Did you know the average couple spends $2,679 on a wedding photographer?
Although this may be a small part of your wedding budget, it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make. After all, you only get one chance to get those wedding photos you’ve always dreamed of.
Finding the right photographer requires more than just a quick Google search. You need to make sure that you’re getting the high-quality and professional services of a top wedding photographer.
Where should you begin the process? And how can you ensure that your consultation will be a success?
In this post, we’ll provide a wedding photographer checklist of important questions and considerations. Read on to learn more!
1. Do Research Ahead of Time
Your quest for the perfect wedding photographer begins with research. Just because a certain photographer is popular in your area doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right one for you.
Take your time perusing their online portfolio. Explore their website, view their online galleries, and get a real feel for their style.
Are you having a traditional church wedding with a ballroom reception? An outdoor adventure photographer might not be the most ideal choice–even if you like their work.
Conversely, if you’re having a funky Bohemian wedding in a mountain meadow, you probably don’t want a photographer who specializes in black and white church wedding photography.
If possible, read reviews and testimonials from past clients. Was the couple happy with the photographer’s work? Was he or she flexible and easy to work with?
Above all, look for a photographer whose work speaks to you personally. Each photographer has their strengths and weaknesses. Make sure the one you’re considering can provide the type of photos you’re hoping for.
2. Make a “Must Have” Shot List
Before you set up a consultation, it’s important to know exactly what you want out of your wedding photos.
Do you love candid shots? Or are you a bigger fan of posed, formal portraits?
How important are the details? Are you more interested in close-ups of your bouquet or a panorama capturing the wider picture?
Do you only want full-color shots? Or do you want to mix it up with black and white or sepia tones?
At this stage, sit down with your significant other and create a list of shots you definitely want. These might include:
- Getting ready
- Shoes & accessories
- Bride’s hairstyle
- Bouquets and boutonnieres
- Bridal veil
- First look
- Arrival at the ceremony
- Place settings and centerpieces
- Fun or silly poses, like jumping shots
All wedding photographers will have a list of general shots to capture, like family portraits, the walk down the aisle, and the first kiss.
But it’s still up to you to decide on unique, specific shots you want to include on your big day.
3. Prepare Questions to Ask
You’ve called the photographer and it’s time for that all-important consultation.
Like a first date, this is the time to see how compatible you are. You should feel an immediate rapport with your photographer and listen carefully as they explain their work.
Still, there’s nothing wrong with bringing a list of questions to ask. In fact, you should. Since you may not think of everything on the spot, this is something else you should plan in advance.
Some common questions to ask wedding photographers are:
- How far in advance do we need to book?
- Have you done many weddings similar in style and size?
- Do you use film, digital, or both?
- Are you familiar with our wedding venue?
- Can other guests take photos at the same time?
- What does your hourly rate or package fee include?
- How many final images should I expect to receive?
- Will we order prints from you or receive digital negatives to make our own?
This is far from an extensive list, and you’re sure to come up with plenty of questions on your own. Learn more here to make sure you don’t miss anything.
4. Examine the Contract (Carefully)
Every professional wedding photographer should offer a detailed contract for you both to sign.
Before signing, ensure you understand (and agree on) every detail of the contract.
Do you know exactly how much of a deposit to put down and when it’s due? Are you paying a set package fee or an hourly rate? Are there provisions in place for a refund or cancellation policy?
It’s also important to know exactly what you’ll receive as a final product. Will the photographer send you proofs or negatives so you can order your own photos? Or will they provide the final prints for you?
5. Go With Your Gut
More than anything else, go with your gut instinct.
No matter how popular or highly recommended a certain photographer is, they’re not the right choice for you if you don’t get along well.
It’s critical that your personalities jive and that you’re excited about their work. You should get a great vibe during the consultation and be happy with their communication style.
If not, it’s best to keep looking until you find a better match.
Ready to Meet With a Top Wedding Photographer Near You?
Your wedding day will be one of the most important days of your life. With a top wedding photographer, it will also become one of the most memorable days.
You only get one chance to capture your dream wedding photos, so choose your photographer carefully. Find someone whose work inspires you and who you click with on a personal level.
Also, be sure you understand and agree on all the details of the contract. The last thing you want is a major surprise–or a major disappointment–on your wedding day.
So before you schedule that all-important meeting, refer back to the list above. That way, you’ll know you’re as prepared as possible to meet your future wedding photographer.
Did you find this post helpful? Be sure to peruse our other wedding blogs for more great information.