Sure, today’s affordable digital cameras can make anyone seem like a good photographer. But there’s a lot more to getting the wedding photos you want and deserve than just pointing and shooting. After this most important and special of days, it will be your wedding albums and pictures that you turn to time and again to remember and cherish those once-in-a-lifetime moments. Choose your photographer as carefully as you’ve planned every other detail of your wedding, and you’ll still be enjoying those images years from now.
To help, we’ve put together a list of ten critical aspects of wedding photography you should know and understand, along with some of the most important questions you should ask prospective photographers to help you make your final decision.
Do you have samples of your work I can see? Do you have a completed product exactly like we will receive that shows us one wedding from start to finish? Is this sample from the actual photographer who will be at my wedding or someone else on your staff?
What steps do you take to protect my wedding photographs and how long do you archive them? Can I come back in 5 or 10 years and get more photographs or replace my album if something happens to it?
Do you use professional-quality cameras capable of capturing great images in all lighting conditions, or do you use consumer-level cameras? Do you have backup equipment if something happens to your camera or lights? Can I have black-and-white photographs or can you add special effects if I want to? Do you bring additional lighting equipment if it is needed?
Will I be working with you or someone else on your staff? Do you work with an assistant? What is the process for reviewing, selecting and editing the final images for the album, enlargements and print sets?
In what format do you deliver the proofs? What is included in the price? What additional options or products are available and how much extra for those items?
What is the maximum amount of time I will wait to see proofs? Once I’ve selected my pictures, how long will it take for final delivery of all printed products?
Do you print the photos yourself or do you use a professional lab or a consumer hobbyist photofinisher like one of the big box stores? Are the images guaranteed against fading for my lifetime or beyond?
What is your artistic style? Do you shoot traditional poses, or have a more photojournalistic approach, or is it mixed? Do you like to shoot in the studio or at different locations, as well as on the wedding day? Can I see examples of an entire wedding day shoot to see how you might tell a wedding day “story”?
How long have you been photographing weddings? How long have you been in business? Can you provide references? Can I view some of your albums? How do you manage distracted or uncooperative subjects or guests?
And perhaps the most important thing you need to discuss with your photographer …
How do you ensure my satisfaction? What are your backup plans in the event you’re late or called away by an emergency? What happens if there’s an equipment failure, or some other unforeseen issue? Do you carry liability insurance? Can I get all of the points we’ve covered in a written contractual agreement?
Do not take “no” for an answer to that last question! A written contract signed by all parties protects you and the photographer, and does more to ensure your wedding photo bliss than any other action or decision you can make.
Professional photographers have unique skills and training in the artistry, as well as the technology, of creating beautiful wedding images that reflect exactly the image you want to portray. And wonderful wedding photography goes beyond the actual shoot itself to the products you’ll want to own. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure your photographer is well-versed in creating and delivering the total package that will make you happy long after your big day is over.
We recommend interviewing multiple photographers—and don’t forget, chemistry is important as well. Your photographer will spend this most important day in very close contact with you, your wedding party and your guests, so make sure you interview several photographers and after you’re satisfied that all of the above is in order, pick someone who you will want to share in your wedding day