. Buy a package
After deciding on the photographer and type of camera, decide on the whole package. Like album, negatives, travel expenses etc. Decide whether on a standard wedding package or a customized wedding package. Work out the nitty-gritty like how many rolls of film he will shoot, more of portraits or candids or groups?
10. Check the details
You must draw a contract with all details. First check if date of wedding is correct. Check if address locations, ceremony locations and reception locations are correct.
11. Double check all timing listings
The time the photographer has to show up and when he can leave. Also, the new address of the couple, where the album and photos have to be delivered, must be included.
12. Signing a contract
If you have chosen the photographer, you will have to sign a contract. Take it home and go through it carefully, do not feel pressurized to sign it before everything is to your liking. If the photographer is not willing to negotiate, move on to another person. You may have to make the payment of a deposit, which is mandatory. Usually it is one-third of total payment. After you have checked the details and read the terms, sign the contract. Ask for a copy of the contract.
Basically while choosing a photographer, it boils down to these questions: Do I like your style? Do you have a package to fit my budget? Can I get along with you?
You can begin with these basic questions and decide, with the other considerations in mind, on which photographer is going to help you to preserve the memories of your special day forever.