Part 2 of the “Booking the Right Wedding Vendors” mini-series is in! Check out Part 1, which covers tips to choosing your dream wedding venue, here. Like with considering different venue options, there is a lot of decision-making involved with choosing a wedding photographer. And trust me, this is not something you want to mess around with!
Whoever you decide to hire has the very important responsibility of capturing one of the most significant moments of your life, so it’s not a coincidence in the Wedding Planning Checklist I created (you can find it here to help you prioritize your to-dos after you get engaged).
Choosing your photographer is the next big item you should tend to after nailing down your venue (some people actually choose their photographer first if they are undecided on the venue and pick their venue based on the photographer’s availability).
You may be thinking, “Why do I need to book a photographer so soon? There are so many options out there!”
While there is no shortage of amazing options when it comes to wedding photography, unlike other wedding vendors such as florists, car rental companies and caterers, photographers can typically only book one wedding per day — so when a photographer books a wedding on a popular date, they become unavailable to anyone else who wants that date.
As you can imagine, the photographers with more experience and a better reputation get booked up faster than others, so if you have a preference for a photographer while following your desired budget, don’t wait!
Once you have narrowed down your options, I highly encourage you to get on a call or meet with the photographer in person for a consultation. Remember, when looking for a photographer, not only is it important to consider their style and cost, but it’s equally important to make sure you get along with them as you’ll be spending a lot of time with them on your big day.
Pay attention to their personality, language, and company values. This way, you get a better feel for who they are and their services and you can better determine if they are a good fit for what you are looking for.
To help you prepare for your consultation, here are five questions to ask:
1. Do you offer full-day coverage? If not, how many hours will you be there? What is the fee for additional hours?
Every photographer has their own packages, but some of the most common ones are six-hour coverage, eight-hour coverage, and full-day coverage. If you’re unsure how many hours you should book your photographer for, here are some general guidelines:
- Six hours of coverage should be plenty for small weddings and elopements. It works well practically if the ceremony and reception are in the same location. When weddings are intimate, there aren’t very many people to manage and photograph, so things tend to move quickly. Six hours of coverage most likely means that you will get all of the important moments (ceremony, family photos, first dance, etc.), however, there will not be a lot of extra time for detailed shots or photos of you getting ready.
- Eight hours of coverage is a happy medium that works well if you have an average size wedding (ie. 100-150 people). The extra two hours allow your photographer to get more detailed shots of things such as the decor, your guests, dancing, and you getting ready!
- Full day coverage might be the best fit for you if you have a big wedding party and if you’re super into capturing all the pretty details of your wedding.
It’s helpful to have an idea of how many hours you need and want and to communicate that to your photographer to see if they can accommodate you. Don’t forget to ask if they are flexible with adding extra hours as needed and what the extra fee is for those additional hours. Some photographers have a stricter policy than others, especially if they have another event on the same day!
2. How long will it take for us to get our photos after the wedding?
You’ll likely be very excited to see your wedding photos! Again, every photographer has different offerings in regards to their timeline for delivering your wedding photos. Be clear of your expectations and talk through the turnaround time with your photographer to make sure you are all on the same page.
3. Approximately how many images will I get?
Another important question to ask is how many images you will get. More isn’t necessarily better, but it’s wise to compare different photographers on your list and see what each offers. When it comes to your wedding photos, you want to choose quality over quantity. So if you really like photographer A and you know you’d be a good fit, but they don’t offer as many images as photographer B, follow your heart girl! 😉
4. What are the restrictions for sharing photos online or for publication? Do you own the photos/are they copyrighted?
This may seem unnecessary – I mean, it’d be really odd if your photographer doesn’t let you share your wedding photos on Facebook or Instagram – but it is actually a very important question in our digitally saturated world today!
When sharing photos online, some may simply just ask for photo credit. Others will require photo credit and will have other legal guidelines such as not adding a filter to their images.
It is important to remember that whenever you are posting an image and tagging the photographer for credit, it becomes a representation of the photographer’s work that you are sharing with your social media. Adding filters and altering photos ultimately would be altering their brand image.
5. Do you have a back-up plan for if something happens and the photographer cannot make it to our wedding?
Along with this, what is your back-up plan for if your equipment breaks or malfunctions on the wedding day?
This is where a second photographer becomes incredibly valuable. A lot of couples view a second shooter as an unnecessary expense and do not see the value in having a second shooter; but I cannot stress the importance of a second shooter when it comes to relieving stress on your wedding day.
Having two photographers allows for things such as additional shots and taking photos of two things happening at once (i.e. boys and girls getting ready at the same time). Also, having an extra person and set of equipment around should ANYTHING happen, allows for an incredible peace of mind you can’t put a price tag on.
There you have it! I’d love to hear if you implement any of these tips!
If you feel stuck and need help planning a wedding of your own, get in touch and let’s talk about our wedding planning services.