How To Select your Wedding Photographer
Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Wedding or a Portrait Photographer
This is what you should be asking every photographer before you hire them capture them to photograph your wedding or capture portraits for your family
- Will I have a contract, signed by both parties, that says what services are provided and what products are in my package- Know exactly what you are getting before you hand over money and Know what products will cost if they are not included in your package.
- Approximately how many images do you deliver for an average wedding
- Are all of the images edited
- Show me an edited image and show me an image for my wedding album
- Do you charge extra for photoshop work
- Are their any additional charges for editing that are not represented in your pricing
- Do I get full size files returned to me for my personal printing needs
- Know How much prints and products cost BEFORE you go to a studio to select photos and/or products from a portrait session or a wedding
- Can I send my images to a magazine to be published
- Can I display my images on my social media pages
- Can I edit my images after you deliver them to me
- Can I get the Raw files or negatives
- I don't want my images displayed on your website or social media pages
- Do I get a wedding album or can I make my own album.
- Do I have to come into your sales office to select images for my album
- Can I select images for the album on-line
- Does it cost extra $$ Money to make changes to my wedding Album
- Can my parents get a duplicate wedding album and how much does that cost
- Do you charge additional $$ to provide wedding files to my parents
- Do we get a Thumb drive with our images or are the delivered electronically
- How long does it take before I get my images from the wedding day
- Are the photos on your website from real weddings
The Importance of a Contract
Never under any circumstances hire a wedding photographer without a written contract that is signed by both parties. The contract should indicate what comes with the coverage and how much you will pay for coverage. If there's no contract then do not hire the photographer and do not put any money towards a deposit for the wedding. No contract means you cant go to a court of law to collect for damages for breach of services and lost money.
Are the images displayed on your website from REAL weddings?
We have seen an alarming trend in the industry over the past 5 yrs with companies that take inexperienced photographers to training seminars and capture perfect images under controlled conditions for their websites. These are commonly known as styled shoots. New photographers that attend these styled shoots to get website images for marketing purposes are often not able to deliver these same looks and styles on a real wedding day because they don't have the lighting skill sets to recreate these images. Make sure to ask any potential photographer to show you images that they have captured themselves at a customer wedding. Ask to see a complete wedding work flow from the photographer.
Natural light photographers vs Photographers who use professional lightingThis is very very important to consider for your wedding day. Wedding photographers must have skill sets to capture great images in all types of lighting conditions. This means that if you have to capture formals pictures of the bridal party at 2PM in bright midday lighting conditions, professional off camera flash lighting will often be required to capture acceptable images. Natural light photographers will have to expose for the front side of their clients which often results in blown out non blue sky's and an over exposed washed out look in most cases for the images. Professionals who know how to use supplemental lighting can expose for conditions clients are in and capture images that have blue sky's and the actual look for the conditions you have for your wedding day. There is also the advantage of not having to spend countless hours in post processing to fix images which causes delays in getting the images returned to you after the wedding.
With that said, there are many talented photographers who can use natural light and shoot mid day to obtain nice images. Scouting locations in advance to find areas of open shade or dark backgrounds and using the natural light as a main light source for portraits works well in some cases. Locations and time of day will dictate how to capture portraits with natural light use. A photographer who uses Professional lighting can capture images anywhere as long as customers backs are to the sun . Again, ask to see examples of natural light use for mid day portraits when you interview your photographer.
Unique Moments Photography captures images with off camera flash lighting and we use natural light when it will create the best images for you. However there are many times when the use of off professional lighting is a better and more expedient option for wedding day needs. Photographers must be able to capture images on your timeline and not wait for ideal conditions for use of natural light. Use of off camera flash allows photographers to have total control in the lighting process so they can capture properly exposed images in very bright and harsh lighting conditions. Typically this is Between 12:00 through 4:00 pm for mid day lighting where use of professional lighting produces the best results. Your best bet is to retain photographers who have both skill sets and can get you the best results possible for the timeline that you have with the venue you have selected.
Last point. Wedding receptions are very very dark in most cases. Professional Photographers will need to understand how to use a flash inside wedding reception areas to capture acceptable images. Even though the cameras we now use are very good in dark conditions to capture noise free images, use of a flash and the skill sets of how to properly use a flash are needed. Ask to view wedding images from the receptions. Be sure the photographer knows how to capture great images in extremely dark conditions like a wedding reception.
