How To Hire Wedding Photographer

1) Hiring Your Wedding Photographer: The Best Way to Find the Perfect One for You

There are tons of photographers to choose from when you are looking to hire someone for your wedding.  Here we will discuss great ways to ensure that the photographer you get is the right one for you.  By discussing helpful tips and what to avoid, we will be working to help you so that you do not end up like so many others: frustrated, not knowing what to do, or worse yet, choosing the wrong photographer. 

Knowing what you want

So you’ve become engaged – congratulations! With such a beautiful step in life, you should be happy and not stressed.  But we all know that isn’t going to happen; all brides experience some sort of stress.  Photography is often one of them since it’s such an important part of the wedding.  A good rule of thumb when thinking about photography so that it doesn’t become overwhelming is to start off with knowing what you want and plan in advance.

Knowing what you want when it comes to photography can make all the difference in finding the right photographer.  Before you even begin to look for photographers, having the basic information is important.  Start with the date of your wedding.  Yes when that is finalized and booked with your venue, things start to come up.  But that is why planning in advance is important so that you don’t have deadlines and choices bombarding you right away.  Once you have a date to work with, at least you can eliminate photographers easier if they aren’t available for the date you want.  This will make it easier and less frustrating for you in the future.

Once you have a date, it’s a great step.  But what else should you figure out? Although you are in the beginning stages of planning, the more information the better it is.  Think about what you’re wanting from a photographer and from a photography package.  How many hours of coverage are you needing and do you want a second shooter? What is your budget like for a photographer? Are you happy with just a disk or are you looking for added features like albums and prints? How many locations will you want the photographer at and what are some of the important moments you for sure want captured? These will all become crucial to know when you are meeting with a photographer for the first time and helps when you are scouting out what ones will work for you.  Doing it now may seem like a burden, but it is one less thing to sneak up on you last minute.

Making a List

So you’re thinking about photographers and you do what everyone normally does: hop on the computer and start searching away.  The internet has made it fairly easy for brides to find the photographer they are looking for.  But the internet doesn’t just find you one result.  The search may take awhile and at the end you will end up with a large list.  That is a good thing though since it will give you more options to take into consideration.

When you are making your photography list, make sure that the photographers you are choosing have the style you want.  Every photographer takes pictures differently.  Look through their portfolios and make sure that they have pictures that match the style and technique you are looking for.  If they don’t, don’t add them to the list.  Just continue searching until you find those professional pictures that catch your eye.  Focus on the pictures and the quality, not on the price for the moment.  Price may be important but it can always be changed depending on what is in your package.  By focusing on the images, you can see the professionalism and creativity that meets your needs.  You can narrow them down later by price points.

Making contact

It’s getting closer to the wedding and you’re looking through your large list of photographers that you have gathered.  You are probably feeling a bit of stress at this point and wondering how you can narrow it down to a manageable amount, but don’t worry – that’s what we are here for.

There are several ways to narrow down your list.  You have already thought of the things that you want and should know the style that you’re looking for.  By revisiting the sites and looking through their portfolios again, there may be some that aren’t as attractive in their work.  If you don’t like all of their work, take them off the list.  You’re looking for someone who will give you the images that you want so it only makes sense to only have the ones that captures your attention the most.  Don’t go by the packages or the added features they can offer.  They may be important but getting stuck on the added things instead of on the quality of the work can lead you down a precarious path.  Just stick with the images for now.  By doing this, the list should be narrowed by a good portion.

Even with it narrowed down a bit though, you may still be stuck with a lot of photographers.  What now? Well, now it’s time to make contact.  By making contact you can better figure out if these photographers fit what you are looking for.  By calling or emailing them, you can figure out prices, availability, and packages that they offer.  If they aren’t available then they are obviously removed.  If they are way over your budget then you can also remove them from the list.  Keep going through them and don’t be afraid to ask question.  By the time you’re done, you should have a better sized list to work with.

With this smaller list in hand, you can now start the last part of your photographer journey: figuring out THE ONE.  Start by first trying to meet them in person.  Set up a meeting and make sure you are prepared before you go.  Have a list of questions (like the ones in the next section) so that you know you are dealing with a professional and not having a run for your money with an amateur.  The more questions you have, the more you will be able to get to know the photographer.  The more you know them, well then the more you’re going to know if they suit what you’re aiming for.

Asking Questions

             Your meetings have been set up: now what? Now comes the hard part – knowing what to ask.  But once again, we are here to help with that too in just a moment.  But meeting in person is a great decision to make.  It allows you to have face to face contact and allows you to get to know their personality more.  When you’re booking with a photographer, you’ll want them to have a similar personality and view of a wedding as you do.  With the meeting, both you and the photographer are getting to know each other and with that the photographer can better know your needs and plans for your wedding.  Why is that important you may ask? Well with more information the photographer can find packages to better fit your needs, which could make things cheaper, and can also help them to plan for better shots that are important to you.

