For Brides trying to pick a photographer, I know how frustrating it can be! I once was in your shoes. I thought I would share some information I have learned on how to choose a photographer that is right for you!
First you have to take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves and dive into the photography world! It really is not as frustrating as it seems. There are a few things you should know before you start looking.
1. If quality is what you are seeking in a photographer expect to pay for it. You get what you pay for.
Every married woman I have talked to that went the cheap route (aka rookie photographer or uncle Bob who has a nice camera but is not a professional) has said to me the wish they had paid the extra money to hire a professional because everytime they look at their photos they want to cry, and not the good cry.
2. A professional photographer will have a portfolio (book and website) for you to view. View it!! You can also ask to view images from other shoots, not just weddings.
3. A professional photographer will have a professional quality camera AND a backup camera. The last thing you as a bride needs is for your photographer's camera to break halfway through YOUR wedding and then they cannot capture the remainder.
4. Ask the photographer to show you an ENTIRE wedding, not just the highlights. You will see the quality of wedding YOU will get by viewing one entire wedding from start to finish. Any photographer, professional or rookie can get a few great shots, but only a good professional will get you hundreds of amazing, breathtaking images to have for the rest of your life.
5. Look at the photographers style, does it fit you? Can you see your personality being shown through their style? If not, move on. Every photographer has a style and personal flare to their images, make sure it fits with you or else you will look back at your photos and wish for more.
6. Okay, so what is your budget for your entire wedding? How much of that have you set aside for a photographer? When I got married I knew I wanted a professional so I made sure to set aside enough money for one. Since the photographs and or video will be the only things that can actually capture the most important day of your life, be sure to plan on paying for it. It is TOTALLY worth it!
7. Take recommendations from your friends and family but don't book blindly! Make sure you meet with the photographer, look at their portfolio book and website, go over what they are going to offer you, look at the contract (PLEASE read it all the way through before you sign and or give them money), and what the cost is.
8. If you have questions about what you are getting for the money you are paying ask it BEFORE you sign! The worst thing for you AND your photographer is thinking that you are on the same page when you are not. That is why it is important to read the contract and all of their e-mails. I make sure to tell my clients EVERYTHING before they book with me but sometimes I have gotten a client that does not read the correspondance and then the day of the wedding they are upset that they are not getting something they thought they were, even though I told them in the contract and e-mails. READ IT and ASK!
9. Is the photographer legal? I mean, are the a legal business? Do they pay taxes? Do they have a business license? Do they have insurance? These are important factors. I have a friend photographer that mentioned liability insurance and how if -heaven forbid- something goes wrong, say a memory card was stollen or destroyed in a fire, the liability insurance your photographer has will pay to recreate your entire wedding! Also, if your photographer does not pay taxes they run the risk of being shut down. Wouldn't you hate to pay your photographer and then they are shut down for tax freud and then you are out a photographer AND the money for one.
10. Finally, make sure you click with your photographer! Personality clashes can make for an even more stressful day. Make sure you like your photographer, that you can call them a friend after it is all said and done. If you like your photographer then your wedding day will run smoother. Your photographer should be able to calm you down and help you solve issues one your day, I mean, they are with you the entire day, make sure you get along!
I hope this post helps! If you can think of anything else please leave a comment! :) Happy hunting!