Looking for the perfect photographer? Here are some tips to keep in mind while you are shopping around.
Style: Every photographer sees the world a little differently and that lends itself to how they express their vision through photography. Zero in on what you like. A word of caution, I see a lot of processing fads such as over exposed hyper-contrast looks nowadays. Sometimes these effects are sublimely executed and the end results are truly striking. Mullets, shoulder pads, and extra baggy jeans have all been popular at some point. Without a doubt they are all cringe worthy in retrospect. I know there are trends happening right now that seem super fresh and cool, but will look so “2013” when we look back on them someday. We grow and change as people but the photos never will. You are going to have these images for the rest of your life as documentation of a very important day.
Natural Light: Watch out for photographers who say they only use natural light. This isn’t something to brag about, it translates into a lack of experience with on location lighting. Natural light can give you super awesome photos, but photographers don’t have control over sun light. There will be times when available day light is totally unsuitable and unflattering. Photos in dark reception areas will have very poor quality without the use of off camera flash as well. Realize how important light is and how important it is for your photographer to understand how to use it.
First Contact: Contact a few photographers you are interested in. You want someone who is easy to get in touch with and will be there when you need them. How responsive was the photographer to your initial inquiry and additional correspondences? This will give you an idea of how promptly they will be getting back to you as your wedding date approaches.
Experience: How many weddings have been photographed by the photographer? How often do they work weddings? Experience allows the photographer to be quick on their feet and be able to deal with complex lighting issues and other problems that may arise. You may never even realize there was a problem if you have hired a professional who has the experience to quickly deal with anything that comes at them.
Compatibility: You are entering into a new relationship here. I’m talking about with the photographer, not your fiance. Meet or call the photogs you like. Do they feel like somebody you wouldn’t mind being around all day? I’m not necessarily saying you should get ice cream together on a regular basis, but this person is going to be with you ALL day on your wedding. Do you sense personality conflicts? Do you feel comfortable with this person?
Professionalism: Do they carry back up gear? Are they insured? These are some surface indicators that can tell you the photographer takes their business seriously and in turn will be prepared to deal with any issues that may arrive during the wedding.
Primary Photographer: Does the contract state who the primary photographer will be at your wedding? Is it going to be the same individual who met with you and showed such stellar work? Larger studios often have a team of photographers who cover multiple weddings each weekend. Make sure you know (and the contract states) who will be covering your wedding.
Deliverables: The contract should explicitly state the products and level of service you are paying for: prints, albums, digital files, number of coverage hours, etc.
Usage Rights / Print Release: This specifies your legal rights to print, reproduce, and share digital files on social networks and other areas of the web. Depending on who your hire, you may have to pay extra for the rights or it may be included with your package.
Nail down the details: Make sure the contract specifies when and where your photographer is to arrive on your big day. Confusion can lead to the photographer arriving at the wrong location or at the wrong time and missing key events.
Payment: To save your date you will generally need to pay a deposit upfront and then pay off the remaining balance sometime before or on the day of the wedding. Confirm when the balance is due. Many photographers will set up payment plans for the balance as well.
Booking: If you find somebody who you love, don’t wait to book them. Brides often hire photographers well over a year in advance. Your dream photographer may be shooting someone else’s wedding if you wait too long to book.
Last but not least, have fun at the wedding!
Email me (info@DennisCalvertPhotography.com) if you have any questions about any of these topics or anything I didn’t cover here. I would love to hear from you!