Ask most brides-to-be and they’ll tell you that planning a wedding is hard work, really hard work. A multitude of decisions have to be made from choosing wedding and reception venues to table centerpieces, seating plans and a whole lot more. One of the biggest decisions is choosing a wedding photographer. There are lots of photographers more than happy to take your money and leave you unhappy with the quality of their work or leave you hanging for your photographs.

Here’s some useful information to help you avoid heartbreak and disappointment when it’s time to hire your wedding photographer.

Study The Photographer’s Style

If a photographer’s style doesn’t match your vision, keep looking. There are plenty of talented photographers whose style will match what you want. There’s no benefit in choosing a photographer who offers great products if your vision doesn’t match with their style.

Schedule Interviews

Viewing a wedding photographer’s portfolio is important. It confirms they’re capable of taking the photographs you want so aim to interview at least two or three photographers. Personal connection is another very important consideration. You may not realize it, but you’re going to spend a large amount of time with that person on the big day. It would be an advantage if you have a connection. The more comfortable you are with your photographer, the better your wedding photos will be.

Request References

Ask for a list of references from past clients. Call each reference while you’re interviewing your possible photographer and ask a few simple questions:

• Was he/she on time?
• Was he/she friendly to the wedding party and guests?
• Was he/she open to suggestions?
• Were the bride and groom happy with the pictures and the photographer’s overall performance?

Who’ll Be Photographing Your Wedding?

It’s important to ask if the photographer you speak to will actually be photographing your wedding. Some photographers book multiple weddings on the same day and let their assistants or other colleagues help them.

What’s The Payment Schedule?

Ask the photographer if a deposit is required, and how much they need prior to the wedding day. Make sure to ask what the refund policy is should your wedding be cancelled in advance. Get a contract stating all terms and read it thoroughly before signing it.

Rules and Regulations

Make sure your photographer is familiar with any photo policies at your ceremony and reception locations. Some venues may have specific rules such as no flash photography during the ceremony.

What’s In The Package?

Most photographers list a number of different wedding photography packages for clients to choose from. If you don’t like what’s in a package, ask if you can add or remove certain services or customize your own package. Some photographers charge a travel fee if your wedding is outside of their service area. Be sure to ask in advance. Some photographers include an assistant/second shooter in their packages, while others charge extra.

How Many Hours Will They Shoot?

Some photographers shoot for a certain time frame and charge extra if you go over. Others will take pictures all day. Be sure to ask in advance and make sure it’s in the contract.

How Long Will It Take To Receive The Pictures?

It’s normal to be anxious for your pictures to arrive soon after the big day. Make sure you talk to your photographer beforehand so you know how long the pictures will take.

Are The Rights To The Pictures Included In The Price?

Most wedding pictures are now shot with digital cameras, so be sure to ask your photographer what rights to the pictures you have after the wedding day. Will you be able to print them at your leisure to make albums, etc? Some photographers charge an extra fee for this, so find out in advance to avoid a nasty surprise. Get a contract stating all terms and read it thoroughly before signing it.

Photo – Dave Burnham