             I bet you’re still stuck on the questions though.  I know I would be.  So here are some questions that you should ask and take into consideration before hiring your photographer.

1)     How much experience have you had as a wedding photographer and how long have you been in business? This question is probably the most important question of all.  It lets you determine the professionals from the amateurs.  Most professionals will have had experience not only from their own businesses but also from working alongside another professional as an assistant or second shooter.  A good way to keep in mind how good they are at weddings is to look at the amount of weddings they’ve shot.  1 – 5 weddings make them inexperienced.  6 – 10 make them an amateur or the equivalent of an assistant.  11 – 20 is getting closer to what you want since it means they are knowledgeable at least.  But the ones you should focus on the most are 21 – 30 (for experienced) and 31 or more (for professional).

2)     What kind of packages do you have? Another important question.  Packages have many ranges and you need to find one that fits what you want for the price that you want.  Most photographers are willing to work with you.  Don’t be afraid however, to cut back on things that you can get later if you really love a photographer.  If you spend less on added material and more on the photographer or second shooter, at least you know you will have images that you love and can get products of later on.

3)     What happens if you get sick or injured and can’t shoot my wedding? This is something that many people don’t think of until it’s too late.  Asking ahead of time can save you heartache later down the line.  Most professionals will have a second shooter that can come in their place or another professional they can get to come so that you aren’t stuck on your wedding day.  Knowing what they are capable of doing for you is smarter than risking not having a photographer on your wedding day.

4)     What are the qualifications of the second shooter? If you are deciding to have the second shooter or have been told that the second shooter is the “backup” for if something happens to the photographer you have chosen, then it is a good idea to ask what their credentials are.  Having a second shooter allows you to have more coverage, but if they don’t know what they are doing than you are just wasting money.  You should be able to be confident with both photographers.

5)     Do you specialize in formal, journalistic, or both? Photographers nowadays usually specialize in both.  More often times than not, the main photographer focuses more on the formal pictures while the second shooter does the journalistic aspects.  Knowing what your photographer is capable of doing is important though, especially if you want certain kinds of shots.

6)     How long does it take to get my finished images? This is a good question to ask so that you know when to expect your pictures.  If you need them for a certain time and the photographer is unable to meet that deadline, then it may be the deciding factor between one photographer and another.

7)     How will I receive my images? Usually photographers will make it known how you will receive images, especially if you are getting a packaged deal.  Knowing this is helpful though and if it isn’t clear, it may cause you to have to change decisions so that you get the images in the way you want.  A DVD disk with all the images is a standard way to receive your images, but it’s better to ask than to assume.

8)     What are the typical shots you concentrate on when shooting a wedding? Photographers all focus on different shots.  There are of course the main shots that you should have such as the prep of the bride and groom, the ceremonial procession, moments during the ceremony, family shots, romantic couple shots, reception entrance, toasts, dances, cake cutting, and other moments that stand out.  Learning the most about what they focus on can give you the chance to make sure they know what you want before they are caught in the moment of the wedding.

9)     Are there extra fees for visiting the site prior to the wedding? In most cases, the photographer will likely come to the site prior to the wedding to scope it out anyways.  But if you are looking for them to be at the rehearsal, you may want to figure out if there would be a fee for that in advance.

10)   Other questions: Other questions that you could ask depend on how comfortable you feel and the way you are approaching the photographer.  You could also ask if the photographer carries extra equipment, what attire they usually wear since it is a formal event, how many pictures they usually take per wedding on average, and questions regarding picture formats (such as RAW, jpeg, film, or digital).  It is ultimately up to you in regards to what you ask, but it’s always good to remember to get clarification and to ask as much as you can.

The Professional

             After all the hard work you have put into searching for your photographer, you feel confident in your decision.  You have narrowed down your search based on all your criteria, their experience, and based on the answers each one has given to your questions.  It was a tough decision in some cases, but you have finally got through one of the most important decisions of your wedding and come out with what you were searching for: a professional wedding photographer.  With great pictures captured with professionalism and quality care, you can finally say that the effort was worth it as you cherish your pictures for years to come.

Thanks for reading and hopefully these tips are helpful as you search for your photographer and enjoy your wonderful wedding day!

