Choosing Your Photographer

Photography, to me, is the most important vendor for your wedding. Yes, of course, you need the florist, the venue, the videographer, etc. but to me, photos are the only part of the wedding that will last! Besides the marriage of course :) Your flowers will die, you don't get to "keep" the know what I mean. So when choosing my photographer for my own wedding, it was very important to do my research and make sure I found the perfect photographer for me!
Yes, I repeat, it must be the perfect photographer FOR YOU. Because there are many different types of
photographic weddings styles, do your research and find out which type of photos you want to be left with after the wedding! But we will get to this in a little bit!
So, I have compiled a list of what to ask and look for in a photographer to make sure you are making the
best decision FOR YOU!

What type of photography style do you prefer?
This is EXTREMELY important and, to me, the most important question to ask! Of course, if you take a look at their website you will be able to figure it out too! Now there are terms to describe the photographic style -
illustrative, artistic, natural light, photo journalism, traditional - but I personally do not think it is necessary for you to memorize these terms and definitions. So just do some browsing on the internet and figure out the styles you like the best!

Do you like the candid photos? Or the more traditional photos?
Do you like the photos that seem to tell a story?
Do you just want to repeat all of the photos you see on Pinterest and Instagram?
Do you want to have bridal "portraits" of you and your groom?

All of these questions will ultimately lead you to the type of photography you will want and ultimately, if you love the photos on their website, then you must love their style!

May I provide you with a shot list? 
Most photographers work from a shot list that they will request from you in advance. They want to make sure you get a shot with each family member and all of the "must-have" moments. This includes the first kiss,
the exchange of rings, the cake cutting, the first dance, etc. While an experienced photographer will not need to be reminded of these shots, there may be shots you have seen online that you would like to take! For me, one of my requested shots was the boudoir shoot before I put on my dress! I sent a little "sneak peek" to my fiancé (at the time) without showing my face :)

How many hours are included in my package? 
This question is very important!! You will want to make sure you get the "getting ready" shots as well as all of the "activities" throughout the night! So in theory, you will need your photographer there two hours before the ceremony begins, and they can leave an hour and a half to two hours before the reception ends! Just make sure you get everything included in your timeline for the photographer to photograph - this is something your event coordinator will plan for you!! If you don't feel this is enough time, you can always add time at an additional cost!

How many images will I receive from the wedding?

Each photographer is generally going to take between 1,000 and
2,000 images throughout your event. However, this does not mean you will see all
of these! But don't fret, each shot is going to include 2-5 of the same shot so
your photographer will go through all of the shots and only keep the best ones -
that way you don't have to sort through them all! On average, they are going to
provide you with around 500 images but this will vary depending on the
photographer so make sure to ask!

How many images will you edit? 
Yes, the lighting should be fixed on all of your images before sending over to you and this is not a tough job for the photographer, as most will be perfect just the way they are! However, your photographer is not going to fix your makeup and do Photoshop touchups to all 500 images! If a book is included in your package, then they will absolutely (or should absolutely) edit all of those images before sending over to printing! If you would like a specific image edited, your photographer will have no problem doing that for you!


Is an engagement session included? 
Many photographers include an engagement session but may not include the digital files, and this is totally normal! Whether or not it is included, I would ALWAYS do an engagement session with the same photographer who will shoot your wedding. This gives you a chance to get to know him or her, and will allow he or she to understand who you are and will better capture that personality and the relationship the two of you have :)

Do you provide a wedding album? 
Some will include the album in their packages and some will not. But if you are getting your album from your photographer, ask to see samples to make sure you like their style! That's all there is to that one :
How many photographers will be present the day of my wedding? 
This is something that does, in fact, add some $$ to the package price but to me, is something that is extremely important. I am sure you have seen those photos many times with the adorable groom seeing his bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle, and that beautiful bride next to her dad with the biggest and most genuine smile you have ever seen! Do you want both of these shots? If you answered yes, then it is great to have two photographers present!
One of the moments at my wedding that I LOVED and really captured the moment was during the cake cutting! If we had only had one photographer, we wouldn't have gotten these amazing reaction shots!!

Will I have full rights to my photos? 
LISTEN UP!! This is IMPORTANT! And this is the most important part!! If you do not have the rights to your photos, you can never print from Costco, CVS, or even at home! If you attempt to print the screen on the
computer, all of your photographs will have the photographers watermark on them! Yes, you can always get them printed from your photographer but this can get extremely pricey!
When posting on Facebook or any other social media site, INCLUDE THE PHOTOS WITH THE WATERMARK. Photographers work through referrals so including those photos that will advertise the great work he or she did, is the least you can do! If you are printing for at-home use, then of course use the
ones without the watermark!
Have you shot a wedding at my venue? 
Yes, photographers are extremely creative and will have no problem finding unique places to photograph at your venue. So just remember, this is not a deal breaker AT ALL! If you photographer has already been there,
then great! And if not, it would be a great idea to visit the site before the wedding with him or her so they can get a feel for the site and get some ideas ahead of time! If you are able to, it is also a good idea to have the catering manager at the venue show the photographer around to the places others generally photograph. This will give them a way to see those hidden spots or come up with even more unique ideas for the places brides and grooms generally take their photos!

When choosing your photographer, just make sure you do some research on their package pricing and take a good look at all of their photos displayed on their website! You don't want to waste your time meeting 10 photographers who aren't what you are looking for so just make sure to do your research!!