When all those vows and speeches are done and that special day is about to end, the only things that would be left behind are those moments and memories you shared with your respectable guests and of course, your life partner. Those moments can be captured in photographs and when it comes to hiring a wedding photographer, you need to be 100% sure that you are hiring a professional person or team. Some couples might not consider it a big thing at first but they will surely regret it right away when the slideshow of their wedding pictures will be played in front of everybody.
A relative or friend with a camera can never give you such quality as a professional could. If the event is really important for you then having the right wedding photographer by your side can be priceless. For that purpose, here are some tips to figure out the best and hire the one that fits your requirements and comes up with your expectations.
1. Ask the photographers for insurance
Yes, there is insurance for photographers, actually, there are two. One is the equipment insurance and the other one is the liability insurance. The former one is for the equipment the photographer carries which is extremely expensive and even a slight damage can cause a lot to the photographer. In case their equipment worth thousands of dollars gets stolen, they would be unable to comply with their commitments and blame the venue management that’s why the equipment insurance is a must-have. The later one ensures that if any single person gets hurt due to the equipment of the photographer, (which would normally never happen), the venue management would not be held responsible.
That is the reason why most venues do not allow photographers without the liability insurance to take photos at their site. Look for a photographer that carries a copy of both forms of insurance, it would also portray their level of professionalism.
2. Ask for their recent work portfolio
What can be a better way to judge a person’s work if not his previous work? Let them know that you are comparing the portfolios of several photographers to choose the best one. It is better to ask them for a complete portfolio from the beginning to end instead of just seeing a couple of couple photos.
If the photographer has a personal portfolio website then you can visit it and match his photography style with your desire, and if you think it aligns perfectly with what you are looking for, you are good to go with him.
In addition, many photographers would hit you with some inspirational shoots that they did in the ideal lighting situation but you must always go for the portfolio in which they shoot a real wedding because it would help you understand their work in a better way as in most weddings it’s quite tough to shoot in challenging conditions.
3. Ask them for a budget
When you come to a point where you are somehow clear about hiring one for your wedding event then make sure you talk about the budget right away. Most people want their wedding photographs to look highly appealing and professional but they are usually under budget. This probably happens because they have never hired a person for a professional wedding shoot before. Every photographer isn’t the same; they vary experience to experience and equipment to equipment. Professional photographers who have high budgets also come with the most high-tech equipment and the photographers that demand less might have midrange equipment and even less experience.
However, no matter how high or how low their budget is, you still have the right to negotiate it as a client. Most professionals have fixed wedding photography rates but if you talk them through, they might give you some discount. A professional photographer would not just capture quality photos but the way he interacts with everyone would also be far more superior.
A seasoned professional might spend more than 50 hours on a single wedding shoot and the wedding day is only a minor part of his service, the real thing starts in the post-processing where he has to go through thousands of photos, select the best out of them and make them more perfect through some touchups.
So, you must make up your mind that if you want quality and professional work then you must increase your budget. If you are on a low budget then go for a budgeted photographer, but still, never compromise on quality when it comes to a special event such as a wedding.
4. Ask some appropriate answers
It would be great to have a set of right questions that can help you know your photographer in-depth and clear all your confusions.
Here are some questions that you can ask when you get in touch with the photographer:
- Are other people/guests allowed to have cameras on the wedding day?
- Do you have or follow a specific photography style? How would you and your clients describe your wedding photography style?
- What if you don’t get the ideal lighting setup at the venue? How would you manage everything?
- What is your favorite thing about the wedding photography?
- How would you work under stress in specific conditions?
- Do you have a team or you shoot solo?
- Do you have any recommendations for the vendors to help us make the things go smoothly? Can you refer someone to us?
- What would be the average turnaround time for the final images after the wedding? (here, faster doesn’t mean the better. Good things take time)
- What publications right do you have? What rights would we have?
- Do you believe in heavy post editing? If no, then do you think pictures without heavy editing can look great right from the camera?
- Do you also offer wedding props?
- Do you have any ideal outdoor/indoor location to shoot at?
Don’t hesitate to ask several questions from the photographer, being a professional he would love to answer all your queries with confidence. These questions are important because the photographer you are hiring might be covering several wedding events per year, but that doesn’t mean he has dealt with an event similar to yours (or maybe if he has, it would be great!).
5. Get some real reviews on them
Many couples would gift their photographer great reviews on their website or social media pages (if they have one of them). Make sure you follow up with some of their clients and get to know their weaknesses too. You can either ask the photographer to connect you with any of his previous clients or you can search for them on your own and get to know about the one you are hiring, in more detail.
Past couples would be more than happy to share with you their real reviews about the whole photography session.
6. Ask how they would handle the lighting
It is one of the most important and crucial aspects of any type of photography. If your event will take place in a bright and evenly lit indoor hall or during the daytime, then you must skip this point and go to the next one, but if not, then this section is certainly for you.
If you have an outdoor wedding setup or getting married in a place that doesn’t have the best lighting such as a shady and dark church then your first priority should be to look for a photographer who is skilled in such lighting environment. In such a situation, some photographers would be using external lights or studio lights to bring the lighting under control and some of them would be using high-end cameras to utilize and extend their maximum strength. Make sure you choose someone who works by combining both of these factors; you will be glad to see how the final pictures turn out to be.
7. Ask how would they deliver the finished work
Once your memorable wedding is over, you will be eager to get your hands on your photos. Now, this is the right time to figure out how this is going to work for you. Contact your photographer and ask him about the timeline to deliver the work. Most photographers have a lot of events to cover during the high season so if you are looking for a faster delivery then you won’t be able to get flawless work. Let your photographer take some time so he can post-process all of your photos in a relaxed way.
Will you get the photos in high-resolution JPG or in an album book? (Hint: you want High-res JPGs for sure), you can also order prints from the photographer later on. If you want to control where your photos are published then you can decide it with your photographer before the delivery (Most photographers publish your photos on their social media pages or website, since it is free advertising and would also help you negotiate on this basis). If you do not want your photos to be published anywhere, then they can charge you a little extra for it.
Also find out if you will get those unprocessed pictures or not, as most photographers recommend that you do not publish their unprocessed work.
These tips won’t just help you choose the right photographer for your wedding but also help you out in making your wedding event smooth and tension-free. At the end of the day, make sure you have the answers to all your questions that you ask from the photographer as it will matter a lot in having a good interaction with him throughout the event. Happy Wedding!