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Tuesday
Jan262010

How do I Choose My Photographer?


You are finally ready to talk to photographers.....AH the joy of meeting someone new, who you hope can match their artwork on their site, who you pray won't steal your money and run off to the Bahamas....
All the stories about friends who's photographers didn't get their images to them for a year, or had their associate show up instead of themselves....FUN!

Truly, the experience doesn't need to be stressful, and these things happen less often than you think. However, there are ways to ensure that the enigma that is the wedding photographer is not necessarily a Trojan horse, but could possibly even turn out to be a lifelong friend.

First and foremost, decide how important photography truly is to you in the overall scheme of your day. How much of your budget should be alotted to photography? On average, 10-15% of your budget for your wedding day should be set aside for the customary photographer. Nowadays the average wedding runs around 28-30,000. So...consider that to hire an experienced photographer with a good reputation you should expect to pay around $2800-$3500.
This is usually for wedding coverage only or they may be including products with such a rate, this will vary.
One of the most important questions to ask are:
  • Does your rate include bridal preparation, putting on the dress?
  • Is this fee for a set number of hours? (My wedding day coverage is 12 hours, with an overtime fee above and beyond this. This is important to ask, as photographers are only human, and equipment, the camera bodies are heavy and physically we can only go full steam ahead for so long.)
  • Does this fee include a "High Resolution disc of Jpeg images"?
  • Are the images I receive color corrected?
  • How many of the images that I receive are fully mastered? (Some photographers on do levels and color correction without the artistic enhancements on their images. Some do levels and color correction on all of the edited images, but only Master 40-60 of their favorites.) DO make sure that the disc of images are not only edited (meaning they take out all the bad ones of Aunt Milly with her eyes shut, and Uncle Joe drunk in the corner) but that they are color corrected. This is industry standard. The alternative is practiced by low end photographers who "shoot and burn", meaning they shoot the wedding, and burn a disc.
  • Is there a list of their product and pricing before you book. Pricing changes from season to season sometimes as vendors change, lab fees go up, etc. so make sure you have documentation of the set pricing at the time of booking.
  • What is the photographer's rules regarding copyright? Is it ok to use your images on your engagments announcements, website, etc. without permission? Some are very flexible about this, others charge a fee per usage of the images, others simply request credit with the image(s). Always ask about this issue as for some it is a sensitive issue.
This is just the beginning, but hopefully this bit of information is helpful in your search for the perfect photographer. MOST importantly, if you love photography, if you are inspired by the person's art, an in-person meeting is just as important to ensure the proper chemistry is present between all of you. You are not only interviewing the photographer, the photographer is interviewing you ;0) Life is precious and short, and this is the most important day of your life, and a day of passion and efforts in the photographer's. The right photographer will "click" immediately. Ask yourself when you meet him/her, would I like this person as my friend? Could I see myself inviting them over for a BBQ? It seems silly, but it's true that chemistry is essential to a positive experience. The bond of loyalty and inspiration is birthed by the connection between all of you. The end result, a wedding day captured not only by a photographer you hired, but by a friend who truly cares about you, your day, your memories....

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