Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Choosing wedding photographers to capture your big day is probably one of the top items on your wedding planning list. The photographer’s role is an important one, as he or she is responsible for conveying the feeling of that day and creating lasting keepsakes for you and your beloved to cherish for years to come. As you begin your search for a wedding photographer, consider these tips along the way.

1. Make a Match

When choosing a wedding photographer, you should consider each professional's style. Wedding photographers specialize in all different kinds of styles, so it's best to ask plenty of questions regarding their specialties. For instance, some photographers work best with environmental shots while others are great at capturing action and movement. Some shutterbugs may work exclusively with black and white film and others prefer color. Before you call around to schedule a consultation, determine what details are most important to you for what you would like your photographer to be able to do.

2. Wrangle up Referrals

A great way to find quality service providers is to ask around for referrals. This is also true for finding a wedding photographer. Contact friends and family to see who they’ve used for their wedding, and look through their photo albums to get a feel for the strengths and weaknesses of the photographers they hired. If you’re having trouble finding someone through word of mouth, use the Internet as a go-to source for discovering wedding photographers in your area. Most photographers have Web sites where clients can browse galleries of their work. If you like what you see, don’t hesitate to call and schedule a time to meet with the wedding photographer you desire.

3. Review Their Work

All photographers should have a portfolio of their work. Ask to see this when you schedule your visit. It's important to look at an entire body of work, as well as snapshots and single pictures to ensure the photographer's consistency.

Some things to look for when reviewing a wedding photographer's portfolio are:

  • Does he or she use good lighting?

  • Does he or she capture a variety of poses in each shot (sitting, standing, walking, etc.)

  • Are photos of professional-grade/quality?

  • Does each album convey a different theme and mood, or do they all look the same?

4. The Right Equipment

Brush up on your photography lingo to find out the type of equipment photographers use. Many photographers are discontinuing the use of film and turning to digital cameras, due to its on-the-spot viewing features and editing capabilities. However, there are wedding photographers who continue to use film as their tried and true format. If you choose a photographer who shoots in digital, ask if they are able to upload wedding photos to the Web so that your friends, family and other guests can browse your gallery online.

5. Price Points

The price of a seasoned wedding photographers can run you upwards of several thousand dollars. Prices typically include time spent shooting pictures at the wedding and/or reception, photo development, retouches and edits, and creating the wedding album. If you are working with a limited budget, ask about pricing of basic packages that include pictures from a standard shot list. Some wedding photographers work by the hour, so it's best to ask them to come only at designated times.

6. Before You Sign . . .

With any service agreement, there should be a written contract stating the services you are to receive, costs associated with services and all other important details. Your wedding photography contract should also state the time you would like the photographer to arrive at the desired locations, and addresses where the ceremony and reception will take place.

As you can see, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a wedding photographer. However, following these steps will keep you on track while searching for a wedding photographers to commemorate your wedding day.

To search for photography vendors in your area, see Photography and Video