Monday, May 01, 2006

Choosing Your Photographer

Choosing your wedding photographer can be a daunting task. Between pricing and quality and style, it is tough to know which to choose.

First, interview several photographers to get a feeling for them and how they work. There are several different types of photographers: photo journalistic, portrait photographers...etc. If you are looking for someone who does the fun, different poses (think all the groomsmen blowing kisses to the bridesmaids kind of photo) you would definitely want to stay away from someone who is a photojournalist. That photographer will blend into your wedding, take the important shots and usually gets great candids, but may not do as well with the posed shots. Be sure to express what you want and what you are looking for, and consider not hiring someone who doesn't seem to have your best interests at heart.

Read through contracts carefully. Know exactly what your "package" includes, how much reprints are and what your rights are to your photographs. It used to be fairly common that a photographer would keep the negatives and they would be copyrighted. Today's photographers, particularly with the increasing age of digital, do not do this as much. Now, you can purchase the CDs with all of your wedding photos, and in some cases the CDs are part of your package.

A good contract should also state exactly who will be taking your photos (some companies have more than one photographer and send whoever is be sure to see their work as well), how much they charge for going over the stated contract hours, how long you should expect to wait for your proofs and albums.

If price is of a consideration (and it usually is) be upfront with someone you are calling or e-mailing and let them know your budget and if they can/do work within that range. Try not to set-up an appointment blindly, because you don't want to fall in love with a particular photographers work only to find out he/she is outside your price range. If you are considering asking a family friend who's hobby it is taking photos, be sure they are equipped to take photos in all kinds of venues, be it outside in bright sunshine or inside with candlelight. There's nothing worse than getting your photographs back and realizing they are either washed out or too grainy because the person didn't know how to adjust for different lighting. If you do ask a family friend or member, appoint a couple of people to take photos for you. This increases your chances of getting those perfect keepsake photos.

A great place to see many photographers at once is to attend a bridal show. While things can get a little noisy, it is still a great place to see albums and talk with the photographers without going through the hassle of setting up several appointments. Usually, they will have plenty of information to send you home with in the event that you would like to talk to them at a later date.

In the end, go with your gut feeling. If there is anything at all that makes you uncomfortable about the person you are considering to take the photos for one of the most important events in your life, keep looking! Your perfect wedding photographer is out there. Just be patient (after all, you tried on how many dresses before finding the perfect one...?).

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