Obviously the best way to start gathering information on prospective photographers is by asking family, friends and colleagues. This way you will also have some insight about the photographer's personality before you actually meet.
You will find a wide range of descriptive terms attached to today's wedding photography; documentary, traditional, reportage, photojournalistic and contemporary are all terms used to describe style and approach. Do some research to see what each description entails and which style you like.
Once you have found out what style of photography you want, it’s time to compile a preliminary list of photographers. Most photographers nowadays have websites, use these! Look through the websites and pick out the photographers who you like. In this way, you can save time doing personal interviews by narrowing the selection before you start interviewing the shortlist!
Schedule appointments with the photographers who seem most appropriate and ask to view their portfolios in person and discuss more details. Ask each of them to show you a complete portfolio of a single wedding. This will give you an idea of how the photographer will portray your day from getting dressed to leaving for honeymoon. By meeting the photographer you will also get a feel for the photographer’s personality and personal approach to wedding photography. It is very important to hire a photographer that you get on with as this person will be documenting one of the most important days of your life.
Questions for your Photographer
Before meeting your photographer be sure to write down all of your questions, and take notes during the meetings. Most professional photographers have wedding packages which when broken down will provide you with a clear outline of their services and fees prior to your meeting. You will still have questions that you would like answered. The following are some questions you may consider asking:
- Does the photographer use an assistant? Is there an extra charge for this?
- What styles do they specialize in? Do they do any creative shoots?
- Will you be shooting your pictures personally?
- Will they use film or digital?
- What is their payment policy?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have travel fees?
- How much is their overtime fee?
- Will there be a backup photographers and equipment available?
- Will they accept of list from you, for specific photos to be taken?
- Have they worked at your event locations before? If so how did the photos come out?
- Can other people take photos while they are taking photos?
- What types of photos will be taken (B/W, colour, sepia etc...)?
- What attire will they and their assistants wear?
- How long after the event will the proofs be ready?
- How will they show you pictures for selection (e.g., electronic, proofs, contact sheets, online gallery etc...)?
- Will they help you choose the final pictures?
- Will it be easy for friends and family to order reprints?
- What is the price for the duplicate prints, albums, folios, enlargements, thank you cards, etc.?
- How long do you have to make up my mind as to which pictures you want and how many?
- What type and how much assistance will they provide in planning your album?
- Will they give you the negatives or what is the charge?
Important Shots to be taken on your Wedding Day
This is a list of all the important formal shots that need to be taken on your wedding day. This is aside from the informal fun photographs. Go through the list below and decide which ones you would want to include in your wedding album. Jot them down and fax or e-mail it to your photographer so that he or she knows beforehand what you have in mind when it comes to formal shots. It would also be a good idea to give a copy of the list to a bridesmaid or groomsman so that they can ensure that all the photographs requested are taken.
Before the Ceremony
- Bride getting dressed
- Bride with bridesmaids
- Bride touching up make-up/hair before leaving
- Bride leaving her home
At the Ceremony
- Groom and best man at the altar
- Bride and father getting out of car
- Bride and father going into venue
- Soloist and organist
- Bridesmaids walking down aisle
- Bride and father walking down the aisle
- Father lifting the veil and kissing bride
- Father handing her over to the groom
- Bride and groom exchanging vows
- Wide-angle view of service
- Ring ceremony
- Group shot at signing of register
- Bride and groom walking up aisle
- Bride and groom outside venue
- Bride and groom getting into car
Before the Reception
- Bride and groom
- Bride and bridesmaids
- Groom and best man
- Bride and groom with all attendants
- Bride with her parents
- Bride with groom's parents
- Bride with both mothers
- Bride with both fathers
- Bride with both sets of parents
- Groom with his parents
- Groom with bride's parents
- Groom with both mothers
- Groom with both fathers
- Groom with both sets of parents
- Bride and groom with bride's parents
- Bride and groom with groom's parents
- Bride and groom with both sets of parents
At the Reception
- Shot of reception area before any guests arrives
- Entourage arriving
- Bride and groom going into the reception
- Cake table
- Bride and groom’s table
- Bride and groom cutting the cake
- Bride and groom toasting each other
- Bride and groom's first dance
- Bride and father dancing
- Groom and mother dancing
- Bride throwing bouquet
- Catching of bouquet
- Bride and groom leaving and being wished well
- Bride and groom getting into car
- Rear of car as it drives off