By: Yvonne Denault
Yvonne Denault Photography | www.yvonnedenault.com
With all the decisions to be made when planning a wedding, hiring a wedding photographer for many brides is at the top of the list for important considerations. Decision-making factors include photography style, fees, and personality and package options… not necessarily in that order of importance. Photography is such an integral part of a wedding that many grooms even take more interest and play an active role in finding a good photography fit!
Determining What You Like
For most couples, the creative style and application by a photographer is a huge factor in deciding which photography business to work with and how much of an investment to make. Finding a wedding photographer to fit your stylistic needs may require a $3000-7000 photography budget. But when the invitations are sent, the cake is eaten, the dress has been packed away and the flowers have wilted… memories are all that remain. A good wedding photographer is worth every penny for years beyond.
Choosing a style means taking time to review photographers’ websites and blogs to ensure you like the photos that they produce. Begin making a list of photographers and indicating the things you like/dislike about their creative application. Do they take a traditional approach to photography? Do their photos appear to be more candid showcasing the emotion of the day? Do they have a unique lighting or artistic application that you find appealing? Making a list will help you determine what you expect out of your own wedding photography.
Meeting Your Photographer
Once you have narrowed your search down to the top 3-5 photographers you would consider, begin the process of checking for availability and setting up face-to-face meetings. Many photographers will require a face-to-face meeting with potential clients before emailing a fee schedule. Simply emailing a brochure does not showcase the extent of the photographer’s portfolio, explain the editing process, inclusion of services or help the couple gauge the personality of the photographer.
Take the time to meet with potential wedding photographers. How many dresses do you try on before you pick ‘the one?’ Wedding photography is an investment of your money, your time and…ultimately your memories. Consider that you will spend a great majority of your day in the presence of the photographer you hire. You should therefore, feel a positive energy and connection with that individual so they are able to capture you and your fiancé at your natural best.
Ask questions about their experience. Request to see a portfolio or album of what a full wedding day looks like. Have them explain their artistic approach and their workflow process on the wedding day. How do they get their subjects to feel comfortable in front of the camera? Will they help with posing and direction? Do they dress professionally? Do they bring an assistant or work with a second photographer? What equipment and lighting do they use?
This is an important meeting to make sure you communicate what your expectations are and how the photographer will meet them. Don’t be afraid to ask for references.
Package Options and Contracts
Most photographers will have a brochure of some kind that they can sit down and explain their photography package inclusions and add-ons. Packages outline some of the following details: fees, coverage hours, number of photos included, format of photos (digital or print), album and print credit options, and travel fees.
At this time, you also want to ask about a contract and retainer. Photographers may require up to half of the total fee as a non-refundable retainer for services. Always request a contract and ensure it outlines the fees, the inclusion of package options as well as a timeframe for when you will receive your final portfolio of images. Ensure that your wedding photographer also has liability insurance.
The Importance of an Engagement Session
Developing a rapport with your photographer is imperative; and an engagement session is a perfect way to make that connection and feel good about your vendor selection. Communicate what your vision is for your engagement session and observe how well your photographer delivers on that vision. Are you directed during our shoot? Are they positive and encouraging? Did the final images meet or exceed your expectations? If so, you’ve got a great fit for your wedding day!
Enjoy the Day
Make sure to meet with your wedding photographer at least two weeks before your wedding date. Outline specific photo requests, timeframes and details you want covered. Communicate everything at that time--don’t wait until the day of your wedding. A little pre-planning and allowing a professional photographer the freedom to do what they do best, will give you the images you expected. In addition, you will get unexpected surprises that they will creatively integrate into your portfolio simply because they are also having fun on your wedding day!
Lastly, remember that all weddings come with a little bit of stress from things not going as planned. Roll with it, smile and remember you are marrying the love of your life. Your response to your day and those around you reflect in the photos you will remember your day by. Enjoy your day and your loved ones…and it will show in your photos!