It seems like everyone is "doing weddings" lately. Unfortunately, a large number of these wedding photographers really aren't wedding photographers at all. They are photographers with other specialties who want to pick up a few weddings on the side to boost their profits. While some of these photographers might do an excellent job with your wedding, you need to take the time to ask some pointed questions to find the right photographer for your big day.
- Look for a Plan Within Your Budget
It is absolutely frustrating to fall in love with a photographer's portfolio and then find out her base package has several more zeros involved than what you can afford. When you start looking for a wedding photographer, look at the prices right away. If you find that you are having trouble locating any photographers within your price range you may need to consider reevaluating your budget allocations or consider wedding photography alternatives.
- Review the Portfolio
The Internet has made this step so much easier. Review the portfolios of photographers within your budget and narrow down your choices further based on styles you like. Remember that the portfolio the photographer shows you is the best case scenario. Not all of your images (or even any) will turn out exactly like the images in the portfolio.
- Check the BBB
Before you even talk to the photographer, check with the Better Business Bureau. A single complaint is not a reason to eliminate the photographer but a string of similar complaints would be a red flag. Look at time in business, number of complaints, types of complaints, and resolutions.
- Meet the Photographer
Now it is time to meet the photographer in person. Set up an interview meeting to see more portfolio images, review package options, and get references of previous couples that you can talk to about the photographer. Our Weddings Guide, Nina Callaway, has a good list of questions you can ask the photographer during this interview. I would also suggest asking if the photographer has shot at your location before. You'll also want to make sure the photographer is actually available on your wedding date. Remember that you are interviewing the photographer. If the photographer makes you uncomfortable in any way, he probably isn't a good fit for your wedding.
- Compare Contracts
After you have met several wedding photographers checked all the references you'll want to review the contracts. Some photographers have much more lenient cancellation policies than others. Also, deposits and usage rights vary.
- Finalization Meeting
By this time you hopefully have your choices narrowed down to a preferred wedding photographer and one or two alternates. Now is the time for a meeting to finalize details and sign contracts with your preferred photographer. Remember that if something feels wrong it likely is wrong. If your instincts are telling you a particular choice is a bad idea, listen to those instincts. Even if nothing is actually wrong, your worries will interfere with your happiness on your big day.