Planning a Wedding – Choosing the Wedding Photographer

After setting the date, choosing the venue, deciding on the perfect dress; the next biggest decision is to choose the photographer that will document the most important day in your life. The photographer is a visual storyteller, documenting every detail of your day to become part of your family’s history forever. I can’t overstate how important it is to hire the right photographer.

Here are some questions you should ask any photographer you are interviewing to document your wedding day!

1. When should I book my wedding photographer? Try and book your wedding photographer at least 6 months before your wedding date.

2. What style of wedding photography are you looking for? Focus on what you love, after all, these memories will be with you forever. If you are looking for a more documentary-style wedding photographer – make sure you find someone who shares your vision. Regardless of your style, you should choose a photographer that will document the complete story of your wedding day.

3. Do I need to meet with the photographer before booking them as my wedding photographer? It is strongly recommended that you meet with the photographer before you sign the contract. The wedding photographer is with you every step of the way on your wedding day so it is very important to make sure that you like your photographer’s personality. A good photographer not only takes great pictures; but has handled a multitude of wedding day situations. They can be a calming force on a very hectic day Destination weddings are certainly popular, many brides and grooms flock to the Scottsdale area for the gorgeous scenery and amazing weather. Much of their planning centers around there computer, rendering it sometimes impossible to meet the photographer until the wedding day. If you can’t meet in person, make sure you have a few detailed phone calls – make sure there are no personality clashes!

4. What should be discussed at this meeting? By looking at a photographer’s website, you have a pretty good feel for who they are and what our vision is when photographing a wedding. Meeting in person allows you to touch the work for yourself, view the quality of the finished product. By meeting in person, you can see complete weddings, including proof books and real wedding albums. By viewing these items, you will see the consistency of the photographer telling their client’s wedding stories through photographs, from wedding to wedding. By viewing these samples, you will see whether or not the photographer delivers consistent pictures of the day, the entire day! It is very important to make sure that a wedding photographer is not just showing you his greatest hits collection on their website – you want to see several complete wedding stories – from beginning to end! Make sure the sample coverage a wedding photographer shows you is what you envision for your wedding coverage.

5. What should be discussed when interviewing my wedding photographer? budget, package overviews: what is included in the different packages, album prices, album choices, upgrades, add-ons, a la carte options. You will need to know a general timeline and provide details for the photographer to provide the most accurate quote for your wedding photography needs.

6. What should be included in the contract? The contract should reflect everything agreed upon during the meeting or phone discussion, leave no ambiguity. The contract should reflect the date of the wedding, package choice, the logistics of the wedding day such as where to report, how many hours are included, description of coverage and any other details you would like included. The contract will also reflect the deposit paid, balance due and refund/cancellation policies. The photographer should also include wording in the contract regarding ownership of the images. This is usually one of the more popular questions we are asked!

7. Once I sign the contract and give a deposit, what happens between that day and the wedding day? About one month before your wedding day the photographer should contact you to go over the details of the day – it is important that everyone be on the same page. We prefer to meet in person if time allows, if not, we can certainly go over these items in a 20-30 minute phone call. The photographer should ask for you to identify the key people in attendance and comment about any special stories that may make the images more poignant to the telling of your story. We try and gain as much knowledge as possible, including scouting the wedding location (assuming that is a practical option).

8. What will happen on the wedding day? You will look beautiful, have fun, marry the person of your dreams and we will document it!

9. What happens after the wedding? When should we expect to see the proofs? This varies from photographer to photographer. But industry standard is within a few weeks to a month after the wedding you should have access to your proofs. In this digital age, the first look is usually online in a password protected gallery. Usually, an album of your edited images (proof book) will be available after the online proofs, this of course depends on what you agreed in your contract. Album delivery time is dependent upon the timeliness of image selection and design verification – total time from that point is usually several months.

The most important thing to keep in mind when hiring your wedding photographer is that the images will be part of your family’s history forever – so please choose with your heart!