Tips on Choosing a Wedding Photographer

It has been ten years since my wedding, and all my wife and I have for our wedding photography is a basic proof book. I didn't invest in a photographer and it left me little to show our daughter. What will you be able to show your family and friends in ten years? Will you be able to pull out an album to show at get-togethers? Or, when you look back on your wedding day, will you be disappointed? Take it from me, personally: investing in an experienced and trustworthy photographer to capture the moments of your big day is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make for your wedding.

Below, we’ve compiled suggestions from ourselves, past clients, as well as several of the photographers Selective Sound Entertainment has worked with over the years. All of the photographers we have listed on our blogsite are all extremely qualified and experienced and we have been working with for years.

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According to the Better Business Bureau, one of brides’ main concerns regarding Cleveland wedding photographers was that they did not deliver what was promised to them. There are many professional wedding photographers who will indeed provide amazing and unforgettable images on your wedding day; however you will need to do some research beforehand.

Some important things to think about when choosing a photographer:

Experience

What experience do they actually have? Have they worked for any other companies before? How many weddings have they shot? Where did they get their training (if any)?

Style

When you sit down and look at their albums, is that what you are hoping to capture from your wedding day? Do you want just color pictures on your wedding day, or do you want some black and white pictures, too? Ask your potential cleveland photographer what they’re seeking to capture and what styles they prefer to get a better idea of what style they specialize in.

Who will be my photographer?

Is the person you are meeting with the same one who took those pictures? Or are they pictures you are viewing done by dozens of photographers over the years that have worked for that company? Find out who will be your specific photographer and what styles he/she has.

Chemistry

It may sound funny but: do you think that you will get along with your photographer on your wedding day? Remember that they will be lining everybody up and directing you and your family for photo shoots the entire day. Are you willing to spend your entire wedding day with this person and entrust them with talking to all of your closest friends and family?

How will they dress?

Are they going to wear a tuxedo? Or maybe an all black outfit? Some photographers choose to wear unique clothing, so you definitely should find out what they wear. Your photographer(s) will be seen by your guests throughout the entire day.

Price

Obviously, the last thing you want to do is shop by price alone. A cheap price may become the worst money you have ever saved.  Is the photographer who fits your style and personality in your budget? If not, would they be worth the difference? Can you consider re-aligning your budget to fit them in? Don’t forget, your photos will be something you have look at the rest of your lives. Remember to get all pricing in advance, including re-prints and albums.  Also inquire how long the re-print and album prices are valid for after the wedding. Some photographers will lock in 90 days, others up to one year.

Delivery

How long will it take to get your proofs back? How long will it take them to design and complete your album? Be sure to establish an editing, design and final album in hand timeline and get it guaranteed by your photographer.

Contracts

Does you photographer offer one? Once you’ve read it, are you comfortable signing their contract? Do you understand the terms of the contract? What is in writing is really what counts, not what is promised in passing. Be sure you read it entirely to ensure you understand every part. If you have questions, ask them and get all clarity before signing!

References

Don’t be afraid to ask your potential photographer for their references. Personal references from people who you know are the best, but if they aren’t available we recommend asking for references from their brides and grooms of the past one to two years.

Deposits and Payments

Is there anything in the contract about the photographer not showing up? What does it say about cancellations? What are the backup plans if your photographer gets sick? What are the payment terms? Will the take payment plans? Do they offer a discount if you pay by cash or check. Some may even offer a significant discount if you pay in full up front.

Photo Disks

Will you get all of your photos burnt to a disk after the wedding? This is a very popular question and seems to be the new trend. Most brides will pick out a few photos and visit their local Wal-Mart to have their pictures done. Have you ever seen a photo from a Wal-Mart-quality lab two to four years down the line? Professional photographs will be something that will never fade or discolor, and will be cherished and viewed for decades. Leave it up to the professionals and spend the extra money for an album and professional grade prints. Ten years from now, you will have something to show your kids. If you skip an album and/or professional photos, you may not regret it when you get married, but you will ten years from now.

Other Questions to Ask:

Have you shot a wedding at my ceremony or reception venues before?

Are you fully insured?

Are you a member of any associations?

When will you begin and how long will you stay?

Will there only be one photographer?

What kinds of back up equipment do you carry?

Do you use multiple lenses?

What kind of extra flashes or lighting do you use?

How do you work with other vendors?

Do we get to keep our negatives/proofs?

How much are your unmarked proofs?

When will our pictures be ready to view?

Do you offer online viewing?

How long are the prices on your website good for photo reprints?