Choosing your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions that you are going to make regarding your wedding! Your photos will be the only true memory of your special day so they need to be incredible. Below Wiki brings up some important points when choosing your photographer and I have added some of my own comments and suggestions in Italic.
1: Decide what style of wedding photography you prefer. Are you looking for a traditional approach with mostly posed images? Or do you prefer lots of candid shots in which the subject may not even know he or she is being photographed? Do you like the glamour approach of fashion photography? Would you prefer a photographer who combines all of these styles (a freestyle or eclectic wedding photographer)? To begin with make sure that you choose photographers who’s images you actually like. You would not believe how often we are shown images from other photographers and are asked to shoot like them. That’s like going into a fine dining restaurant and asking for a Big Mac! While we might all love a Big Mac it does not mean that we can or will do it. Our individual styles are developed over years of practice and we all have our own recipes for processing our images. Pinterest is great for inspiration but it’s a much better idea to select images that you love by the photographers you are looking at.
2: Decide what level of service you want from your wedding photographer.Perhaps you only need photographs of your ceremony so having just 1-3 hours of photography may be enough for you. Other couples may prefer a complete package that may include a pre-wedding engagement sessions, rehearsal dinner photographs, bridal portraits and newlywed photos. A lot of photographers have a 5 hour minimum. Make sure you ask to see their pricing and packages before you go any further.
3: Decide how many images you would like from your wedding celebration(s).Some photographers may provide you with under 100 images to remember your wedding day by. Higher-end photographers often capture hundreds of images (generally from 500 to 800) for you to keep forever. My 1 hour package will give you around 150 to 200 images and my 5 hour package will give you around 600 images. You will need around 50 to 60 for an album and a few more to hang on the wall. More than 600 can be very overwhelming and in all honesty you will never use them.
4: Figure out how much time and expertise you have to process your images yourself. Many brides who choose photographers that only give them a disc of their images (no album, prints or other items) find that they lack the time, software or knowledge to create their own albums, properly edit the photos (crop, color correct, etc.). Often, years later, these couples just have a stack of dusty, cheaply processed proof photos or photos on a disc that are not being lovingly displayed as a reminder of the wedding day. I offer gorgeous wedding albums covered in natural linen that start at $790. Most couples spend between $890 to $2300 on albums so keep this in mind when deciding your budget for photography. You can also add these on after the wedding and many couples come back to use some of the gift money they received from guests to have an album made.
5: Determine your Budget. Photographer fees, prints, albums, etc. generally come to approximately 12% of the entire wedding budget. This will allow you to quickly discard candidates which you cannot afford. Photographers charge according to the equipment they use the time and work that they put into editing the images and their overheads. Be very weary of budget photographers! If it sounds to good to begin with it usually is and you will end up paying for it in the long run. So many times I have had couples come back saying they wish they had of booked me for their wedding and just as a note “No I can not fix another photographers dodgy images”.
6: Decide how you will use your pictures. Do you plan to purchase just an album for yourself, or also pictures for your walls, prints to give to friends and family, or even put the images on stationery, invitations, calendars, mugs, T-shirts, and magnets? I would LOVE to encourage every couple to purchase an album or at least a photo book with their package. Every Bride has wonderful plans to print their photos and have a book made. The reality is that the USB of images remains gathering dust with “one day” I will have them printed intentions. Life is busy! Don’t wait for “one day”.
7: Determine what form of your pictures you will want from your photographer. Just purchasing the prints is sometimes economical if you do not want an album. If you expect to need a large number of prints, it may be better (and faster) to purchase the negatives from your photographer and have the copies made privately, at your leisure. If you plan to use the images in numerous creative ways, or want to post them to a website or include them in a screen saver, you will probably want to receive the digital photo files directly from your photographer via the Internet or on a CD-ROM. All of my packages include the high resolution files on a USB. You are then able to have your own prints done as you wish. There are no on going or continuing charges.
8: Research photographers. Ask your friends, inquire at bridal shops and with the management of the ceremony and reception sites you have chosen. Also browse bridal websites for information and links to photographers that work in your area. Most of my couples are through recommendations both from past couples and via other wedding professionals. Noosa is a very tight knit community and we have a wonderful group of wedding professionals and we all work closely together.
9: Make a list of photographers which seem to fit your criteria for price and available format.
10: Research each of the photographers on your list: look at samples of their work on the Internet, ask for and call their references, and check their standing with the Better Business Bureau.
11: Remove from your list any individuals with less-than-stellar records, weak references, or a style that you dislike. If you don’t like a photographers style then there is absolutely no reason at all why you should be considering them.
12: Interview each remaining candidate on your list by phone. Make sure to if they are available on your chosen date, how much experience they have, whether they specialize in weddings, how soon after the wedding you can expect your prints or disk, and how long they keep the negatives. Due to the attention and time that I put into every single image you can expect to receive your USB around 4 weeks after the wedding. Books and albums take longer. If a photographer says that you can have your images immediately it means that they are not editing your photos. I do all of the main editing in Light Room and then the finer editing in Photoshop.
13: When interviewing make sure to ask questions about liability insurance, sales tax, do they have a back up camera/gear? I shoot with 2 Canon 5D Mk3 cameras and a Contax 645. I always have spare batteries and CF cards to guarantee that all will be fine on the day.
14: Remove from your list any candidate which does not conform to your preferences or is not available on your chosen date. Really Wiki? If they are not available on your chosen date then I think it’s a really good idea to remove them from your list, unless you want to change your wedding date.
15: Make appointments and meet with each finalist face to face. Go to these meetings with your spouse-to-be if possible. Look at samples of their work, get a brochure with details about wedding packages, ask for a copy of their standard shot list (if they use a shot list which most experienced wedding photographers do not as they have well-memorized all the shots they need to get), and ask questions . Notice how polite they are. Ask yourself, “Is this someone I will want to be around when I am stressed, exhausted, dehydrated, overheated, and ready to faint in those uncomfortable shoes?” You will know straight away when you have found the right person to share in your special day. Always trust your instincts and then you can sit back and relax knowing that everything is going to be perfect.
16: Discuss with your spouse-to-be all the photographers you visited. Spend time together comparing the packages available from the photographers you BOTH like. Decide which photographer and package best fits your needs and expectations.
17: As with any major decision, sleep on it.
18: Call your chosen photographer and ask them to pencil you in on their calendar until you can come back to sign the contract. Make an appointment to sign the contract.
19: Confirm, confirm, confirm! This is the golden rule of wedding planning. Remember: your wedding is more important to you and your spouse-to-be than to anyone else. As such, you must confirm appointments, plans, reservations, etc., several times—Once at contract signing, a second time 3-6 months before the event, and again 1-2 weeks before, at which time last minute details, changes, and requests can be worked out. When you have decided you would love for me to photograph your gorgeous wedding I will send out a booking form and contract followed by an invoice for the booking fee. Once these have been received we will discuss your plans and ideas and draw up a time plan to suit your requirements. I like to keep in regular contact to hear how your plans are progressing and I am always on hand to answer any questions that arise. Your final payment is due 4 weeks before the wedding and it is around this time that we finalize all of the details.
I would so love to share in your special day and I can;t wait to hear from you.
Lindy Yewen Photography