Choosing a wedding photographer

FINDING THE RIGHT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Step 1: Suit your style
First, decide what visual style suits you. If you loved your sister’s
nuptial snapshots and most of them are candid black-and-white action shots,
you’re probably leaning toward a cameraman with a penchant for
photojournalism. If you prefer classic portraits and posed shots, a
traditionalist is for you. Want your album to look like a glam magazine?
Look for a wedding photographer with a high fashion sensibility. Also take
into account whether you want to bring out the playfulness of your wedding
or emphasize the drama.

If you’re looking for special effects like a vintage retouching treatment or
lots of black-and-white photos, now is the time to find photographers who
regularly incorporate those touches in their work.

Don’t underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your
photographer.

Step 2: Do your research
Start your search by reading reviews  Do they have a blog? How often is it
updated? The style of the website may also give you clues about the
photographer’s personality and sensibility.
Step 3: Meet and greet
Narrow down your favorites found online (and from your wedding planner’s
list of her preferred photographers, if applicable) and compile a short list
of photographers to meet with. Before you go, be prepared to talk about your
wedding date, you venue, your wedding style, and what you envision for your
photos. If you liked specific weddings that were featured on the
photographer’s blog, take note and remember to mention them.
Step 4: Make sure they’re a match
Don’t underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your
photographer. Some of the best shots of your main event will be those taken
behind the scenes, and you need to be comfortable about inviting your
photographer backstage. They’ll also have a lot of contact with your family
and friends, and in general be a very visible “guest” at your wedding. To
get the best photos, they have to be assertive enough to hunt for great
moments, cajoling enough to coax relaxed smiles and natural stances from
guests, and calm enough to be a positive force. They should ask lots of
questions and be a good listener. You should also match the personality of
your photographer to the style of your wedding. Big formal affairs call for
an assertive person who moves quickly, whereas a laid-back, intimate wedding
might warrant a photographer with a more relaxed personality.

Step 5: Choose carefully
Don’t commit before seeing complete albums of weddings the photographer has
shot. Seeing 50 to 100 photos of an event from beginning to end, rather than
a few highlight photos, will give you an idea of the full picture of what
the photographer can offer. Look for the key moments you want captured: Did
they get photos of both the bride and groom when they locked eyes for the
first time? Was there a balanced mix of portraits and candids? Do the more
journalistic shots convey a sense of emotion?  Ask about the photographer’s
philosophy regarding wedding albums — bonus points for those who talk about
every album being unique or about how an album should “tell the story of
your wedding.”
Many pros will not even consider giving their digital negs away because they
are the copyright of the photographer and in a raw state does not represent
the beauty of a shot once retouched.
and what effects may cost extra.
Step 7: Double-check the details
Many larger studios have several photographers on staff. Since every
professional has a different style, technique, and personality, you need to
make sure that the one you interview and “click” with will be the same one
to work your wedding. Be sure to ask who shoots the event in case of an
emergency or illness. Will the photographer have an assistant? How many? And
how will the photographer and the assistants be dressed?
Step 8: Confirm the cost
Expect to spend at least $3,000 and easily up to $10,000 and beyond on a
seasoned professional photographer. You’re paying for their time at your
wedding, plus all post-production work such as retouching and assembling an
album. Special effects and more time at the event will, of course, cost
extra. Most basic packages usually offer day-of wedding coverage, online
proofing (after the wedding, you’ll get access to a website to view and
select your photos), and a pared-down album. As prices increase, extras like
engagement shoots, rehearsal dinner coverage, tricked-out albums, and
poster-size prints get added on.
Step 9: Write it down
We know you know this, but we have to say it anyway: Get every detail in
writing. Make sure the photographer’s name is on the contract to ensure that
the person you met will be the person shooting your wedding.

Special thanks to Duke Photography, Todd France Photography, Jen Kroll
Photography, and Salvatore Cincotta Photography

— The Knot

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