Couples planning their wedding day celebration have a seemingly never ending supply of vendors and services to research, interview and ultimately select when planning the perfect event. One of the most important choices will be the hiring of a professional wedding photographer. With images being shared among the couple, family and close friends and pictures destined to spend a lifetime gracing walls and mantles, a professional photographer should be hired to capture the day’s celebrations. Couples should lend consideration to their budget, desired photography style, hiring logistics and a test run prior to selecting their chosen vendor. Below follow some helpful hints on how to hire a wedding photographer.
Prior to researching photographers, a couple needs to establish a working budget for their wedding photography. On average, a conservative estimate, by industry standard is 10% of the total wedding budget. While this number may seem high, please consider that aside from the wedding dress, few items will survive the actual wedding event than the photographs. Couples should be mindful of the old adage “you get what you pay for.” What may seem like a bargain up front, can result in heartbreak with the delivery of subpar photographic capture of the nuptials and reception. Alternatively, higher prices afford no guarantees either. Couples should look for a quality, professional vendor with experience who falls within the confines of the event budget and offers well-priced services and packages.
With an agreed upon budget, couples should begin searching for their chosen photographer or studio. Prior to searching for a vendor, pause and lend consideration to the images desired want from the wedding. What thoughts come to mind? Natural settings, capturing raw emotions, more traditional posed portraits or a combination of both? Couples should contract with a photographer who best aligns with their desired end product.
Couples will find contact information for photographers online, in wedding magazines, from the recommendations of friends and relatives and also at bridal shows. Professional wedding photographers are happy to share their portfolios of work with potential patrons. Prospective couples should spend time reviewing the collection of images to get a feel for the photographer’s work and look for a consistent standard of excellence. In the case of contracting with a studio, ensure the work presented is the photographer who will be assigned to your event. Depending on the size of your wedding, you may want to discuss the need for a second or assistant photographer with your vendor of choice. Most will be happy to discuss logistics and their professional assessment of need. Professional accreditations and awards are another great source of reference and recommendation for a prospective vendor.
After short-listing a group of potential vendors, call to schedule consultation appointments. During these interview sessions, you should discuss the availability of the vendor, your vision of the day, price, deposit and expected deliverables. An experienced photographer will likely have their own set of questions regarding logistics, location and bridal party specifics. If you find yourself interested in contracting for services, request a list of current references. In addition to references, checking with the Better Business Bureau can be an extra safeguard prior to depositing with a vendor.
In addition to the artistic talent of a wedding photographer, couples should look to engage a lively and personable individual. Weddings are complicated, fun yet occasionally stressful events and photographers need to be gifted at getting the desired end results from family and guests. To that end, the photographer should be adept at interacting with people, managing situations and working both conspicuously and unobtrusively to properly shoot an event from start to finish.
Test Run Engagement Session
Many couples will choose to opt for a test run with their chosen photographer with an engagement photograph session. A trial-run photo session allows a couple to work hands-on with their photographer under a relaxed professional setting and getting a glimpse at how their wedding day may play out. An engagement session can also be a fun escape from the monotony of wedding planning.
Using the aforementioned suggestions, couples will be well poised to hire the perfect professional wedding photographer for their celebration. Attention to detail when selecting a vendor, prior to the event, should lead to a lifetime of happiness with the end product. Couples should ensure they get everything in writing including contracted dates, hours of service and package details. A professional wedding photographer will ultimately provide couples with quality images designed to last a lifetime.
Roman Grinev has been a Washington DC Wedding Photographer for over 12 years His studio is environmentally friendly and carbon neutral, and has offices in Maryland and Virginia.