Are you searching for a wedding photographer? Not sure where to start or what to look for? Today, I look at the process of finding, interviewing, and hiring a photographer for your wedding. Weddings happen in real-time. Selecting the right photographer should be on the top of a bride’s list so read everything here. Your children and grandchildren want to see you the way you looked like on your happiest day, on your wedding day.
I have also included a useful list of questions to ask a wedding photographer at the bottom as well. Comments are more than welcome, and best of luck in your search!
Is it important to meet the wedding photographer before you make your decision?
In today’s world, it is tempting to look for and book a photographer online or over the phone. While I certainly think that looking at online portfolios is important, face to face consultation will give you the best and most accurate picture of who your photographer is. You can immediately tell whether the wedding photographer would be a person you would invite to your wedding! If he/she is a person who is hard to deal with, go and find another one. You will want to feel comfortable with the photographer! Your photographer will be the person who spends the most amount of time with you. He/she will be with you ALL DAY! This is why a face to face meeting is crucial.
Additionally, web galleries are important but you may want to really find out whether the pictures in the online gallery were taken by the photographer. Some “photographers” “borrow” images from other sites; some others purchased the photography company from a fellow photographer with all the beautiful work of the former owner. Others assisted photographers and was allowed to use the professional photographers pictures for presentations. Of course, they will forget to tell you that they didn’t actually take the pictures… You would be shocked if you knew who often this happens. Once I saw my own image edited and posted on someone’s website offering “authentic” style…! Only when you see the pictures of your wedding, you will realize the dramatic “difference”! Try to have a feel about the person and listen to your instincts.
Is liking the wedding photographer’s photos enough? Should the photographer be a good match in terms of personality?
What should you do if you don’t like the photographer’s work but you like the photographer peronally. Regardless of how much you like the photographer and their studio, it’s irrelevant if you don’t like the work they produce. You won’t like them later if you are unhappy with the outcome of your photographs. Once you have identified photography that you love, then you can evaluate other factors, such as personality, responsiveness and the way in which the photographer works. I recommend that you meet the wedding photographer personally. Warning! There are companies out who employ many photographers. The problem is that you never know who you eventually get. In addition, the wedding photographer is not interested in producing exceptional quality because they won’t be personally associated with the results. They are only an employee of a company! You are only an assignment on their list they have to accomplish before they get their next paycheck. Of course they promise everything but the sad reality is that they will move on and will focus on the next number on their list (i.e. the next wedding) and they don’t really care about your feelings…
It is not necessary for the photographer to be your best friend, but it is helpful if you feel their personality is a good match and will make you more comfortable on your wedding day.
Why do wedding photographers ask many questions about the ceremony and the reception site?
The single important factor in photography is LIGHT. It is more important than the camera or the lens! Therefore, knowing the what lighting will be available during the reception is crucial. We shouldn’t forget that the literal meaning of the word “photography” is painting (graphy) with light (photo). Also, often there are flash restrictions for the ceremony (i.e. in a church) and outdoor locations. Therefore it is critical to plan ahead in order to produce high quality photography. In addition, photographers that are familiar with a venue have the advantage of knowing ideal areas for photography at the location. This can help reduce the time of formals and keep things feeling fluid.
If a couple is on a specific budget, what are some ways they can get the most for their money?
The golden rule apply here as well: you get what you pay for. Having said that, there are ways to lower the cost of the wedding photography if you are on a budget.
Sometimes you can go with less time on your wedding day. Some weddings need 8 hours of coverage, others can do it in 6 or 4. You can always add on time closer to the day of your wedding if you need to.
Most photographers offer packages with wedding albums and without. You can opt to pay for really good coverage now, then get your album later. That way you have amazing pictures and great coverage, which is something you can never go back on. You can always go back and get your album.
What you don’t want is a third photographer or an associate photographer! They are not really interested in keeping high quality standards. I have heard horror stories. So just don’t do it!
Be honest about your budget, what you are willing and able to spend, and the right vendor will work with you.
Why is wedding photography so expensive?
Because it is a lot of work even when it seems like the photographer shows up on the wedding day, snaps some photos for a few hours, and then weeks later delivers a product. Most of the work that wedding photographers do is behind-the-scenes. The entire editing usually takes several days. Followed by more backing up of edited images, which takes more days. We are then tasked with blogging those images, creating proofing materials, working with clients to create a beautiful album layouts, submitting albums to manufacturers, ordering and shipping enlargements, and finally meeting with the clients to deliver all promised items. All of these little steps take time. A normal wedding from start to finish probably takes us anywhere from 45-70 hours to complete. We are constantly working to provide our clients with the best possible experience from their wedding photography in terms of customer service as well as the artwork itself.