2) Advice to Bride’s on How to Choose the Right Photographer

             Choosing the right professional for your photography needs can be a very daunting task.  There are so many out there and you never know what your pictures will be like until they are already taken and given to you.  This can be a scary ordeal to consider.  Everyone wants their wedding pictures to be perfect.  So how do you get the right photographer for you? Well there are no guarantees unfortunately, but here are some ways to help get you on the right track!

1. What Do You Want From Your Photographer? This is a simple yet complex answer that you NEED to think of before you even start searching for a photographer.  Knowing the style, price range, date and hours needed, required shots, package requirements, type of attire you’d like them to wear, personality, and any other details that you can come up with, all will help you in the long run.  With this information, you can narrow down the thousands of photographers out there and come up with a nice list that you know can deliver what you’re looking for.

2. Meet, Greet, and Ask Questions.  Setting up an appointment and meeting with your potential photographers is a very important step.  Meeting them in person can give you a good indication on whether or not they are compatible with what you are looking for.  Meeting them enables you to see what their personality is like, gives you a chance to ask questions, allows you to discuss more in detail about your requirements and options for your package, and also can give you a chance to get your hands on one of their portfolios to look at.  You never know what a person is like until you meet them, so it is always a great chance to see what you’re up against.  While you’re there, also make sure that you ask a lot of questions.  The more the better!

3. Portfolio and Experience Level.  These two are probably the two key elements when choosing a photographer.  When you meet with them, make SURE you take a look at their portfolios.  Looking online is one thing, but looking at more of their work in albums allows you to ensure quality.  With the portfolio, it gives you an idea of their experience level, but you also want to ask them about it.  Ask how many weddings they’ve done, how many years of experience they’ve had, what their training has been?  Never be afraid to ask too many questions.  You are hiring them and you need to make sure that they are a seasoned photographer that can deliver the pictures you are looking for. 

Always keep these top three in mind when you are looking for a photographer – especially for your wedding! With these at the forefront of your thoughts, you can have much more success in finding the perfect photographer! All the best and happy hunting!

3) How to Spot the “Real Deal” When Looking for a Photographer

             Looking for a photographer has become a tough challenge for those in need of one.  Not only has technology made it so that there are seemingly endless amounts of options, but there is also something else that many may not even know of.  What is this unknown element when it comes to photography? Well let’s just say, don’t judge a book by its cover!

             In the age of technology, it has become quite easy to fake your professionalism as a photographer.  People want business and don’t necessarily care about how they go about getting it.  By “pulling the wool” over their clients eyes, they may get business but you may be taken for a ride.  The following portion of this article will talk about how they do it, and how you can protect yourself from falling victim to their charade.

Things That Fake Photographers Love To Do

             Fake photographers seem to be a dime a dozen these days.  Technology is endlessly providing ways for them to build up their portfolio and websites in order to draw people in.  Don’t be fooled by it! There are different ways to avoid it, but first, let’s introduce you to the different tricks that they have up their sleeves.

             Usually when trying to look for a photographer, the first thing people normally look at is the image portion of the website.  The images and portfolios are the most important part since it shows their work and the ability that they have.  At least that’s what you think it does most times.  In actuality, some fake photographers are counting on you to do just that and have come up with some ways to draw you in.

             How many of you have booked a photographer based on their portfolio, only to receive less than satisfactory photos at the end? Chances are, many of you have.  You may be like I was and wonder why the images on their portfolio are so much nicer than the ones you got.  Were they just having a bad day? Chances are, it wasn’t just a bad day!

             Although it may be shocking to hear, photographers are actually stealing images in order to make themselves look better.  Yes, they are using pictures that they didn’t even take! Going online, selecting images that look nice, and posting them to their websites, blogs, and portfolios, it can be hard to tell that they didn’t even take them.  They are even purchasing stock images in order to look “more professional”.  I’m sure that many are known for just buying a camera, setting up a website, and trying to draw you in by using pictures that real photographers have worked hard to produce.  It’s a sad reality that seems to be happening more and more.

             Unfortunately, adding stolen images is not the only thing these fake photographers do to draw in a crowd.  I know, you think that would be enough right? But these fake photographers are also adding padding to their resume and experience in other ways.  Posting false information about how long they have been “in business”, lying about their experience, and adding other information that they aren’t qualified to put are all ways that they further try to fool you.  No one will know they stole images or lied about what they have done in the past – at least that is what they are thinking and hoping for.  Thankfully, there are ways of avoiding this same scam from happening to you.

Tips of Things to Look For in Order to Avoid Those Fake Photographers!

             So now we are finally at the most important part of this article – how to tell when someone is being a fake.  Although it can be hard at times, these tips are here to help you hopefully eliminate some of these pesky photographers so that you can find one that will offer you quality images.  After all, no one likes a bad picture, let alone a bad picture that you have to pay for! Let’s get to those tips of things to look for, shall we?

