|Photo courtesy of Rachel O'Brien Photography|
How long have you been in the photography business?
You want to choose someone who has experience not only in photography, but in particular with wedding photography. Review the potential vendor's website to get some background on the person or company you are considering hiring. Also, look at their testimonials for feedback on what other clients have experienced (this applies when researching all types of vendors).
What is your style of photography? From the article "How to Choose Between the Different Wedding Photography Styles," there are 4 different styles: Traditional (more formal, posed), contemporary (more relaxed and informal), documentary (photographer will record events as they happen, also known as photojournalistic style), and artistic (photographer produces a unique set of images). When choosing a photographer, your individual preferences should be in line with the photographer's specialty. So, if you want more casual pictures, don't choose someone who specializes in only formal, traditional photography. For more information on the various styles, check out the article at http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-Between-the-Different-Wedding-Photography-Styles.
Are you a member of a professional association (such as Professional Photographers of America?
I believe it's important for any wedding vendor to be a member of a professional organization. Each organization has codes of ethics and standards to which their members pledge to follow. In addition, organizations strongly encourage or require that members continue their education to be informed of the latest trends and technology in their field.
Do you have liability insurance?
Some venues may require vendors to provide proof of liability insurance, so be sure to ask this question before you contract with a photographer (or any other vendor).
Do you have backup equipment?
The answer to this question should be a resounding YES! Backup equipment is absolutely necessary in case there is an issue with a memory card, lighting or camera. You don't want any special moments to be missed because of technical difficulties.
When are proofs available for review?
A photographer should provide an approximate timeframe when your proofs will be ready for viewing after the wedding. This will also be outlined clearly in their contract.
Will I have the copyrights to my pictures?
Some photographers offer full copyrights to the pictures as a part of their packages and services, and some choose to retain the rights to them. If you can obtain the copyrights, you will have permission to do whatever you like with the images (post on Facebook, etc). Make sure you understand clearly what the photographer's policy is regarding this.
What kind of packages do you offer?
When meeting with a potential photographer, he or she will provide detailed information regarding their packages and what items are included (number of hours, number of photographers, album type etc.). If there is a package that you would like to tweak, don't be afraid to ask!
Do you have assistants working with you on wedding day?
As noted above, packages should be clear on how many photographers are included to shoot your wedding. One advantage to having more than one shooter is that they are able to capture events from different angles. I strongly recommend more than one shooter...the additional expense is well worth it!
What are the options on wedding albums available?
If you choose to have a wedding album produced, inquire about the types of albums available. Also, find out if parent albums are available as well. For more information about the types of wedding albums, check out this article: http://www.ehow.com/list_7243396_types-wedding-albums.html
Your Planning Assignment
Choosing your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you will make. After your wedding, your pictures will be what remains of your special day. Don't trust them to anyone other than a professional! And as always, feel free to leave a comment on our Facebook page about this article. Happy Planning!