Whether you’re planning a grand gala affair or a laid-back rural wedding, your wedding day is a reflection of your personality and style, it’s important that you select a wedding photography studio best suited to capture the story of your special day. Here are some essential tips for hiring your wedding photographer.
ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR HIRING YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAHER
Along side looking for the right Sydney wedding band, wedding venue, florist etc- It’s fun to browse wedding photographers’ websites and that’s a great start to finding a photographer who matches your desired visual style and to eliminate photographers whose fees are beyond your budget.
But what comes next once you’ve narrowed your list to a handful of favorites? Here are some important pointers that many couples miss when interviewing potential wedding photographers.
The first question—whether the photographer is available on your chosen date—is obvious. Once that’s out of the way, set up an in-person meeting with the photographer and ask for advance copies of the contract, current pricing and contact information for five references.
Be sure to review the contract, and make notes of any questions you might have for the photographer. You can always clear up these details over e-mail, but reserving some questions for your in-person meeting allows you the opportunity to see how confidently your photographer responds to questions such as:
• What happens if, for any reason, you can’t make it to our wedding?
• What kind of backup equipment do you use if your primary camera malfunctions?
• Are you willing to coordinate with other vendors, including wedding musicians and singers, to make sure you capture events on the “shot list?”
• If your wedding is rural, does your wedding photographer charge for mileage and travel time outside the Sydney or Melbourne areas?
• Can we alter certain parts of the contract?
Don’t be put off by lengthy, detailed contracts, and be wary of photographers who don’t require them at all. A good contract should protect both the wedding couple and the photographer and clearly define your mutual expectations.
Before the studio visit, you may also want to ask the photographer (or their studio manager) if they’ve ever photographed your wedding venue or one similar. This is especially important if you’ve selected a venue for its architectural appeal.
Some photographers bring special, remote-controlled strobe lighting to highlight architectural details and illuminate dark corners of large venues. All photographers can rent additional lighting, but it takes talent and technique to pull off the effects you see in dramatic images of Sydney and Melbourne architecture, especially at night.
Do your candidates include properly-lighted interior shots in their online portfolios or are their images mostly outdoor shots, lit by fill flash and ambient lighting? This is a detail you’ll want to know before you move on to the next step.
Ask to see five full wedding “stories”
Many professional photographers in Sydney and Melbourne prefer potential bridal clients to come to their studio, but often, your candidates may offer to give their presentations to you at your home. Either way, be sure you have a chance to see slideshows, albums or proof books showing five complete weddings, preferably events that are similar to your own planned wedding and don’t forget to ask if an assistant or second photographer shot any of the images.
Any wedding photographer can pull off a handful of dramatic images out of a thousand mediocre shots, so pay attention to the entire visual storylines presented in the samples.
Will you want to stage shots?
The current trend towards natural, candid photography shouldn’t exclude pre-planned images. Your parents will likely insist on group family photos, and while this is often the most tedious part of the day, you’ll be grateful you took the opportunity. This is something you’ll want to discuss with your photographer in advance, as you’ll need to know how much time to set aside for these images as you plan your day.
Also, if you want to set up an elaborate portrait with your groom, or a grand send off with fireworks, sparklers or confetti, you’ll want to know if your photographer has the technical savvy and matching vision to pull it off.
Your photographer should be willing to coordinate with your planner, wedding singer, the wedding band or the wedding MC when setting up to shoot special moments like the first look, first dance, favourite songs for weddings and cake cutting.
How’s the chemistry?
Your photographer will be a huge part of your wedding day. How comfortable are you in his presence? Does she seem like someone who will blend in with your guests, act naturally upbeat and positive? If you or your groom is camera-shy, do you think the photographer has what it takes to draw out natural, relaxed images?
Now’s the time to see samples of professional prints and wedding albums. Photographers generally work with a small group of vendors, and if they don’t work with an album company you prefer, there might be an additional set-up charge.
Your photography package may include albums and prints, but many photographers don’t automatically release high-resolution retouched images without incorporating the cost into the package. Traditionally, wedding and portrait photographers earned their keep from print and album sales to couples, family, and friends but in the modern digital age when clients can have prints made anywhere, retaining high-resolution images until a package is completed is in the photographer’s best interest, financially.
Ask your photography candidates to explain any questions you might have about their packages, and when (and if) you can expect high-resolution digital files.
Does your photographer market images on Facebook, Instagram or SnapChat? If privacy is a concern, be sure to communicate your expectations. Ask if online wedding previews are password-protected, and double-check the contract for language allowing the photographer to use images from your wedding for their own promotions. Be flexible; a photographer who wants to enhance her portfolio will go the extra mile for you, and they need to promote themselves with quality work, but it’s fair to ask that you have right of approval before images are publicly shared.
You’ll want to book your photographer well in advance of your wedding day, but be sure to stay in touch with him as your date approaches. Keep him in the loop when you confirm a schedule, and when you make any changes. Introduce her to your wedding entertainment, your coordinators and to your venue manager so they can work together as appropriate.
Most wedding photographers require a deposit upon booking and the balance about two weeks before your wedding day, and this is a good time to catch up with your photographer on the phone or at the venue to go over any new details.
When your photographer is a good fit for you and your groom, she’ll enhance your enjoyment of your Big Day rather than become a tedious intrusion. A few simple steps in choosing your photographer will pay off over a lifetime, for when the dust settles and you begin this new journey in your life together, you’ll be sure to have quality images that reflect the celebration of your love.