A wonderful picture to remind them of their wonderful wedding day

A wonderful picture to remind them of their wonderful wedding day

If you're tempted to let your groom's best mate photograph the wedding because he thinks he's the next David Bailey, think again. While your budget might thank you for it, gambling with the only tangible memories of the most important day of your life isn't advisable. We advise you to choose a professional photographer with years of experience, brilliant feedback and, of course, a portfolio with photographs to die for. Unless your groom's best mate really is a professional photographer, in that case…it’s a whole different story. Now, assuming you don’t have a close relative or a best friend who have exceptional wedding photography skills, let’s move on.

Here are the most important things you should know and some of the more important questions you should ask a potential photographer.

Decide what style of wedding photography you prefer. Are you looking for a traditional approach with mostly posed images? Or do you prefer lots of candid shots in which the subject may not even know he or she is being photographed? Do you like the glamour approach of fashion photography? How about a happy middle – have equally combined, posed, spontaneous and glamorous photographs?

Decide what level of service you want. Perhaps you only need photographs of your ceremony so having just 1-3 hours of photography may be enough for you. Other couples may prefer a complete package that includes a pre-wedding engagement sessions, rehearsal dinner photographs, bridal portraits and newlywed photos.

Decide how many photos you would like. Some photographers may provide you with fewer than 100 images to remember your wedding day by. Higher-end photographers often capture thousands of images (generally from 1,000 to 3,000) for you to keep forever.

Set your Budget. Photographer fees, prints, albums, etc. generally come to approximately 12% of the entire wedding budget. This will allow you to quickly discard candidates which you cannot afford.

Research potential photographers. Make a list of the photographers that you liked, look at samples of their work on the Internet, ask for their references or general customer feedback. Then, Remove from your list any individuals with less-than-stellar records, weak references, or a style that you dislike.

Research their work. A photographer who has invested in their website is one who has passion and who is concerned with the image they are presenting to the world. A badly designed website is not a good sign and you can usually tell straight away if you are interested in their work. If you get a good feeling from the website, check out the gallery pages and assess the photographers work. Do the images have a clear style? Are they technically sound? Has emotion really been captured?

Research even more. When you have 3 preferred photographers left on you list, call them individually or visit their photography studio and have a little chat. Or catch them at a wedding fayre. Make sure to ask if they are available on your chosen date, how much experience they have, whether they specialise in weddings, how soon after the wedding you can expect your prints or disk, and how long they keep the negatives and inquire about the liability insurance. Also, don’t forget to ask whether they have a back-up camera/gear.

Elimination. Remove from your list any candidates who do not conform to your preferences or are not available on your chosen date.

Meeting with ‘The One’. If you haven’t before, meet the finalist face-to-face. Don’t forget to notice how polite and nice they are. You do not want a grumpy, exhausted egoist who doesn’t listen to you wishes to circle around dragging your and your guests’ moods down.

Confirm! When you have decided who the right Mr. Photographer is, make sure you sign a contract and confirm the date, the price and all the other preferences and details that you agreed on.

4 more general photography facts that you need to know:

  1. 1. The photographer owns the copyright for your images and all reprints must be ordered through him or her.
  2. 2. Good photographers can get booked up one or two years in advance. Make sure you start looking early if you're planning your wedding in summer and/or on Saturday.
  3. 3. Many photographers charge for extensive editing in Photoshop, because it can be very time-consuming.
  4. 4. For photographers, "Tips are never expected but are always appreciated."

By Toma Sukyte – for Female First

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