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How To Select The Perfect Wedding Photographer

Guest Post By Stephanie Posner

A photographer can make your wedding a success or leave you wishing you’d eloped to some faraway destination.

Around six months prior to your ceremony, start compiling a list of potential photography studios. Ask family members and friends to suggest photographers, and thumb through wedding catalogs or look at online directories to locate additional options. Go to a bridal showcase and wedding expo in your area and pick up the photographer’s business cards to be able to view their online portfolio and have their number on hand.

After choosing three candidates to interview, write a list of questions that will help you discover their expertise, style and availability. Here are five questions you should ask each photographer to ensure you get the images you want.

How Much Experience Do You Have?

Each photographer should have a portfolio that highlights his or her experience and skills. By looking at edited and unedited photos, you can see how much a candidate will tweak the initial shot to get the dreamy, fairytale feel or crisp, modern edge you want. Is he familiar with your wedding venue? Can he capture small personal details of the wedding day? Whether you desire casual candids or formal portraits, your photographer must be able to meet your style needs.

How Much Does the Package Cost?

Price may determine whether or not you can hire your dream photographer. It’s important to understand the pricing and whether it’s possible to customize the package.

Typical charges include:

  • Hourly fee
  • Cost of materials
  • Photo editing and enlargements
  • An album of the prints
  • A high resolution CD with the negatives
  • Other optional services

When discussing price, find out when the photos will be ready to view and how you and your guests will order copies. Because photos may be one of the wedding gifts you receive, make sure the giver has an opportunity to ask questions of the photographer as well. All parties must understand exactly what is included in the package.

How are Photographs Taken?

A good photographer takes pictures without interrupting the events or pulling the couple away from their guests. Your photographer should know when to take shots, and include your special requests as well.

You’ll also want to find out how many photos the photographer will take and in what format. More photos equals a greater selection for your album, and digital photos often store and print better than those taken with traditional film. You’ll also want to know if the format is available for things other than your wedding album, such as Facebook or photo books to share with family and friends.

Who Takes the Pictures?

In large firms, you may have your choice of several photographers. Before signing the contract, meet your photographer and look at his or her portfolio before making your final decision.

Ask if the photographer will bring an assistant. A second cameraman can capture unique shots or different angles that might otherwise be left out of your album. While the cost may be higher, you will receive a greater quantity of pictures and a more diverse photo album.

What is in the Contract?

A written and signed contract locks in a price and the photographer of your choice, covers cancellation policies and details payment and photo rights. With a contract, you ensure your wedding day ends with quality photos that chronicle the experience.

Choosing a wedding photographer is an important step in the wedding planning process. It’s as important as registering for wedding gifts or buying the perfect dress. Asking these five important questions will help you hire the photographer that beautifully captures your once-in-a-lifetime moments.

About The Author ~ Stephanie Posner Stephanie writes about weddings and is a caterer for weddings and other anniversaries.
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