wedding photography packages

How to choose your wedding photographer

Wedding pictures are a cherished keepsake, passed down through generations, and the only commemoration of the thousands of hours and dollars spent to plan one of the most important days of your life. Other than the choice of a spouse, the choice of the wedding photographer is the most important wedding-related decision you will make, and is not to be taken lightly. Following these steps can help you select the best photographer to record your Big Day:

Are you looking for a traditional approach with mostly posed images? Or do you prefer lots of candid shots in which the subject may not even know he or she is being photographed? Do you like the glamour approach of fashion photography? Would you prefer a photographer who combines all of these styles (a freestyle or eclectic wedding photographer)?

  • Determine your Budget.

Photographer fees, prints, albums, etc. generally come to approximately 12% of the entire wedding budget. This will allow you to quickly discard candidates which you cannot afford.

  • Look for a Plan Within Your Budget

It is absolutely frustrating to fall in love with a photographer’s portfolio and then find out her base package has several more zeros involved than what you can afford. When you start looking for a wedding photographer, look at the prices right away. If you find that you are having trouble locating any photographers within your price range you may need to consider a reevaluation of your budget allocations or consider wedding photography alternatives.

  • Review the Portfolio

The Internet has made this step so much easier. Review the portfolios of photographers within your budget and narrow down your choices further based on styles you like. Remember that the portfolio the photographer shows you is the best case scenario. Not all of your images (or even any) will turn out exactly like the images in the portfolio.

  • Check the BBB

Before you even talk to the photographer, check with the Better Business Bureau. A single complaint is not a reason to eliminate the photographer but a string of similar complaints would be a red flag. Look at time in business, number of complaints, types of complaints, and resolutions.

  • Meet the Photographer

Now it is time to meet the photographer in person. Set up an interview meeting to see more portfolio images, review package options, and get references of previous couples that you can talk to about the photographer. Our Weddings Guide, Nina Callaway, has a good list of questions you can ask the photographer during this interview. I would also suggest asking if the photographer has shot at your location before. You’ll also want to make sure the photographer is actually available on your wedding date. Remember that you are interviewing the photographer. If the photographer makes you uncomfortable in any way, he probably isn’t a good fit for your wedding.

  • Compare Contracts

After you have met several wedding photographers checked all the references you’ll want to review the contracts. Some photographers have much more lenient cancellation policies than others. Also, deposits and usage rights vary.

  • Finalization Meeting

By this time you hopefully have your choices narrowed down to a preferred wedding photographer and one or two alternates. Now is the time for a meeting to finalize details and sign contracts with your preferred photographer. Remember that if something feels wrong it likely is wrong. If your instincts are telling you a particular choice is a bad idea, listen to those instincts. Even if nothing is actually wrong, your worries will interfere with your happiness on your big day.

Following these simple steps will ensure you hire the photographer to meet your needs and receive a wedding album to treasure for years to come. Please do your research well so your special day isn’t ruined by someone that is not up to the challenge.

If you know everything you need to know and are ready to book your date with Camera Loves Me Photography, follow the link here.