8 tips on choosing wedding photographers for your big day

Your wedding day is probably one of the most important, special days you’ll ever have, one that you will affectionately remember for the rest of your life. Every moment of this day you’ll want to capture and treasure, and that is why choosing wedding photographers is not a decision to take lightly.

These wedding images will stay with you, and if they are poorly taken and edited, it can cause some major disappointment. You won’t be able to have your wedding day over, so they’ve got to be done right the first time.

professional wedding photography

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you get the right wedding photographer for the job who will leave you with professional photographs you’ll be proud to display and that will keep the memory alive.

1. Determine your style

Before you can start picking out a photographer for your wedding, make sure you know what your preferable style of photography is. There are many different kinds of wedding photographers, each with a unique signature style, and you have to find the one that will portray your wedding in a way that you are comfortable and happy with. Decide whether you want go for classic portrait, documentary, fine art or an edgy or unconventional photography style to capture your special day with loved ones.

groom and bride on their wedding day

2. Research photographers in your area

Once you’ve decided on what style of photography you want, it’s time to start looking for the right people for the job. Go through your local listings, search online, visit wedding photography websites and social media profiles and read reviews from other couples. You will be able to get an idea of the photographers in your area, their professionalism and reputation, and who might possibly be candidates to shoot your wedding. From this you can compile a list of people to set up meetings and interviews with next.

3. Set up meetings and interviews

Although their online portfolio and advertised package prices might give you a good indication, you will only know whether a photographer is right for you and if you ‘click’ personality wise, once you have met them in person. First, phone the photographers on your list and check whether they are available on your wedding date or not. If not, ask if they can recommend someone with a similar style to theirs that might have your date open. Make an appointment to see them. Be ready with all your questions you want to ask them, and prepared for whatever they might ask you, such as the details about your wedding, requirements, venue, style, budget etc.

romantic wedding

4. Look at their wedding photography portfolio and previous work

Ask to see some full albums of the photographer’s work of actual weddings he or she has captured, not only staged shoots. Don’t only rely on their top selected, edited shots, but look at their entire collection of photos taken on a specific day. This will give you a good indication of the quality of their work and what you can expect to be taken on your day. Also be sure to see albums of shots taken similar to the style that you require, including the setting and venue. For example, if you have a day-time, outdoor wedding, or an evening, indoor wedding, look at photos of similar weddings to get an idea of what the photographer will do with such a setting and lighting.

professional wedding photograph

When looking at the albums, have a critical eye. Ask yourself questions like, did they capture the right moments? The precious moments? Did they do it in a beautiful manner? Are the photos thoughtfully composed? Are they sensitive to the emotions of the people? Have they covered family as well as friends, individuals and groups in their shots? Are the photos crisp and of high quality and resolution?

5. Make sure you ‘click’ with your wedding photographer

Wedding photographers are going to be shadowing your every move on your big day, and it is very important that you and your partner get on well with that person. He or she needs to be friendly, patient and confident, be able to draw the best out of you and put you at ease. It is very important that they understand and aim to achieve your particular vision. Nothing about them should annoy you, because your level of comfort with your photographer will definitely affect the outcome of your photos.

They should also be someone who gets along with different types of people as they will work with your family and friends, has to put them at ease and get the best shots from them, without offending, being intrusive, impatient or harsh in tone.

wedding photographer at a wedding

If you are making use of the services of a photography company, make sure you know beforehand who will be the particular photographer that will shoot your wedding and that you are happy with it.

6. Compare prices and packages from various wedding photographers

When you visit wedding photographers, take time to discuss their fees and packages on offer. This way you can compare rates and get the most for your money. Ideally you want the photographer to be with you and ready to capture every special moment long before the ceremony when you start to get ready, all the way through to when you get sent-off on your honeymoon. Find out if they are going to charge you per hour, which can turn into a very expensive exercise and might make you lose out on some great pictures when it’s time for them to pack up, or whether they’ll cover the entire 6-12 hour wedding as part of a package deal.

Also find out what is included in their packages. Having an engagement shoot before the wedding is very popular these days, and something you might want to consider, so ask about that.
engagement shoot

And very important, talk about the cost of post-production items. Do you want a printed album? How many digital, printed and edited photos do you want? What is included in the different packages? Look at the various options, and get a quote which you can compare to other quotes.

7. Find out about your rights to the images

The agreement you’ll sign with the wedding photographer will include what you are allowed to do with the photos. Most of these contracts or agreements state that the photographer owns the rights to the photos he or she takes at your wedding, and can use them for promotional campaigns and marketing their business afterwards.

It will most likely also stipulate the terms of use, for example, you can only share and distribute the photos with the photographer’s watermark or an image credit, and you are allowed to print the images yourself or from another printing agency. Discuss these details on each interview appointment to see if you agree fully with the terms and conditions.

the bride and groom

8. Confirm post-production waiting and delivery time

To avoid disappointment, don’t expect the photo proofs for at least a couple of months after your wedding. Wedding photography, and photography in general, entail working with raw JPG files and extensive selecting and editing goes into it which takes time. The photographer might also be working on other clients’ photos at the same time, so be patient. However, it shouldn’t take longer than two months, so just confirm the delivery time or deadline with your photographer, so as to have realistic expectations.

bride on her big day

If you can’t wait that long to see some shots of your special day, consider asking a friend a favour of just taking a bunch of pictures with their phone or camera, or place disposable cameras on each of your guests’ tables at the reception and ask them to fill it up with memories. This way you’ll have instant access to some great pictures of your wedding.

Are you engaged and getting married soon? Well, now is the time to start looking for and comparing wedding photographers to get the best deal. Junk Mail is also a great source for professional photographers advertising their services in your area, so visit www.JunkMail.co.za today. Are you a professional wedding photographer? Advertise your services by placing your FREE AD!

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8 tips on choosing wedding photographers for your big day
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8 tips on choosing wedding photographers for your big day
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Every moment of this day you’ll want to capture and treasure, and that is why choosing wedding photographers is not a decision to take lightly.
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Junk Mail
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Liezl Grobler

Digital Copy Editor, Blogger, SEO Writer and Online Marketing...

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