What kind of advice do you give to couples to prepare for an engagement photography session?
With engagement sessions, you only need to think about two things;
- where do you want to be photographed, and
- what you want to wear.
Usually, you pick a place which means something for you, where you feel comfortable, where you like to spend time without an engagement photographer. As far as the dress is concerned, make sure you aren’t clashing in colors or styles. After all, you can always keep several sets of dresses in the car and you can always change. The first 10-20 minutes all the couples are a little bit stiff. You don’t feel comfortable to touch and kiss your partner in front of a photographer, etc. This is totally normal. It goes away. If yo know that your partner is particularly sensitive and the stiffness won’t go away, well, a beer can always have relaxing effect…But don’t drink too much please!
What are the advantages of digital photography over film photography? Are there any disadvantages?
Today digital photography equals, and even surpasses, film in numerous ways. “With the development of high-megapixel cameras and the refinement of the post-production techniques, digital photography is clearly the winner. From the photographer’s point of view, the image can be seen right there when it is taken and the photographer can modify the camera settings to make you look better. At the end of the day you have more usable pictures. In the old days, photographers created lots of useless images because they only saw the results days after the wedding. Also, you can expect more images you’re your photographer because extra images cost nothing extra on a digital camera. The film camera requires more film which makes your photography budget higher. You are the clear winner. In addition, digital negatives have the advantage of instant availability. With film there is always several extra elements, such as; chemical processing and scanning. Of course these entail more cost and time. Furthermore, film has the drawback of being wasteful due to the chemicals involved in processing and manufacturing the film. Additionally, film negatives are eventually scanned into digital form anyways.
Do I want a second photographer to assist the photographer?
To get to the point, you’ll receive a greater variety of compelling and interesting images from the day if you have two photographers. A wedding day is filled with so many incredible moments, it NOT possible for a single photographer to capture it all. Whoever tells the opposite, 4 eyes (i.e. two lenses) can see more than 2 eyes. The entire day is captured and preserved from two different perspectives with different angles, unique yet complimentary styles, and different moments. One photographer can focus on you preparing for the wedding while the other one is taking pictures of the groom and the groom’s party. Of course an experienced single photographer can do a great job recording the day’s events, but two photographers can capture almost twice as many moments in a wedding. Even, if there is no second photographer, an assistant of the photographer can make a difference.
Unique Pictures – Interesting Wedding Pictures
I hate broing, posed images, so you do! My goal is to create unique, astonishingly beautiful pictures but also images that are interesting! In order to help me with this I need some background information about you guys. It is always a great idea to give your photographer a brief description of what your family members mean to you, what their hobbies are rather than giving a list of names. Also, you may give your wedding photographer a little background on your family. Also, if you want you can take something with you to the BIG DAY which symbolizes you or your groom. For example, if the groom is a football player, take a ball and two helmets with you. I will take pictures of you in the wedding dress goofing around in the football helmet. These ARE the pictures you will always remember. Also, your hubby will never forget that you were so considerate to include his beloved sport in the day. If you want to bring these things with you but think no one will like them or they will be cheesy, bring them. It’s amazing how quickly everyone loosens up when they know other people look silly too.
Also don’t stick to the ordinary! Scout out the area around your reception location for some interesting spots or places that mean something to you both. Go to an art museum, where you met the first time, you first time kissed, your university campus, the place your favorite restaurant or hang out spot. Expand those wedding day horizons! The more you think about where you want those unique photos taken, the better they’re going to be because your personality will show through.”
Can you explain me the photography rights?
Wedding hotographers almost always retain the copyright to their images but handle the rights use to their work in one of three ways.
- The first category of wedding photographers are those who grant no usage rights at all. Well, you don’t want this! These photographers might include prints but no digital files in their wedding packages and require you to purchase from the photographer any additional enlargements, wedding albums, cards etc. Again, you don’t want this.
- Some photographers include a DVD with all the high-resolution digital files in their wedding packages usually grant their clients “personal usage rights” to their photos. This means the clients can take the disc of images to a photo lab to make prints for their friends and family for personal usage. However, this doesn’t not permit you to sell the images for profit without the wedding photographer’s permission and usually without compensating the photographer for that commercial use.
