Wedding Ideas

Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Posted At : September 3, 2008 5:45 PM   |  Posted By : Bridal Network   |  Views: 3,966
Articles on these Topics: Ceremony & Reception
Articles about these Services: Photographers

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By Jennifer Jacula (jenniferjacula.com)

Congratulations! You're engaged and now involved in the exciting process of planning a wedding. Let's talk wedding photos. More specifically, how to choose the right wedding photographer (in Canada or elsewhere..).

  1. Research. Good photography is worth paying for, but a good photographer can be hard to find! Browse the local wedding photographers on the web and visit their websites, ask for referrals from your friends and family and scan the local newspaper for ads. Check out photographers' websites and see what the price range of wedding packages is in your area. You might be surprised at how much good photography can cost!
  2. Set your budget. According to Wedding Bells magazine, the average wedding in 2007 in Canada cost a whopping $28,500. You can find a photographer to fit your budget regardless of whether it's small or large, but remember that like many things, you usually get what you pay for!
    Spending a little more may prove to be a wise investment in the long run.
  3. Set your priorities. As a couple, determine what portion of the wedding is the most important to you - a beautiful dress, rings, flowers, cake, the reception? Regardless of what your priorities are, you will want to hire a photographer to capture it all for you. In the end, the dress is dry cleaned and put away, the tuxes go back to the rental shop, the catered food is eaten, the invitations are thrown out. The only thing that will truly last from your wedding day are the photos, so getting the best photographer you can afford should be close to the top of your priority list and you should budget accordingly.
  4. Decide what you want. What products or services do you want your photographer to offer? Engagement photos, bridal sessions, boudoir photos as a gift from the bride to the groom, and do you want to trash the dress? Ceremony and formals only, or full day coverage? Online proofing, printed 4x6 proofs, albums, CD or DVD of high-resolution files - what products will want once your wedding is over? The hottest trends in wedding photography right now are beautiful print-and-bind or flush-mount albums from companies like GraphiStudio, Finao and Asuka - traditional matted or slip-in albums are the way of the past.
  5. Determine your style. Comparing one photographer to the next is like comparing apples and oranges, both in terms of style and in terms of price. Find a photographer whose style you like and whose price fits your budget and call or e-mail them to set up a meeting!
  6. Ask the right questions. On the phone or at the meeting, ask your photographer about their experience. How long have they been a professional photographer, and how many weddings have they photographed? Also ask about their equipment - a professional photographer should have a back up for each piece of equipment. That means a minimum of two camera bodies, two flashes, multiple lenses, a bag full of batteries and multiple memory cards. Most professional photographers use professional digital equipment from Canon or Nikon; film is an almost-dead technology. The industry standard for photo editing is Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Adobe Lightroom; anything less is unacceptable. The digital renaissance is here!
    If the photographer has a website, you will already have a good idea of what the photographer's style is - candid, photojournalistic, posed, or a mix of both. If the photographer doesn't have a website, ask them to describe their style of shooting and look at their portfolio to see if it fits the style you envision for your own wedding photos. In addition, ask to see a complete wedding so you can determine if every shot is what you would expect to receive from a professional - portfolios and studio sample albums tend to only include the photographer's best photos.
  7. Ask yourself: is the photographer someone you will feel comfortable with? Almost as important as the photos is the chemistry between photographer and client; you should like your photographer, because you'll be hanging out with them for an extended period of time on one of the most memorable days of your lives.
  8. Choose and book your photographer. A photographer should be among the first vendors you book - as soon as you have a date and venue for your wedding, go shopping for your photographer! Photographers can book up incredibly quickly, so as soon as you've decided which photographer is right for you, book them. This generally means meeting to sign contracts and hand over a cheque for the retainer. The contract should be professional, personalized to the photographer's packages and services and should cover basics such as a liability, delivery time for proofs, payment schedule, cancellations and a model release.
  9. Once you've booked your photographer, don't hesitate to stay in touch with them, ask questions or fill them in on the important details of your wedding day. If great aunt Mildred is flying in from England for your wedding and you want to be sure to get lots of photos - let your photographer know!
  10. Sit back, relax and enjoy your wedding, knowing that a professional is handling the precious photos from your special day.

Jennifer Jacula is an east-central Alberta professional photographer and freelance writer. For more tips on choosing a wedding photographer, visit her website at jenniferjacula.com.

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