Tip 1: Scrutinize the Displayed Images

There are different elements in a portfolio that you can zero in on in order to avoid being fooled.  Knowing them can make all the difference.  First off, pay attention to geographical clues.  If the photographer is based out of a certain area and you are seeing landscapes and geographical spots that aren’t in their area, then most likely they aren’t their own images.  Some photographers do travel and take pictures, but it is something you should still look into.

The second element you should pay attention to is consistency.  Photographers usually fall into a certain style of their own as they work.  The way they take pictures and edit them usually have a similar style that you can see.  If you are seeing many different styles of post processing and a lack of clear view of style, then chances are it’s because they are pictures collected from different photographers.  Making sure that their work is consistent is important and can save you from being taken for a ride as they try to con you into hiring them.

The third element involved with scrutinizing the photographs that are on their site is to pay attention to the wedding party in pictures.  Although they may have nice pictures, there are some clues that can raise red flags.  If most pictures have the subject looking away and not facing the camera, it’s probably safe to say that these pictures were taken as a guest at a wedding.  Yes some pictures can have stylistic elements involved where the bride and groom don’t look at the camera, but most times you want those sparkling eyes centered on your camera. 

Another thing to pay attention to with this third element is the wedding party.  Who is in the pictures? Some photographers do workshops in which they take pictures in a controlled setting.  While these pictures are still their own, they aren’t having to deal with the real issues involved in the movement of a wedding.  If the wedding party is missing apart from the bride and groom in the given images and seem immaculate, then it should tell you that these may not have been taken at a real wedding.

When all else fails, you can also resort to the last option to scrutinize their images.  Google offers just the right way to do it! Using their reverse image tool, it allows you to track where the image originally came from.  If the images are stolen, this handy little tool will easily catch the culprit red handed.

Tip 2: Check into Their Online Presence

             A photographer may have a fancy site to direct you to, but what else do they have? Check more into their online presence.  Check to see if they have another site or a Facebook page.  If they don’t, then they may not have much of a history and this should be a red flag.  But even if they do, you still need to be cautious.  Look on their other sites.  You should be paying attention to their images.  If those images don’t match their other site or are of lesser quality, then chances are they are using someone else’s images.

             While you are checking into their online presence, you should also Google the photographer’s name.  By doing so, you can learn more about them and see if there are any discrepancies surrounding them.  You can also find out more about their work and perhaps even reviews by other clients.  These can be valuable tidbits of information.

Tip 3: Meet in Person

             Now we all probably know that meeting in person is an important part of choosing a photographer.  Why? Well it is important because not only can you get to know their personality and character, but you can also see more examples of their work as you discuss your photography needs.  By seeing a portfolio of their work, you can see what they are capable of.  Yes some fake photographers can be extra sneaky and print other photographer’s images, but you can still see if they are consistent and match ones like on their site.

             Meeting the photographer in person can also allow you to ask more questions.  Pay attention to their body language when they answer.  Some people are usually easy to catch in a lie.  While you are there, you can also ask for references so that you can contact them.  You are hiring this photographer and it should be no different than any other job process.  The more information and reviews you have, the less you’ll regret your final decision.

Tip 4: Ask to See More

             So as you’re looking through the photographer’s site, you may see a stunning image that takes your breath away.  But there is only one of that event.  If this happens to you, don’t be shy about asking the photographer to show you more.  Many people can get a few “great” shots, but having hundreds is harder for an amateur or fraud to achieve.  By asking to see the whole event, you are given a chance to see more of their work and determine if they meet the skill set you are requiring.

Tip 5: Talk to Others Before Deciding

Although this last tip may not work for all photographer situations, it never hurts to get a second opinion.  You may have looked up reviews or even asked for references and called them.  Those are both great, yet another idea is to also ask your wedding planner or others around you for their opinion.  Wedding planners often know more about photographers in the area and can give you insight.  If they have heard something about the photographer, they can give you valuable information on whether or not they come recommended.  Others around you can look into them as well and tell you if they think that particular photographer is a good investment.  Sometimes another pair of eyes can catch something you didn’t or they have different connections and experiences that can be helpful.

Do You Feel Prepared?             Reading this article, I have let you in on some information that fake photographers don’t want you to know.  With stolen images and false information, the world of technological advances only makes it easier to falsify who you are.  But following the 5 tips I have highlighted throughout this article, hopefully they will give you a glimpse into how to be more prepared and aware.  Following them may just save you from falling victim to those con artists.  Just remember – stay smart, be aware, and don’t be afraid to question things that are put out in front of you.  Good luck on your hunt for that perfect photographer!