- The third type of photographers grants you partial or delayed usage rights of your photos. For example, it can mean that they retain all rights to their work for a year from the wedding date and then grant personal usage rights at that point. These wedding photographers also sometimes require their clients to sign a waiver releasing the photographer from any obligation to store and maintain the digital images for the clients.
The most important point is to make sure that you have right to use your photographs! Please, please, READ the contract and don’t rely on the photographer telling you that is it not important!!! I just don’t want you to be in a bad situation! If you are not sure what rights are granted to you, please call me at least; 786 444 9743. Your wedding photographer should not only outline but also SPECIFICALLY define what their policy is on copyrights in your contract.
When to take the formal group pictures?
Photographers almost always prefer to arrange for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony, so that they can get all the formal group shots before the wedding. There are lots of advantages to this approach. The wedding day is not interrupted with the formal group shoots and the photographers can more focus on the candid, natural actions. After the ceremony the entire wedding party can head right to the cocktail reception and get the party started without missing a beat! Of course, I can always do the family and wedding party immediately following the ceremony. I don’t necessarily want the family or wedding party to enter the reception until we are done with the group photos. I just don’t want to pull them out of the crowd during the cocktail hour! Don’t be afraid to create a photo list if you want one. Ask a loved one to check off the photo list.
What if the bride and groom really don’t want to see each other before the weddingceremony?
If you want to stick with tradition and not see each other before the ceremony, don’t worry, you can still have plenty of time for photos! Remember – wedding photography is one of the most important things – it’s what is left at the end of the day, so make sure to take the time you need for the photos! I usually like start to work with the largest group shot first (grandparents, relatives, small children), then the immediate family (siblings) and then the parents following by several with the entire wedding party with the bride and groom last. This allows the chaos to disperse faster and allows their parents to get to the reception quickly so they can host.
If we don’t have time for the photos right after the ceremony or it gets dark by the time the ceremony finishes and you want to have the photos in natural light, we still have the option of a post-wedding’ portrait session. These sessions can take place as soon as the day after the wedding and can be done in the same location as your wedding or something totally different, for a different look. Outdoor pictures later in the day can be extremely difficult here in Miami, FL. If you hire a destination wedding photographer, please make sure that he/she knows the sunset that day. Wedding photographers in Miami know that the lack of light at the end of the day can be a problem because in South Florida, the sun sets quiet early all the time. This month the sunset time is around 7.00 – 7.30pm. Of course, we can always create artificial light, but it is not the same. This is your BIG DAY, and you want the pictures to be perfect.
Questions you may want to ask the wedding photographer:
Will you be shooting my pictures personally? Is this the photographer that will be photographing your wedding or will they send somebody who happens to be available? Unfortunately, this happens more often than you can imagine. I don’t know about business practices outside of Florida, but Miami wedding photographers that employ third photographers often send photographers “ad hoc” to weddings. You basically get whoever is available that day. You don’t want that.
Who will I be dealing with after the wedding?
Do you shoot with zoom or prime lenses? Prime lenses are much superior to zoom lenses. This questions is the most important questions if you want to find out whether the photographer has the best equipment and ready to meet your expectations. Zoom lenses are an indication of a lesser quality while prime (non-focus lenses) are the best ever.
What is your photography style; photojournalistic, traditional, mixed, etc.,?
What are the costs of the various levels of coverage? Are there different degrees of coverage?
Do you have back up equipment?
Can you photograph our ceremony without flash?
Do you have telephoto and wide-angle lenses?
What is your backup plan should you become ill?
How many images do you shoot at a typical wedding?
What time will you begin and how long will you stay until?
How will you show me wedding pictures for selection (e.g., electronic, proofs, contact sheets, online gallery, etc.)?
Do I get the high resolution files? Is there an additional cost, and may I make prints from those files?
How many images do you typically deliver to your clients?
When can I expect to see my wedding photographs?
Do you bring an assistant?
How about engagement session?
Do you have a sample wedding photography contract?
Do you charge overtime fee?
Are other people allowed to take pictures while the photographer is?
What is your favorite part of a wedding day to photograph?
What has influenced your photography style the most, and why?
Why are you a wedding photographer?
If you want to look at the language of a general wedding photography contract, please click here.
If you have any questions or you want to schedule a wedding photography consultation, please give us a call: 786 444 9743, send us an email to email@example.com or visit Miami Wedding Photographer’s website.