Let’s start with your Photographer – probably one of the most important vendors, as you’ll be looking at their work for many years after your wedding day so you don’t want any surprises!
Here are five important questions you should ask before you book your photographer for your Big Day:
1. Are you familiar with my Church/ Venue. If not, will you go there beforehand to set up lighting as needed?
This is one of the first questions you need to ask your Photographer, because she/he must be aware of the lighting at the venue or church. Don’t make the mistake of entering a space and thinking that the lighting you’re seeing will be what you can expect for your wedding. For example, many older churches may be very dark inside and need additional lighting to record the ceremony. The same goes for venues – make sure the overhead lighting (or up-lighting) is to your liking – you’re going to be the center of attention and you want to avoid annoying shadows as well as overexposure. Rest assured a professional photographer will be aware of these pitfalls – a good reason to leave this task to them and not have a well-intentioned friend take your photographs. You will want to enjoy them for many years!
If you have 75 or more guests, you really need a ‘second shooter’. Even the most experienced photographer can only be in one place at a time, besides, it’s fun to see a similar shot from a different angle. Be sure to discuss this with your photographer in your first meeting. If it’s a matter of budget and you feel a second shooter will be an added cost, ask if you can have one for just the pre-ceremony, the ceremony and through the dinner and cake ceremony. Most photographers will be happy to accommodate this request.
Today’s couples usually like to have a combination of Traditional (some posed photos with family and wedding party) and Journalistic (fun, off-guard images throughout the event). So called ‘high fashion’ photography, the sort you may see in glossy fashion magazines, is probably not the look to go for at a social event.
Most photographers will have an hourly guideline for weddings: this can be anywhere from 6-8 hours on the wedding day and sometimes at the rehearsal, as well. If you think you may want the photographer to extend their hours while the event is ongoing, be sure you have this written into the contract, with any additional rates written in. I once had a photographer who refused to stay longer than contracted, even though she was offered an additional fee…as you can imagine, it was very disappointing to the couple.
As with any working relationship, you must feel 100% comfortable with your photographer. If you’re not fully at ease with the person who is most likely: photographing you as you get dressed, watching you weep as you say your vows and making your Aunt Mabel actually look good in that dress…this is not the photographer for you. You want the images of your wedding day to last a lifetime, so ask questions, read your contract thoroughly and have a blast!