Meet With Them
You want to build a rapport and a friendship with your photographer. You want to feel comfortable and at ease around them. What’s more, they’ll want to feel at ease around you as it’ll make their job easier and produce better photos. There’s no obligation to agree to anything when you meet with a wedding photographer, so have a coffee with them and see if you like them. If you don’t click, keep meeting others until you find one you bond with.
Pick a Photographer
Let me explain. A pet peeve of mine is a self-titled ‘wedding photographer’. These are the ones who only pick up their camera a couple of times a year when someone is paying them to do so. A true wedding photographer should be a passionate photographer at heart. They should use their camera daily in all areas of their life. This is what makes a great wedding photographer. Ask if they have a portfolio showcasing some of their other work. Or, get on the internet and do some research on them.
Check the Paperwork
What are you signing? What does your money get you? Check what photos you’re entitled to after the big day. Do you have access to all the original and high-resolution images he/she has taken, or do you need to fork out another sum of money in order to get them?
It is common practice for wedding photographers to upsell the photos after the event, so make sure you check if you’re paying for just their service on the day, or the photos too. Also, check when you’re expected to receive your photos. This can vary normally between one and three months depending on the photographer.
What do you get for your money?
The contract you sign should detail exactly what you’re getting for your hard-earned cash – and this should have been agreed upon beforehand. There should be no doubts or questions in your mind. Consider the following, for example…
- Are they arriving when the bride arrives or do they arrive early in order to capture the bride and bridesmaid’s preparations?
- When do they leave? Is it after the first dance or do they stay late in to the evening? Is this determined by a set time or by the wedding schedule?
- Ask your photographer if they edit and tweak the photos. Top photographers will spend time removing blemishes, enhancing features, adding effects such as black and white etc prior to presenting you with the photos. If they state they just send you the raw unedited files, walk away.
Once you’ve found a photographer you like, they should take it upon themselves to visit the venue at least once (either with or without you) in order to look around and scope the location. This means they’ll be familiar with their surroundings on the wedding day.
Of all the points discussed here, the most important one, in my eyes, is the quality of the photography. This is the product you’re paying for. I can’t stress enough the importance of the ‘wow factor’. It may sound cliché, but there is a pool of truly amazing photographers out there. Too often it’s the photographer on page one of Google which gets chosen. Quite often, they’re there because they’ve paid to be, not because they deserve to be.
Author – Oliver Pohlmann
Photography – SO Wedding Photography