Ok- so it’s time to roll up your sleeves and hire your all important Wedding Photographer. This can be quite intimidating as this is usually one of the most involved vendors on your special day, but we have assembled a handy checklist for you to mark off before you sign on the dotted line.
Quick disclaimer: While these are recommendations by us, it’s ultimately up to you on how lax or strict you want to be. Pay attention to these areas during your meetings and conversations. It’s going to take some extra time, but if you can mark off at least 9 of the 12 items on this checklist, you will be in great hands.
Love Their Style
Review Full Day Albums
Develop a Connection
Follow Your Photographer
Value Quality Over Quantity
Cultural Tradition Experience
Back Up Equipment and Contingency Plan
Certificate of Insurance
Confirm the Turn Around Time
Review the Contract
1. High Reviews
In the filtering out process, you should not settle for anything less than 4 Stars and make sure there are a minimum of 30 reviews posted. Then look for reviews not only about the final product, but the client experience as well. Lastly, make sure you gloss over multiple of their review sites such as Yelp and Google. Here is an example of the different review sites for us at Boss Brides:
2. Love Their Style
When researching Photography you will come to notice that it’s not all the same. In fact, it can be like night and day across the board. Some Photographers might employ a dark and moody style, whereas at Boss Brides, we like to have an airy and timeless style. And while many styles may be in fashion currently, you want to also ask yourself if this is a style you will still like looking back 10 years from now.
3. Review Full Day Albums
It’s easy to post the best of the best on social media or share amazing stylized images from a stylized shoot (so every image is perfect) but what about those family portraits, details, and real moments? Always request to see a full day’s digital Wedding Album from start to finish. The consistency will show off a Photographer’s skill level.
4. Develop a Connection
This is often overlooked, but just as important as their technical knowledge and artistic creativity, is their ability to be personable. Remember, this Photographer is going to be with you two, all of your close family, and friends for the entire Wedding day. Are they outgoing, personable, professional, and have a positive attitude? Don’t get stuck with someone who is not going to be supportive on the biggest day of your life. This may take a little extra time, but it’s worth it.
5. Follow your Photographer
Literally, follow your Photographer around and stalk them to no end. Ok, just kidding- though, you should definitely follow them on Instagram and Facebook. Not only will their work dazzle your feed, you’ll also be able to get better insight into their style and personality.
6. Value Quality Over Quantity
You must ask yourself if you would rather have 3000 mediocre images or 400 spectacular images. When seeking a Professional Photographer, don’t get caught up in how many images you will be getting. Look at the actual quality of each photo as if you are looking at a true piece of art, because it is to us. Each photo we deliver goes through a process of not only capturing the perfect moment with a balance of technical skill and creativity, but then goes on to endure an intensive post production process of color correcting and editing.
Experience counts. How many Weddings has this Photographer shot? Is the wedding photographer actually a professional photographer, or is this something they do on the side? You want to make sure they are experienced. We recommend Photographers who have shot no less than 30+ Weddings as the 1st Shooter.
8. Cultural Tradition Experience
We live in a world now where we celebrate one another’s ethnic diversity. Cultural traditions are a big and fun part of Weddings today. Capturing these unique details require experience and attention to detail when compared to your traditional Western Wedding. If you have a cultural tradition, ask to see samples from your Photographer.
9. Back up Equipment and Contingency Plan
Ask your Photographer what back up the equipment they bring on the day of. As we all know, anything can happen and you want your Photographer to be prepared. As a minimum standard, they should be carrying 2 bodies, 2 lenses, 4 batteries (with charger), and 3 memory cards. Furthermore, what happens if their car breaks down and God forbid, something happens to them? What is their contingency plan for situations such as this?
10. Certificate of Insurance
Most venues these days will require a COI to show Liability Insurance. Most Professional Photographers will have this in case something happens, but it’s good to ask upfront for it. A minimum of 1 million is the Industry Standard.
11. Confirm the Turn Around Time
Will there be a difference if you wait 2 months compared to 6 months? Um, yes! Not to be high maintenance here or anything, but you need to see these photos while the feeling is warm and fuzzy! So being upfront with the expectations is essential. Our recommendation is to stay under the 3 month mark.
12. Review the Contract
Ask about the details. What is included in the package? How many images are edited? Are there any additional fees for additional edits? Will you get to keep the images and have rights to them or is there an additional fee? Make sure all of these items are included clearly in the contract and not just agreed upon verbally.