How To Hire A PhotographerThere have been many new innovations in the world of
photography over the past few years, that now you
really need to make some informed decisions as to
what type of photographs you want of your wedding.
Digital cameras have made some fabulous strides in
just the past 2 years and with the right
photographer, can make a major difference in the
beauty of the end results as well possible savings
to you. With film and digital photos, many
photographers offer on-line viewing of your proofs
as well as on-line ordering of the final prints. The
quality has increased also with higher resolutions,
computer enhancement, artistic talent and more.
While film is still incredibly beautiful, the choice
between that and digital is a personal preference of
both the photographer and you.
Do you want your pictures to be more on the formal
side, the candid, photo-journalistic or a
combination of these. There are so many new ways and
ideas out there that you really need to spend some
time with a number of professionals to be able to
decide exactly what suits you best. Here are some
overall suggestions that should help you get
1. Hire a professional. There are many affordable
professional wedding photographers out there. Watch
for the ones who have never done it. You can not do
this over so make a good choice.
First, decide some of the basics you will want.
Color? Black and White? Formal poses? a mix? more
photojournalistic? more artistic? Do you want the
Formal Album or just a proof book? Do you want the
negatives? Make up your mind to some of these so you
will understand what the photographers offer and do
they match your requirements. Remember, most true
professional photographers are artists and very
proud of their work.
2. Compare the prices between the photographers
package prices and ala carte pricing. One or the
other may work better for you. Find out before hand
if you take the a la carte plan, how much are the
reprints and enlargements?
3. The higher the cost, the better they are: NOT
NECESSARILY TRUE with any vendor. This is up to you
and what you are looking for. You may pay more for a
one style of photography over another. You may also
find you'll pay more for artistic pictures,
Infrared, special techniques and hand tinting. The
cheapest might not be your answer either. They may
not have the experience. Don't put your wedding in
the hands of someone who is not experienced.
Remember you can not re-shoot it later.
Rates: What you can expect to spend
Traditional - 150-200 proofs - $1400-$2000
Photojournalistic - 300+ proofs - $2000-6000 (These
are just examples, not written in stone)
Artistic - 300+ proofs - $3000 - 10,000
4. Do you want a female photographer (they come with
the woman's perspective of course) or a male
photographer? Women have made great strides in this
industry which was dominated by men. Man or woman it
doesn't really matter, what does matter is that you
like the person you are working with, you feel you
can trust them, and you are comfortable with them.
5. When viewing the portfolio: Do you like what you
see? Why would a photographer show something that
was not the best work? Every photographer should
furnish you with a standard portfolio. But what are
you going to get? Ask to see a complete wedding in a
real proof book. This will give you an idea of
really what to expect. A heads up: Not every image
is the perfect picture! and there is no photographer
who can guarantee picture perfect each and every
Do you see a variety in the portfolio? Is there a
mix of candid and formal portraits? What about
black and white? Infrared? Sepia? Hand Tinting? Do
they offer retouching of blemishes? What about
scanning to CD ROMs?
6. Meet the photographer. Many companies have
multiple photographers and it is important you get a
feel for the personality and work of the actual
person who will be there. You will also need to work
with the photographer on a plan for the day and a
time schedule. The photographer is your crucial
timing link between the end of the ceremony and your
arrival at the reception. You should find out if you
can adjust the amount of pictures taken so that your
schedule is maintained. Try to arrange for a number
of formal shots to be taken before the ceremony to
save time later.
7. Dress Code: I am always shocked when I see a
photographer dressed inappropriately for the
occasion. It is embarrassing!. If your wedding is
formal they should be formal as well, (or at least
wearing the same as the service). Men should always
wear a suit. Woman either black slacks and a button
down shirt (for formal they would match the caterers
or the guests).
8. Processing time: Now that you know a little more
about cameras and film, if the photographer tells
you 4-6 weeks that is very reasonable. Some 35mm
photographers can get the proofs to you in 3-4 weeks
depending on the lab. Digital Photographers may
provide a special website page for you to view all
the shots he took and may let you choose from those.
It generally takes between 3-7 days for the page to
be uploaded and made available to you.
9. The contract: Do you understand the payment
terms? When does the photographer require full
payment? What is their guarantee to deliver the
10. What happens if the photographer is sick?
11. What is the cancellation policy?
12. References: Get a few references from each
vendor you contact. When speaking with the
references remember they are regular people taking
time out to answer questions. Be courteous to them
and remember one day you may be a reference.
Your gut feeling about a person or photographer may
be your best guide. If you don't feel comfortable,
they probably are not the photographer for you. Move
on to the next on your list and be sure to ask the
same questions to use as a comparison.
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