Friday, August 16, 2013

How to select your wedding photographer... | Ventura, California Weding & Portrait Photographer | Donya J Photography

How to select your wedding photographer in 10 easy steps?

1.   Determine what your Budget will be. Most photographer fees, including prints, albums, etc. typically approximate about 12% of an entire wedding budget. This allows you to quickly remove candidates that you cannot afford.

2.   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? Would you prefer a photographer who combines all of these styles (a contemporary, freestyle, artistic, documentary, photojournalism or eclectic wedding photographer)?  Whew who knew there were so many!!

3.   Decide what level of service you want from your wedding photographer. Do you only need photographs of your ceremony so having just 1-4 hours of photography may be enough for you? Other couples may prefer a complete package that may include a pre-wedding engagement sessions, rehearsal dinner photographs, bridal portraits and newlywed photos.

4.   Decide how many images you would like from your wedding celebration(s). 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.

5.   Figure out how much time and expertise you have to process your images yourself. Many brides who choose photographers that only give them a disc of their images (no album, prints or other items) find that they lack the time, software or knowledge to create their own albums, properly edit the photos (crop, color correct, etc.). Often, years later, these couples just have a stack of dusty, cheaply processed proof photos or photos on a disc that are not being lovingly displayed as a reminder of the wedding day.

6.   Decide how you will use your pictures. Do you plan to purchase just an album for yourself, or also canvases and pictures for your walls, prints to give to friends and family, or even put the images on stationery, invitations, calendars, mugs, T-shirts, and magnets?

7.   Determine what form of your pictures you will want from your photographer. Just purchasing the prints is sometimes economical if you do not want an album. If you expect to need a large number of prints, it may be better (and faster) to purchase the negatives from your photographer and have the copies made privately, at your leisure. If you plan to use the images in numerous creative ways, or want to post them to a website or include them in a screen saver, you will probably want to receive the digital photo files directly from your photographer via the Internet or on a CD-ROM.

8.  RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH photographers. Remember hiring a wedding photographer is one of the first things you should do, because the best professional photographers book their schedules a year in advance. If you want outstanding pictures, start searching for your photographer when you have decided on the date. A wedding photographer's peak season is Saturdays during the spring, as this is when many couples get married. If you will be celebrating an "in-season" wedding, book your photographer at least six to twelve months in advance. Word of mouth is usually the best referral; ask your friends, inquire at bridal shops, florist, baker, and wedding planners and with the management of the ceremony and reception sites you have chosen. Also browse bridal websites for information and links to photographers that work in your area. Peruse their Web sites to begin eliminating candidates from your list. Consider how well they perform in different settings/environments. For example, if you are throwing a beach wedding, it makes sense to find a photographer who is stronger in filming outdoors.  Think about the tone that you want your photos to express.

9.   Interview each remaining candidate on your list by phone.  Make sure to ask if they are available on your chosen date, how much experience they have, whether they specialize in weddings, how soon after the wedding you can expect your prints or disk, and how long they keep the negatives. 

10.               Make appointments and meet with each finalist face to face. After narrowing your selection of wedding photographers down to about three, make appointments to interview the candidates.  Go to these meetings with your spouse-to-be if possible. Ask for a copy of their standard shot list (if they use a shot list which most experienced wedding photographers do not as they have well-memorized all the shots they need to get), and ask questions. Likely, the photographer will have two or three wedding albums available for show. Make sure you see at least one album of an entire wedding, from start to finish. After examining all of the photographer's work closely, request to see another set of photographs from a recent wedding. This will enable you to see both his best work-from the pre-selected albums-and her average daily work.  First, examine the basics of the pictures-such as color, clarity, exposure, graininess and composition. Then determine the photographer's style; does she shoot photos that are adventurous and unique or are they standard and ordinary? This will also help you decide which style you prefer.  Really pay attention to the photographer's ability to capture the emotion of the day. Does it appear that he/she has the personality to make his subjects comfortable and happy? Or is he/she the type of photographer that seemingly takes pictures without much passion.  Come away from the interview knowing the quality of the photographer, his overall style, and if she will adjust her style to your individual taste. Lastly notice how polite they are. Ask yourself, “Is this someone I will want to be around when I am stressed, exhausted, dehydrated, overheated, and ready to faint in those uncomfortable shoes?”

11.               Determine Costs and Sign the Contract
Be sure to book your photographer for the date of your wedding immediately, make sure you read over the legal details of exactly what you will get before signing the contract. This ensures that you know exactly what type of service and what package of photographs you will be getting.  Then make sure that the photographer you want is the photographer you will get at your wedding. Some larger companies may do a bait and switch. This means communicating with the photographer about the details of the event, when and where the ceremony will be held as well as the reception and what types of photographs you want.  In all, the contract is in place to remind both you and the photographer of the services you agreed upon.

In following these simple steps you are certainly on your way to hiring a photographer who meets your needs and to receive a wedding album to treasure for years to come.

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