Your wedding day will be one of the most important events in your life. It can also be one of the most expensive! When it comes to wedding expenses, your wedding photography should NOT be one of the areas you cut corners. When all the guests have gone, the last piece of cake eaten and the flowers have all dried up, your photographs will be the one of the few things from your wedding that will last. It will be these photographs that you will share with your children and your grandchildren. I’ve talked with so many brides that regretted their decision for their wedding photographer. To help future brides from making the same mistakes, I’ve put together some things to look for in a wedding photographer that will help with your decision and lead to finding that perfect fit for you as a couple.
- Style – Look at the portfolios of several photographers and find one whose style you not only love, but will continue to love for years to come. Do you like more traditional or modern photography? Do you want a photographer who shoots only photojournalism style or do you want one that will direct poses? Most great wedding photographers are a mixture of both. Once you narrow down photographers based on a style you prefer, ask to see a complete wedding gallery. That way you can make sure the style is consistent throughout the entire wedding and not just some fancy editing on a few select photos.
- Business License – Ask for information on their business. Are they a legitimate business? Do they have a license? How long have they been in business? Do they charge and pay sales tax? The state of North Carolina requires that a photographer have a Privilege License just to engage in the business of photography. Would you really want to entrust one of the most important parts of one of your most important days to someone who has not taken the proper steps to become a legitimate business? If they have taken these steps, more than likely they are in it for the long haul. There are tons of horror stories online of couples who never received their photos, lost all their money, etc. I know this is a possibility anytime, but if the photographer has a legitimate business, this is much less likely to happen.
- Insurance – Make sure the photographer you hire has liability and equipment insurance. Accidents can always happen. What if Aunt Martha trips over the photographer’s stand and breaks her leg? If the photographer has liability insurance, you, the photographer and also the venue are covered. Some larger venues even require that the photographer have liability insurance before allowing them photograph an event. Equipment insurance will also cover you in addition to the photographer. What if your crazy cousin Jerry gets drunk and damages some of the photographer’s gear. If they are insured, they will be less likely to try to get you to pay for the damages.
- Lighting Knowledge – Most weddings can involve several different lighting scenarios throughout the entire wedding, from natural window light in the dressing room, to almost no light at all in a dark reception area. A good photographer will know how to deal with each situation. If you are planning a nighttime wedding or reception, make sure the photographer has lighting equipment and knows how to use it. This is another reason to ask potential photographers to view an entire wedding gallery. Are their reception photos dark and blurry or well lit and sharp? Be sure you are hiring someone who can handle any lighting situation that may come their way.
- Backup Equipment – Always make sure the photographer you hire has adequate backup equipment. Sometimes things happen and equipment can fail. A good photographer will be prepared for any equipment problems and will be able to switch to backup gear without missing any part of your wedding.
- Personality – Last, but not least, hire a photographer who’s personality is not in conflict with your own. This is the one vendor you will be spending most of your wedding day with. You want someone you can get along with, someone who makes you feel comfortable and someone who doesn’t add to the stress of the day.
Wedding photography is so much more than someone just showing up and taking pictures. Follow these tips when choosing your photographer and eventually you will find one that stands out among the rest. Trust your feelings and instincts and you will find one that is perfect for your wedding day.