One of the most important things on your special day - besides the Groom, Minister, Rabbi, or Justice of the Peace – is the wedding photographer - the one who will record your Wedding Day for all posterity.
So, what do you do? How do you go about finding that great wedding photographer?
• Collect several names to call: Ask your friends for referrals; someone in your circle must have gotten married in the last year. You could also check with a wedding coordinator. A wedding coordinator is a fountain of information, and could be a great resource to help set up your wedding. (Having been a wedding coordinator in a past life, I can attest to the fact that I have a plethora of information digitally stored in my brain that I’ll never use again.)
• Make a decision about what kind of photographs you want. Do you want black and white photos? Color? Or maybe you’d love to have a video. A combination of all of the above is often the decision. Most photographers have an assistant that will help in taking the still shots and video.
• It’s time to write your questions for the interviews. The more you ask, the better feel you will have for a perfect match of your photographic ideas, visions and expectations. These will give you a good start: “How long have you been a wedding photographer? How many shots will you take? What special effects do you use? Do you retouch the images? Will you shoot with 35mm film or digital? What kind of cameras do you use? (This will impress them.) When will my proofs be ready; will they be available on CD? How long will the prints take once ordered?”
• Then the closing, and most important questions! “May we see photos of your recent wedding shoots? What price range of packages do you offer? Are your rates based on an hourly/time fee, or a per event fee? Will a videographer cost extra? Do your packages include photographing at the bride’s home? At the reception? Anywhere else? Do you charge a travel fee?”
After choosing at least two potential photographers, it’s a good idea to ask them to meet with you and the wedding coordinator, if you have one, at the wedding location. The coordinator will let you both know of any restrictions they may have at a church, synagogue or other establishment. This usually includes use/non-use of flash, and restricted movement during the ceremony. You want the focus of the ceremony to be on YOU, not the photographer climbing over Aunt Clara trying to get that perfect ‘artsy’ shot. Some may ask that the photographer not stand up front with you; again, it’s not easy to say “I do” and smile at the camera AND your husband at the same time.
Wedding Photographers are really great, patient people. They have nerves of steel, are able to calm the mother-of-the-bride with a single glance, and reassure the bride with a smile, all while adjusting the lighting or re-arranging the bridal party.
Enjoy your Wedding Day, and I wish you many blessings.