I get to meet with a lot of wonderful couples, and I am always looking for ways to make their decision about how to pick their wedding photographer easier. With this in mind I decided to create this blog post to help make this big decision a little easier. I think that everyone has seen the standard lists out there on google and elsewhere, but here is a simple guide that should help out.
STEP 1: What’s important to you?
The first thing that you have to do is decide how important your wedding pictures are to you. For me the images will be with you forever, and finding someone who’s style of documenting you truly love is an incredibly important thing. I tell all of my clients to find someone that they “LOVE” not like but “LOVE”. If you do this you will be 80% of the way to being elated with the results that you receive after the day is over.
STEP 2: Will they deliver?
Once you have decided whose work you love, and there is sure to be more than one, go through their portfolios and look for consistency in the work. True professionals deliver on their style over and over without fail. Every set looks like they belong to same artist. This is very important!! If a photographer is constantly changing their style or the way their images look, you’ll never know what you’re images will look like until you have received them.
STEP 3: The First Date!
The first date with your prospective photographer is your first meeting. I call it the first date because it really is almost the same. The first time you and your husband or wife to be met up you were checking them out and looking at the details. Do they fit my style and personality? Are they fun, serious, or a perfect blend of the two? Do I feel comfortable or nervous? All of these thoughts are things that should be considered when going through their portfolios while chatting in person. The reason why I say this is that you will spend more time with this person than any other vendor that you choose for your day, and possibly more time than your husband or wife to be, so you want to mesh well. Don’t forget to talk to friends (this means ask for references). Look to past brides who have written reviews about their experiences. This should give you a better idea of what you can expect.
STEP 4: The Contract
So by this step you’ve found the person you like, and it’s time to talk about starting a lasting relationship :). Although most of us loath dealing with contracts and the legal stuff, let’s face it this is a big investment and you need to know that you’re going to be taken care of. Take the time to go through the photographer’s contract, and ask questions if anything is unclear. There should be items that cover you if something happens to go wrong, and also points that are there to ensure that the photographer will be able to do their best work also. Make sure that the deliverables are clearly called out and what the photographer can use the images for as well. If they don’t have a contract for you to go through then my advice is to walk away or be very honest about the potential risks.
STEP 5: The BUZZ words
Most clients ask about Hi-resolution files,Image count, post processing,mega pixels and the like. Here’s a quick break down on a few of these points and some rules of thumb that should keep you safe.
Do we get the Hi Resolution Images?
Hi-Resolution files can mean different things to different photographers. The basics are to understand that for print quality you want to stay above 240pixels per inch, and you don’t want the images to be cropped down in size to much. In reality most clients don’t print larger than 8×10 except for 1 or two favourite images. Having hundreds of images that are large in size is something that is simply not necessary for 98% of people.
How many images will we get?
Image count, while important to understand, is something that should be considered carefully. If someone promises thousands of images from your event you have to ask the question “are they really taking the time to capture our day or just hoping for the best?” Most professionals will deliver between 30 and 60 images per hour of coverage depending on style and locations. This is a good guideline to go by to make sure that the person is confident in what they are doing.
Do you edit or post process every image?
This is one of the best questions to ask, and it is completely dependant on style and skill level. Many people really like dramatic treatments and effects, and that is a completely personal decision. Beware of photographers that show you the before and after shots when the initial image just looks badly taken and then heavily processed to save the images and sold as a good job. The initial picture should still be a good picture that has been enhanced.
This one is simple. As long as the photographer is in the 10 Megapixel range with their gear you’ll be fine on this one. Don’t get caught up with the tech race too much here. For what it’s worth I shoot in the 16 Megapixel range …LOL
STEP 6: The Gear
Gear and equipment are important to understand from a backup point of view. ALL professionals have at least 2 of everything if not 3 or 4. Here’s a basic breakdown of the minimums:
2 – camera bodies 3+ Lenses 2-flashes 3+ memory cards
This is the basic gear that is required, anything less and a failure may impact the day. They can always have more gear too. It is also important to touch on the digital files and how they are backed up after the day is done. Make sure that there are multiple backups and at least one system that is not at the photographers studio just incase.
So there it is! A summary of the basics that will help to make your wedding day a bit easier and a little less stressful. Just remember “LOVE” the work and you’re almost there!!