How to choose your wedding photographer

Most of my clients believe that the photos of their wedding day rank #1 over every other aspect of their BIg day. You have to be really comfortable with your photographer and make sure you get the shots you want because you only get one wedding day ( most of us LOL....some get 3...or 4 LOL)
So here are some helpful questions and things to think about when meeting and hiring photographers.

Experience Level - Has this person photographed other weddings? Does he/she do this for a living or for fun?

Photographic Style - Are the images that you are shown, what you would like to see? There are "buzz" words flying about everywhere about photojournalism, formal, classic candid, and so on. Do you want a mixture of black and white or only colour photos?

Truth in Advertising - Is this the photographer that will be photographing your wedding or will they send in whomever is available. Don't be shocked, this happens more often than you can imagine. Be certain that you know which photographer is going to be there and that you see HIS/HER work and meet with that individually face to face.

Personality - Is the photographer that you meet someone that you can get along with? Is the "chemistry" there?

Appearance - Ask the photographer how he/she intends to dress. Is this person well groomed?

Price Range - Although, the last thing you want to do is shop by price, is this person within your budget? If not, is he or she worth the price difference? Make sure you understand what everything costs, including reprints and albums.

Delivery - How long does it take to get your proofs back, thank you cards, your finished album, your bridal portrait, etc.?

Offering - Whether it's a la carte or a package, do you understand what you are getting? Is there any room for changes and will it cost to do so? Sometimes the packages are fixed, sometimes they can be customized, in any case, ask. How much time will he/she spend? What if you need more time? Make sure that you know what's coming.

Contract - Do you understand the contract. Is it fair? Is everything spelled out? When it comes down going to court, only what is WRITTEN really counts, not what was promised. Make sure that you have no doubts before signing. Read it ALL.

What about deposits and payments? What does it say about cancellations and the photographer not being there? If the photographer protests, ask him why? This is one area NOT to take lightly. You could be disappointed for a long time.

References - A personal reference is always the best and people love to talk. Get a list of references from the photographer and check them out personally. A photographer who doesn't have references or is afraid to give them to you may not be the person that you need to hire.

Other Questions: (some questions may be repeated from the list above)

    Have you shot a wedding at my location before?
    Do you have an assistant?
    Do you have backup equipment and is it the same quality as the primary equipment?
    What time will you begin and how long will you stay until?
    When will the proofs be ready?
    Do we get to keep the proofs?
    Do you mark your proofs?
    Where and how are your proofs marked?
    How much extra for unmarked proofs?
    Do we get to keep our negatives?
    How long do you keep the negatives and will you sell them to us?
    Do you use high speed film to expose natural light?
    Do you have tele-photo and wide-angle lenses?
    Do you work well with the other vendors? i.e.: coordinators, caterers, videographers.
    Can you work from a photo checklist that we create?
    How will you be dressed?
    Do you process and develop your own film and prints?

What goes on the all important contract?

    The name of your photographer
    The time that he/she arrives and leaves
    The number of proofs you will view in order to pick your enlargements and/or keep
    The description of the package you ordered
    A list of guaranteed prices for enlargements. If they have a brochure with prices then get the photographer to write down that the prices on the brochure they gave you are the prices that you will be charged.
    The cutoff date for these brochure prices.
    All additional charges, services, taxes, travel, etc... Get the exact cost on the contract.
    An explanation of what happens if your photographer doesn't show up.
    The date and deposit amount and how much is still owing.
    Your name, address and phone number. The names and addresses of the ceremony and reception locations.

Never Never Never be afraid to get what you want, its your day!!!!