Response: There are many sites on the web, or wedding planning books, that offer many questions to ask photographers. Try theKnot.com, or search for wedding checklists, wedding planners, questions, etc in a search engine. As good as these lists are, however, they often forget to mention several things Ive learned as a wedding photographer. 1-Style/quality, 2-Contract, 3-Personality and attitude, and 4-Deals 'too good to be true' versus a true gem whos services are simply very reasonable.
Of course, first you must like their work and style of photography. Dont just judge by one 'show-book' of images - any photographer can shoot a couple weddings, take one or two images from each to create this book. Ask to see a complete wedding, or at least 75 to 100 prints from ONE wedding. Look for consistent quality throughout the album, good lighting on the subjects, and make sure the subjects looked like they actually ENJOYED their photography. Remember that no photographer can capture a perfect image every time, though thats why pros will shoot 300 images, of which you may only see 140.
If youre comfortable with their work, ask about their contract. When a bride discusses a bad outcome with any vendor, often a poorly documented contract is involved. I cant stress it enough. Make sure the contract is professional not something thrown together on a word processor with terms and conditions clearly defined, and details about WHAT you are to receive, WHEN they will start/end, WHO . . .
But most importantly, perhaps, do you like the person and peronality? The photographer is the person you will spend the most time with during the day -- they will be by-your-side during preparations often until late in the reception. Four, six, eight or more hours youll have to work with this person closely. Do you like them enough, can you stand them for that long? Your photos will reflect if youre having fun, relaxed and enjoying your day and photography - and they will reflect if your rushed, impatient or unhappy as well. Ask the photographer how they keep the mood fun and relaxed, even if other things are not going right.
Just because a photographer is expensive doesnt mean that they will provide superior service - Ive met many of these professionals who had terrible attitudes towards the brides, 'get in here and just pose like I tell you already, I want to be done!' Im always amazed when I talk to other vendors who do nothing but complain about 'bridezilla' this or that yes, vendors often do call their clients names like Bridezilla But Ive actually not had one of these brides yet! I believe this is because of the attention I give to the couple, and the fun we have.
Finally, be wary of a deal too good to be true, ask a lot of questions and write down the answers, look closely at their work. There are ameturers who cant take consistent pictures, or worse they actually ruin your images. But there are also gems out there, diamonds in the rough I think of them, who do weddings because they have a PASSION for them, not because they make lots of money doing it - they may even have a 'day-job' and this allows them a creative outlet. Youll know if you find this, if the quality, professionalism, and personality are all there, you should be prepared to snap them up quickly especially if they dont break your budget because you probably wont find another gem like this!
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