Hiring your wedding photographer is one of the most important vendor decisions you will make of your wedding. Your wedding photographer will spend so much time with you on your big day– from highs and lows, putting on your dress, emotional ceremonies, first dances, and send off.
Not only am I a wedding photographer, but I was also a bride. I remember trying to sort through all of my quotes and prices for every single wedding vendor and feeling SO overwhelmed. I had absolutely no idea where to start. I didn’t know what was a reasonable price, when to know if I was being ripped off, or what was a value.
I knew wedding photography was super important and as a photographer, I was really set on finding the BEST photographer for Aaron and I (shout out to Elizabeth Large Photography! She was awesome in 2013 and even MORE awesome now!).
I thought I would share some important tips for anyone reading this article who may be looking for a wedding photographer. There are multiple reasons why hiring a GOOD photographer is important, but how do you know if they are good?
Sure, maybe they have an amazing social media presence, 12K followers, or they are just giving you a really good deal. But the unfortunate thing, is I hear all the time, “I hate our wedding photos”, “Their photos on their website were AWESOME! I don’t know what happened”, “My photographer lost our photos”, “I wish I would have hired someone who knew what they were doing”. So the question is, HOW do you avoid this?!
There is a lot of trust that goes into hiring a wedding photographer. You don’t just want someone with a camera. You want someone who is specifically trained to handle extreme situations, experience in dark and natural light, and someone who is an actual business.
Are you ready for my tips?!
1). “Do you have backup equipment?”
I have a lot of clients ask this question with hesitancy, as if they are afraid they are going to offend me by asking. PLEASE ask this question. It is SO important. A photographer should have a back up plan if anything goes wrong or breaks. Ask if they have multiple batteries, lenses, camera bodies, and memory cards.
For example: I carry at least two camera bodies with me at all times. That is the base of my entire camera unit and if one were to fall and break, I have a second one. All of my packages come with an assistant/second shooter, so I have their equipment accessible as well.
2). “Are you licensed, insured, and a legal business?”
This is also such an important question. I am seeing more and more venues requiring licensed and insured vendors to even step foot on their property to participate in working a wedding.
Why does this matter? Would you hire someone to build your house who wasn’t licensed? What about a dentist? Just like making any decision you make to pay someone for a service, you need to make sure they are reputable. This is the same way for a wedding photographer (or any other wedding vendor).
3). “Do you have a contract?”
I have seen so many photo requests for last minute photographers because someone’s photographer bailed. Why weren’t they protected? They didn’t have a contract.
What happens if you photographer doesn’t hold up their end of the deal? A contract legally protects yourself as well as your photographer. Even if you are friends with your photographer, you need a contract.
If you photographer doesn’t provide a contract, he/she are most likely not an established business and I would run far away.
4). “What happens to my images after the wedding?”
I have personally heard stories from friends and on Facebook about how wedding photographs were damaged, lost, or disappeared. Ask your photographer what they do with your files after the wedding day is finished. Most professional photographers secure and backup RAW files in multiple places in case anything were to happen. I don’t keep all of my files just in one place.
Example: First, my camera records two memory cards at one time. I record on each photo on two cards throughout the wedding day and as soon as I get home, I back up all of the images to an external source. They are also backed up on a cloud source as well. Until wedding images are officially delivered to my client, they are in 4 different places at one time.
Someone losing your photos would be tragic. Your wedding day can’t be replicated and I take that very seriously.
5). “Can I see an entire wedding gallery?“
You LOVE your photographers photos that they posted on their social media, right? That’s awesome. It is so important to see how a photographer handles a wedding day from start to finish. Their outdoor portraits may be beautiful but what about ceremony and reception? What about family photos? How well do they handle low light situations?
Most photographers will be more than happy to show you a full gallery!
Are you a wedding photographer or someone who is newly married?Comment below if you have anything else that you would add to this list!