10 things to consider when hiring a wedding photographer

Article by Naomi Shaw, find her on Twitter @NaomiJShaw

You have been dreaming about your wedding for a long time and you’ve imagined how perfect it will be; however, when the day actually arrives, it goes by in the blink of an eye.

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Though you wish that you could freeze-frame the day, it really is just that: a single day (albeit the most spectacular day of your life.) Capturing all of the details that you have worked so hard on planning and the special moments exchanged will keep the memory of your wedding day alive. For that reason, the photographer you hire is one of the most crucial decisions you will make.

Feeling overwhelmed about choosing a wedding photographer? Not sure who to go with? Here are 10 things to keep in mind that will help you select the perfect photographer for your wedding.

1. Choose a Style
Before you start looking for photographers, the first thing you need to do is decide what style of photography you like. Knowing what style you prefer will make selecting a photographer that much easier. There are three basic type of wedding day photography – traditional (mostly posed shots), photojournalistic (candid shots) and classic (a combination of posed and candid).

2. Set a Budget
Wedding photography can range in price from the low thousands to 10s of thousands of dollars. If you don’t set a budget, you could end up spending way more than you are comfortable with. Set a budget and stick to it as much as possible (and remember; cost isn’t a direct reflection of the work a photographer does.)

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3. Do Some Research
To find a photographer, you’re going to have to do some research. Start by asking friends for recommendations. You can also attend bridal showcases or do on the Internet for wedding photographers in your area.

4. Meet with Potential Candidates
Never book a photographer without meeting in person. During a consultation, you will be able to see examples of his/her work, you’ll be able to get a ‘feel’ for the photographer’s approach and personality, and you’ll be able to ask important questions (How long have you been in business? Are you available on our date? Will you have an assistant? Etc.)

5. Analyse Photos with a Keen Eye
Pay attention to the details when you are looking at samples of photographs. Look for those key moments that you want captured on your big day: Did the photographer capture the look of amazement on the grooms’ face during the reveal? Also, examine things like the quality of the images and the layout of the album.

6. Make Sure You Mesh
The photographer is going to be with you throughout the day, and the last thing you want is to spend the most special day of your life with someone who irritates you. Take note of photographers’ personalities and approach during consultations: Is he eager? Does she use a calm voice? Is he respectful? If you notice anything off-putting, walk away. You want a photographer who has social graces, yet isn’t afraid to take risks and speak up to get the perfect shot.

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7. Check References
References are just as important as samples; they tell you a lot about the photographer. Ask for names of past clients and contact them. Ask past clients how satisfied they were, if they were happy with the photos, if they would recommend the photographer, and so on.

8. Know Who You’re Working With
If the photo studio has more than one photographer, find out who is going to be shooting your wedding. While you may mesh well with the owner of the studio, you may not get along with the person who will be taking the pictures. Confirm who the shooter and any assistants will be and meet with them to ensure you will work well together.

9. Inquire About Packages
Find out exactly what is included in different packages, and how much the packages cost. You want to stick to your budget, so you don’t want to spend a few hundred more on a package that varies slightly from a less expensive package.

10. Are You Social Media Friendly?
If you want to share your wedding on social media, ask the photographer if he/she has experience taking photos that are social media friendly. For example, group shots that will be share-worthy, or imprinting your wedding hashtag on your save the date cards.

Your wedding photos will be the only tangible item that remains after the last dance is danced and once your gown is put away, which is why you want to make sure you choose a photographer you adore.

Images above from Wedding Upmarket retailers iZO Photography, Sarah Tonkin Photography and Jason Tey Photography.