Thinking about hiring a wedding photographer for the big day?
There are so many incredible photographers out there that searching for your perfect match can be time-consuming and overwhelming.
Here are some things to consider and questions to ask to help you find a reliable person who will make these memories shine.
Referrals Can Work Wonders
Word of mouth these days extends through so many different digital networks, as well as in-person.
No doubt there is someone in your friends and family who has used a wedding photographer that they were over-the-moon impressed with — it’s always a good place to start.
Also, consider checking with:
- Relevant businesses in your neighborhood
- Acquaintances and work colleagues
- Social media groups
- Organizations or clubs you belong to
- Wedding discussion forums
- Local review websites and directories
Of course, don’t believe everything you read online — sometimes reviews can be rigged. The more trustworthy the source, the better.
And if you find someone you aren’t connected to by a friend, you can always ask for references.
Questions to Ask Your Prospective Wedding Photographer
Here are some questions you can ask during the discovery process:
- How many weddings have you photographed?
- What is your budget range?
- Can you share your process with me?
- What do you do about backup planning?
- How far are you willing to travel?
- Can you tell me about business licensing specifics?
- Do you have insurance?
- What is your shooting style?
- Do you have another photography specialty that isn’t featured in this portfolio (eg: babies, portraits, etc)?
- What might cause you to tack on extra fees?
- How do you organize a second shooter?
- How does a refund or cancellation work?
Be Clear About Availability
Obviously, your photographer needs to be available on the day-of, but what happens if they can’t make it? Do they have a backup? Do they bring an assistant or even send a different person?
Another thing to consider is location — maybe you’re thinking about going somewhere different to get married — would they be able to make it?
And if you want shots at times other than the ceremony, definitely check whether or not they are able to attend other events like the rehearsal dinner or reception.
Be completely clear about what you are getting and if you are going minimalist and only having someone for the ceremony, get clear about hourly versus day rates.
Be Firm with Your Budget
According to weddingwire.ca, the average Canadian wedding today costs around $30,000.
A professional wedding photographer will likely charge around $3000 or more, and an appropriate estimate is to spend about 10% of your budget on a photographer.
Ask them what’s included in their rates and whether they have customizable packages.
Some might offer, for instance:
- Drone photography
- Albums versus framed sets
- Digital prints versus hard copies
- A bare-bones type of service which will help you save money
- Add-on services like extra prints you can order later
Maybe you don’t need anything overly fancy, and you can find someone who is just starting out but has a fantastic portfolio who is a little more budget-friendly.
On the flipside, specialty services like drones or night lighting might make for some spectacular shots.
Business Type and Approach
A great wedding photographer should be very upfront with their overall style and approach. Is it more casual, formal? Are they a freelancer or are they subcontracted by an agency?
There are a lot of business and logistical details that could play a part in your overall experience. Be sure to check about logistics like deposit, contracts, timeline, insurance, and the type of equipment they have. You may also want to ask about dress code and behavior, as the wedding photographer will likely be another guest.
Many people also want to know if they can ask for specific types of shots — most photographers will do their best but keep in mind you will not be able to get “exactly” what you want all the time If you have some very specific shots you want to request, consider inviting them to a dress rehearsal or ask if they have a portrait studio rather than having to work around the commotion of the big day.
Check also about how they plan to use your photos for marketing — who has the rights, is it okay for them to use it in their own portfolio, etc.
Find Someone Who Helps You Create a Fantastic Day
We’ve all heard stories about photos coming out badly or worse not at all. How do you know who to trust to capture these amazing memories in just the right way?
Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a few choices who fit the above criteria, your choice of wedding photographer may just boil down to a feeling, so don’t be afraid to go with your gut.
Hire a professional photographer for your wedding photos today!
Are you looking for a passionate photographer who is dedicated to providing you with great photos that bring your special day to life? Whether you are planning a wedding, need a professional headshot taken, or more, I’m here to help! I have the experience to help you bring any special event to life. You can view my work here.
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