Hourly rates vs all day coverage
This is huge consideration for brides and families to consider. Not all weddings will take place in a 4-6 hour timeline and some weddings will require 10-12 hrs of the photographers time to capture it properly. When looking at packages that photographers offer find out how long they will be with you for the day. Do not sell yourself short for the wedding photographer coverage for the event. The majority of weddings are often 8-12 hour events when you factor getting ready, formal pictures before or after the ceremony, the actual ceremony and the wedding reception. And the wedding reception is where the real party takes place. So much happens at receptions. Cake cutting, speeches, first dances, bridal party dances, garter and bouquet tosses and the popular fireworks exit shots and sunset shots. This all happens after the ceremony.
Also, brides getting ready and getting into the dress with their mothers and bridal party are some of the most important images of the day. It's where the real emotions tend to be captured when No one is looking. Some of our very best candid photos are from the getting ready portion on the day with the father daughter and mother daughter moments when getting ready. Also the father daughter dances also result is highly emotional impact type images. Weddings are tough and very emotional for fathers of the bride so consider this when you decide on how much coverage you will need for your wedding. Some of the very best images wont be captured if your photographer is not there to look for these emotional moments
Unique Moments Photography offers all day coverage for the majority of our packages but we also have 5-7 hr packages for smaller weddings and smaller events.
Image Delivery Time
This is huge. We are hearing from countless brides and families that it has taken their photographer 6 months or more to get their images delivered to them from the wedding day. This is ridiculous. Don't allow this to happen to you.
This is where professional full time photographers stand out from part time inexperienced photographers that work in the industry. Unique Moments Photography delivers images within 10-14 days after the wedding is completed. Often we deliver within the first 10 days. This is our full time regular gig. We capture images 100% right in the camera so we don't have to spend hours in editing and/or fixing images to get an acceptable look. Use of professional off camera flash for portraits and formals, use of flashes at wedding receptions and 475 plus weddings captured gives us the experience to capture great images and to deliver them in an acceptable time period. We feel that anything longer than 30 days in not acceptable for image delivery to any client.
Once the images are edited and the albums are designed there is no additional work on the photographers part to add additional albums, so ask if you get those albums at cost.All the work is done with the original album and edited prints. We sell all duplicate parent albums at Mfg cost.
We are sure we have missed some questions. But these are what most brides have told us were their main considerations when they hired a wedding photographer for the wedding. If you have specific questions you would liked to get answered, please feel free to drop us an email. We would be happy to help you any way we can.
How Do People Choose A Wedding Photographer?
We have captured over 475 weddings since 2007 and we have participated in bridal panels with real brides and families. We have asked them how they decided on a wedding photographer for their wedding. The answers will surprise you but they have been accurate for 12 yrs. It basically breaks down into 3 areas for almost everyone.
One - Experience
Most wedding photographers have less than 5 yrs experience of actually capturing weddings and the majority of these photographers leave the profession within 7 yrs. Reasons vary, however the big ones are that weddings are time consuming and they are physically difficult for the photographer doing the job. And weddings require good skill sets to capture images in any lighting condition. Many newer photographers don't have the skill sets and quickly go out of business.
Two - Price for services
New photographers are attracted to weddings because they think its an easy way to make money. Good experienced wedding photographers will often start at $2000.00 Plus to capture your day. Newer photographers quickly find out that the dedication to this profession has very little do do with the $$$ Money they will make doing the job. Its very hard work. Wedding Photography is all about the love of doing the job and the joy wedding photographers get from working with the families and the couples to document the day they have envisioned.
That said, Despite what anyone will tell you from the photography community, the national averages for wedding photography services across the country are $1,200.00-$2,800.00 for 83% of the entire bridal market. Feel free to click on the link that is provided. It will direct you to the wedding industry reports from the library of congress. It breaks down costs for services by zip codes across the country. It tells you what people have paid for services in the areas that they live in. very simple and straight forward to use.
Three - Artistic vision for your day
This is the major variable. You need to look at the photographers website and see if the images that they have on their websites represent the look and style you will want captured for your day. This will vary from photographer to photographer. However, there are some things you must be aware of and questions that you must ask every photographer that will be considered for the job.