What to Look for When Selecting your Wedding Photographer

Helpful Tips for Selecting your Wedding Photographer

Okay, so your big day is a ways away - but you are starting your wedding planning early (way to go!). You're thinking about your wedding dress... (go to the Wedding Shoppe!)... your florist... your venue... your decor... your DJ and of course, your photographer. So, what things should you be looking for when your search begins for the person(s) who will be capturing one of the biggest days of your life?! Here is a little help from someone in the industry who has seen both the BEST and the worst in the fabulous world of photography. Here are the questions you should ask (and why):
  1. Do you offer custom packaging?

    • For the trendy/money-conscious Bride - custom packaging can be a great way to limit the cost of your wedding package and be sure to get exactly what you want for coverage on your big day!
  2. Do you offer *Shared Rights*?

    • Shared Rights give you and your future spouse the ability to make prints wherever and whenever you'd like, while also allowing your Photographer to use the images for his/her own promotional purposes. Grandma & Grandpa always ask for more prints later so might as well have the legal ability to print them when you want!
    • Not to mention - depending upon the photographer, prints can be very expensive! If you have shared rights, you can choose where you print the images for must less cost to you.
  3. Will I receive a DVD or CD of my images?

    • It is my theory that your wedding day belongs to you in its entirety. For that reason, I offer all of my clients a complete DVD of ALL images captured throughout the day - edited and high-resolution images. If a photographer does not include a DVD, or the ability to purchase one - you will be paying in the end for those images through the photographer rather than on your own.
    • You may also be able to purchase a DVD/CD from your photographer at an additional charge - be sure to add this in to your budget!
  4. When can I expect my images will be complete and back to me?

    • Average turn around for a wedding package, in my experience is around 1-3 months. It is not unusual for photographers to take some extra time in getting your images back to you, however be sure to be clear with them what the time-frame is so you are not waiting forever... and ever.
  5. Are you a registered business, LLC, etc?

    • This is not always an absolute must, however - it is nice to know that who you are paying to take your photos is operating legally! You should always be making payments to the photographer's business rather than them themselves.
  6. Do you charge for travel?

    • Don't be fooled by low package costs! If you don't live in the immediate area where the photographer operates, there may be fees attached to your package that are not expressed clearly. Be sure to ask what the travel charge is in addition to the package price for your own budgeting needs. Many photographers, like myself, will only charge for extra mileage outside the Metro area!
  7. Will I be ordering my photos through you or can I go somewhere else?

    • This point kind of goes back to #3. It is important to understand, however, how much prints and 'Thank You' cards will cost you though before you book with a photographer.
  8. What exactly does your package include? How many photographers? Prints? Editing?

    • Yes, this is a loaded question, but perhaps the most important. You need to know exactly what you're getting from your photographer before you book. Some packages will include prints, some will include minor editing (some wont!) and some will include only one photographer. Be sure to specify what your needs are for your big day! It helps us! :)
  9. Will I be able to view my photos soon after my wedding? If so, how?

    • It is a common practice for professional photographers to have a website, blogsite or viewing gallery available for their clients and their friends/family to view their prints soon after their session. Isn't it nice to see your prints as soon as possible?! Galleries can be posted to Facebook pages or even have their own dedicated site so be sure to ask where you will be able to view your photos soon after your wedding.
  10. How many images will you edit?

    • Check out my last post about editing styles to create a dialogue with your photographer regarding what you like and don't like. Then be sure to understand just how much editing you will be getting for your buck! All other images should be high-resolution images that are ready to be printed with minimal adjustments.
  11. Do you have references that I can contact?

    • Definitely do your research. Scour wedding boards on various Wedding websites such as Wedding Wire, TheKnot.com and of course My Wedding Chat for reviews of vendors but also ask your photographer for names to contact regarding their experience with him/her.
  12. How long have your been shooting, professionally?

    • Now, some photographers will say they have been "capturing images" for 10+ years but what you don't know is that truly that could mean since they could hold a camera and snap a picture. You want to know when their "first professional wedding session" took place. This is a truer indicator of just how long a person has been photographing *weddings* specifically.
Well, I hope this helps! If you have any questions - feel free to shoot me an email at thelcphotography@gmail.com. I would love to hear from ya! As always... DREAM BIG and enjoy your Wedding planning. Cheers! LC For more information on wedding photography and expert wedding planning advice, check out My Wedding Chat.

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