When choosing a photographer/videographer it is very important to make sure that in addition to loving their style you also feel comfortable around them. You will be spending most of your wedding day with this person and if you're at ease, you'll not only enjoy yourself more, but they'll also get better shots.
Check out our Questions to Ask Photographers.
The photos are the one aspect of the wedding that will last a lifetime; you will be able to share them with your children and even your grandchildren. So, you will want to make sure the supplier you choose is perfect for you - start by looking at their background and style.
First thing you need to find out is if they have your date available, if they do you want to establish that they are in the industry because of their passion and love of the work and not because they felt it is an easy way to make money. You want to work with someone that takes pride in their work and genuinely wants to give you their best. This does not necessarily mean you should only look at suppliers who have an extensive training background and years of experience (although this is always a plus point), but you will get those that might just have done a 6-week course and just naturally have the talent to do amazing shots.
Start by asking questions like what they love most about photographing weddings, what their favourite part of a wedding day is and what they feel distinguishes their work from that of other photographers. This is a good way to help you get a sense of their personality, and to see if they seem genuinely excited to share your wedding day with you. Finding out how many weddings they schedule on a weekend and how they schedule the wedding day will also give you a sense of their management skills as well as how focused they are on each individual project.
You can then look at the smaller things like have they worked at your venue before; if they are familiar with the location ahead of time they will be prepared for any lighting issues or restrictions and will know how best to incorporate the site's architectural elements into the photos. It is also a positive it they know any of your other suppliers (planner, DJ, Officiant, etc) - it is not a must, but it’s always nice to have vendors who are comfortable working with one another.
Style & Shoot
Most shooters use a blend of several different styles of photography of which they usually specialize in only 1 or 2 specific styles. The best way to make sure their style is what you are looking for is to have a look at their portfolio. Photographers will mainly have an album of their best images but what you want to see is an album of a full wedding from getting ready, the ceremony to the first dance, etc; and ask them to walk you through their work with descriptions. This will give you a better sense of your photographer’s style, as well as their attention to detail - make sure these are from weddings they’ve shot in the past few months so they’re an accurate representation.
Another style aspect to consider is the whether the photographer prefers to shoot digitally or with film; which medium they use doesn’t determine how good they are, but it will have an impact on the style of photography you get. Also look at colour vs. black and white; this is really more a personal preference and most photographers wil do a combination of both, but it is always a good idea to have a look at examples of all the different styles they offer so you can go with the one that best suites what you want.
Along with their photography style you need to look at their working style. Do they prefer to blend into the background to capture candid moments, or do they like to be more visible and take charge to choreograph images. Also find out if they work with a shot list or prefer to have free reign to capture the festivities how you see fit. Most photographers will welcome a short shot list to make sure you get the specific pictures you want but be careful not to overwhelm them with hundreds of requests - after all you are hiring them for their expertise, so let them do their job.
Lastly ask them for a list of references of recent events that they have done - and if possible - of couples whose weddings were similar to yours in size and/or style. Getting feedback from other couples can help you decide if that person is right for you by giving you a good idea of how their service is and what it is like to work with them.
When it comes to pricing you need to make sure you know exactly how it works. Most photographers have packages you can choose from, and they can vary from the basic to an all-inclusive. Have a look at the packages they have and ask them to give you a clear breakdown of all the costs - including any additional costs like over time or travelling fees - as well as if they are willing to customize a package to suite your needs. This will help you make a more informed decision as to which options will be best for your budget.
Once you are comfortable with how the pricing works you can find out how the payments work - how much deposit is required, when the final payment needs to be made and whether they can offer you a payment plan. It is also very important to find out how their refund/cancelation policy works for in case you need to cancel their services for whatever reason.
Some photographers give you the option to include a second shooter; the advantage of this is that it will allow them to cover more ground - which is great for those who plan to have a large wedding - and also to give you two perspectives on major moments where one can shoot the groom's face when he first sees his bride and the other can photograph the bride as she walks down the aisle. Keep in mind though that this will affect the cost and you will have 1 more person to add to the catering list.
Make sure they have a backup plant for in case the photographer falls ill, or they have an equipment malfunction. Also confirm that they will be professionally dressed on the day, if they offer any extras like a photo booth, and whether they will be using photos of your wedding to advertise themselves - as they will need permission from you to do this.
After the meeting ask yourself the following: