How To: Hire a Wedding Photographer

Okay, we’re not trying to pile on the pressure, but we’re going to be honest with you – choosing your wedding photographer is a huge deal!  Here are some things that may help you pick the right person to capture your big day:

1. Research

As with any other aspect of wedding planning, it’s important to do research ahead of time. If a friend of yours has already tied the knot, ask to see pictures from the wedding and see if he/she has a business card.

TIP: Ask family and friends for referrals.

TIP: While your sister may have 1,000 Instagram followers and a Nikon, unless she’s shot a wedding, you definitely want to leave it to the professionals.  If you have someone (that isn’t a professional) offering their services, ask them to take pictures of the rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, etc. instead.

2. Set Up an Appointment

The best way to see if a photographer is right for you is to set up a meeting.

TIP:  This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure to set up an appointment with the actual photographer you’re interested in.  Photography Studios that employ numerous photographers may schedule your appointment with their appointments manager/coordinator/etc.

3. Get to know him/her

Again, this might seem obvious, but it’s good to get to know a little more about your photographer before you sign anything.  Here are some sample questions you may want to ask:

  • Why do you like to shoot weddings?
  • How would you describe your photography/work style?
  • Will you be shooting in:
    • Digital/film
    • Black and white/color/both
  • Do you provide your own equipment?  If not, you’re definitely going to want to ask what you’ll need to provide, an estimate of how much it will cost, etc.
  • Do you work from an established shot list?  Are we permitted to provide you with a list of photos we would like to be taken?
  • Have you shot at this venue before?

TIP:  While Pinterest is great for inspiration, don’t get too hung up on having everything you’ve pinned be part of your big day.  Trust that your photographer will capture your precious moments in a way that’s unique to you.  

3. Logistics

Find out exactly how things are going to shake out on the big day.

  • Does the package you’ve selected include an assistant?
    • If there is no assistant, it’s your call whether or not you would like to pay for one.
    • If there is an assistant, has he/she worked with him/her before?
    • How do they work together as a team?
  • If your photographer should become ill, or be unable to attend the event, is there someone who can provide adequate coverage?
  • Is your photographer shooting other weddings that day/weekend?  This may affect your photographer’s focus and is an important question to ask – expecially if he/she is shooting another wedding that same day!

4. Dollars and Cents

Most photography studios have wedding packages that you can choose from, but it’s always good to ask about any other costs that may be involved.

  • If your photographer has to travel for your wedding, who covers those costs?
  • Are there photography packages that you can choose from?  Would they be willing to design a package specifically for your wedding’s needs?
  • If you haven’t already taken engagement photos, will you be able to add those on for an additional cost?
  • Are there photo booth options?  (If not, check out this awesome photo booth alternative!)
  • Do they offer help with harvesting your photos from a preferred hashtag or other social media?
  • Are retouching, color correction, and other photo alterations included in the package?
  • If your event runs over, what is the additional charge per hour?  This is an extremely important question to ask.  In addition, it’s important to let your photographer know if you would like him/her to stay if you run over so that he/she doesn’t just pack up and leave.

5. Privacy

Since everyone shares everything these days, ask your photographer for the 411 when it comes to sharing your photos.

  • Does the photography studio have restrictions when it comes to sharing your photos on your personal social media outlets?  Do you own your photos or does the photography studio/photographer?
  • Will the photography studio/photographer be submitting your photos for entry into magazines, photo contests, blogs, etc.?
  • Is their copyright policy negotiable?

6. Getting the photos

We know patience is a virtue, but you can’t tell us you’re not super excited to see your wedding photos!  Make sure to ask your photographer:

  • How long after the wedding can you expect to receive your wedding photos?
  • How will the photos be given to you: CD, prints, USB, online?
  • How long will it take to process ordered prints and albums?  Can family and friends place orders for albums?
  • What happens to the negatives?  Is there an additional fee to receive them?

7. The Fine Print

  • Make sure to read your contract thoroughly.  If there is no contract offered, it is in your best interest to ask for one outlining the agreement of services, copyright/release, payment information (deposit, payment plan, when final payment is due, etc.), cancellation policy, termination, etc.
  • Confirm the cancellation policy
  • Confirm the amount of your deposit (make sure to get a receipt!), payment plan (if you have one), when final payment is due, and other pertinent information.
  • Confirm whether or not your photographer/photography studio has liability insurance.

TIP: Ask your photography studio/photographer exactly what they will need from you on the day of the wedding IN ADVANCE so you aren’t running around last minute.

We wish you the best when it comes to choosing a photographer!  If you still need some wedding photography, check out our Pinterest board for must-have wedding day shots.

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