Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Posted on September 19, 2011

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If you have checked out XOIND Studios, you know we don’t shoot weddings unless it is something special enough for us to shoot them other than as a guest (this includes family). So, where do you go to find out about wedding photographers?

The most obvious is to ask someone else who they used? Who does someone else recommend or can they refer you to someone to do the images? If that person’s wedding images are done by the person they recommend, be sure to look at their images that were taken. Do they look good to you?

Have you viewed their website? Any potential photographers should have their website viewed and check out previous customer’s opinions if possible. It will tell you more about who that photographer is and what they will do for you as a photographer. You can see if they are a professional, or are they a weekend shooter? You can also take a look at their on-line portfolio of images. Keep in mind that these are typically their best. Again, what do you think? If they have any fine print on their web site, read it. Do you agree with it all?

Once you have the list narrowed down a little bit, the next step is to create a list of questions and ask the photographer directly. Do they have the time to meet with you? What did the answers say? Are they trying to sell you more than you want to buy? What did their references say about their work? Do you just get pictures or digital images? Can you get an album of images? Are their time limits? Image limits? Will they shoot all your locations (service, reception, party)?

From this, you should be able to meet with the photographer. See if they are someone you can work. If not, go to the next candidate. When you meet with them, they will have you sign a contract to work with them. Read it carefully, and make sure you agree to that contract. Always read the fine print carefully. If you don’t agree to those terms, go on to the next person.

You will see that I haven’t mentioned anything about price. Price should be your least concern when choosing a photographer. This is a really special day, and you should look for the best you can find. If money is an issue, then talk with the photographer you choose. See if they can do anything for you if the price is too high. Know that there is a cost, and nothing is free. When we did weddings, most people were expecting the session to cost around $500-$1,000 and get a good photo album with about 40-60 images from the wedding. With digital, there are so many more images created, there is editing of each image, and then choosing the images to give to you is really hard. Just ask any model who works with me when I try to get them to choose some images that they like. There is a lot of work that goes into taking wedding images, and giving you a final product. I am sure you can find someone who will shoot your wedding for something inexpensive, but seriously remember that this is your wedding day, and that these images will last a lifetime and then some. Are you really sure you want to go to the cheapest person who you can find?

I hope this helps you to find the person or company you need to get for wedding photographers. Know that images taken at a wedding are an investment, and you should spend an appropriate amount for them.

Edit: A good wedding photographer friend indicated that you should always ask about the photographer’s back up equipment: what is it and how much do they have. It should be the same equipment that they shoot – not a point and shoot camera. He also indicated that you should look at the images in a large size – no less than 11×14 and really look at the editing that was done. It isn’t unusual for the bride or groom to break out the day of the wedding. Looking at a large image like this will show every little bit of editing done if not done right. This also lets you really see their work – it is easy to hide imperfections in small screen images. Large prints are really difficult to hide problems.

Edit: As with any other photographer, you want to make sure they have a business license, sales tax license, and liability insurance. If they don’t, they aren’t a real photographic business and may be a fly by night photographer.

The infamous shameless plug at the end: If you are looking for a photographer for portraits, please take a look at XOIND Studios. More information can be found at XOIND Studios web page.

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