wedding photographer1Your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime event. It’s not every day you get to say I do to Mr. or Miss Perfect. Walking down the aisle, looking your soon-to-be-spouse in the eyes, and proclaiming your love along side of all the other people you care about is a big deal. Mostly likely, you’ll feel that it went by in the blink of an eye.

And that’s why it’s so important to hire the best photographer for your wedding needs. Having beautiful, quality photographs of your special day will allow you to remember it with clarity for years to come. Those extraordinary moments when you slip the rings on each other’s fingers, have your first kiss as husband and wife, and cut the wedding cake are memories that can be captured and displayed for life.

Here are some things to consider before hiring a photographer for your wedding:

Brainstorm and then Brainstorm Some More

Before you go hunting for photographers in your area, do your research. Go online and Google wedding photos. Find styles that you like and styles that you don’t. Don’t be afraid to print out examples so that when you do go out and start interviewing potential photographers you can show them your preferences instead of just trying to describe what you want. And make sure to do this way ahead of your wedding! You want to leave plenty of time to find the right person and fit them into your plans.

Shop Around and Interview

Make a list of potential photographers for your wedding and either visit their website or make an appointment with them. By doing so, you can see samples of their work and get an accurate assessment of what their style is and what they are capable of. You don’t have to commit to anyone off the bat; take your time considering and make sure that what they are offering is what you want. Many photographers are extremely busy and preferred to be booked a year in advance, so make sure they are free on your wedding day and prices are within your budget.

Preview Their Work

Always, always, always look at previous wedding shoots, not only single photos, but rather entire albums so that you aren’t just seeing the handpicked, best shots. This will this give you a sense of their ability and style, but also the quality of photos they take. Be critical. Did they capture all the right moments in the best way? If the pictures are grainy, taken with poor lighting, or their editing skills aren’t up to par, then you know it’s time to move on to the next one.

Ask Them Questions

  • What is your experience background? Did you receive any professional training?
  • Do you have a preferred style to shoot in? Artsy vs. Traditional?
  • What kind of equipment are you using?
  • What is your typical cost per hour? How many photos are taken per hour?
  • Do you offer any wedding package deals? Are you able to also shoot the rehearsal dinner? Bachelor/Bachelorette Party? Newlywed Photos?
  • Do you shoot with another photographer for more coverage? Would it be possible to have two different styles shot? One more traditional, one more behind the scenes?
  • What rights do I have to the photos? What are the photographer’s rights?

Tell Them What You Want

Many people have unique ideas that lead to fun photos. Make sure to discuss these with your photographer ahead of time to make sure they are on-board. It is better to plan ideas out then to surprise the photographer with them and have the photos not turn out. If you have moments you definitely want captured, make a list: the bride getting ready, the husband looking at his wife walking down the aisle, the couple praying together before the wedding, etc. Be specific.

Learn the Lingo

If you take the time to learn photography lingo, you can more accurately portray what you like.

  • Bokeh – When the front picture is focused, the background blurry
  • Matte – That vintage look with low contrast and muted colors
  • High Contrast – Vibrant, with colors that pop
  • Portraits – Think traditional. Classic poses in front of backdrops.
  • Documentary Style – These are unposed photos of both people and the surroundings. Often spontaneous and people aren’t necessarily looking at the camera

If You Aren’t Sure…

…then don’t commit. You have to like your photographer; you have to trust them because the memory of your wedding is in their hands. The better you get along, the better communication, and ultimately, the best photos you could ask for. And finally, don’t be afraid to set aside more money for the photographer and change your budget around. You probably won’t remember the expensive place settings years down the road, but you will be thankful that you have stunning photos to help you remember everything else.