Choosing a Wedding Photographer

One of the most important decisions you will make during the planning process will be the choice of your photographer. After all those pictures will be you and your family forever and there is no turning back… no “re-enactment” possible.

Hiring a photographer is one of the first things you should do after your engagement. Ask your recently married friends/family who they used for their wedding. If you already have a venue ask them if they are any preferred photographers. Websites such as Atlantabridal.com can be a good resource if you don’t know where to start (the company publishes websites for around the country; go to “about us” and you’ll see the list of cities there). What you can also do is just type in “your city” and “wedding photographer” into Google and just browse from there.

Often times photographers will offer a complimentary engagement session if you hire them for your wedding. If you are the kind of couple that wants to announce their engagement then having an official picture can be useful. You can also use this photo for your wedding invitation.

I find that the most important benefit of having an engagement session with your wedding photographer is that you will get know their working style and they will get to know you and your groom too. It can be awkward if a photographer does not know you until the wedding day, and it could lead to some unpleasant surprises. You want them to be able to take the lead and guide you into the photo, make you look your best by telling you where the light it, how to turn your face, body etc.  Unless you are a professional model, you might not know about how to make angles and lighting work for you and how to make sure that you look your best. Even with the best hair/make up people in the world, the wrong lighting or angles can potentially be very unflattering.

In addition to knowing how to create an image, the photographer will also need to know how to capture candid moments. Some of the best shots from our engagement session and our wedding, are the ones in which we forgot that our photographer was even there.

You want to hire someone that you are comfortable with, someone who can lead, and whose style you admire and can relate to.  Are you looking to have more creative images or traditional pictures?

We hired the lovely and very talented Ms. Tessa. She shot the picture above, as well as my Blogger profile picture. Here is her blog containing our wedding pictures.

Once you have found a potential photographer check out their website see how it looks, observe their style and what they do.  Also, go to weddingwire.com to see what kind of reviews they have received from other brides.

…once you’re on the phone with them use this helpful list of questions:

*How long have you been in the industry? How many weddings do you shoot per year? Where do you clients mainly come from? Word of mouth? Do you advertise? (I just like to ask every vendor this question to get an idea of how their business is running).

*Do you have a shot list? If not, can I give you mine? A shot list should have your “must have” shots.

*Are you a member of an accredited photography association? Have you won any awards?

*What are are your wedding packages? (Often times photographers will provide packages which will include the number of hours that they will cover on wedding day, a DVD of the pictures, and possibly the official photo album, Thank You cards, a canvas print…etc)

*Who is your backup in case of emergency? (You do not want to be left hanging in case your photographer has an emergency)

*How long until we receive our photos? Our photo album? (A reasonable time-frame should be provided)

Do your research to ensure that your wedding day will be represented in the way you want it to be and how you  your friends, family and future generations

PS: Like Tyra says: don’t forget to ‘smize’ (smile with your eyes) and pose ‘H’ to ‘T’ (Head to Toe)!