Vendor Smarts: How to Hire a Wedding Photographer
The shutterbug you select shapes how you’ll remember your wedding forever. Choose wisely with these tips from Los Angeles-based shooter Aaron Delesie.
Recently married friends, event designers and planners—all are great resources for finding a good photographer. Reputable publications can be a vetting process as well. Narrow it down to three choices, then call them, chat about your wedding, and if you connect on a personal level and love a person's work, hire him or her. Steer clear of anyone who tries to "sell" you. Desperation should warn you off.
Ask About Their Background
A technical degree is a good sign; find out if your potential shooter studied photography in school. Ideally, look for someone who has been in the field for at least five years. Otherwise, you could end up with a person who just picked up a digital camera and decided to be a wedding photographer.
Check Out Their Website
Photographers' online portfolios can be deceiving. A lot will show images from a faux wedding shoot, which don't reveal how he or she performs at an actual party with time and lighting constraints. Ask to see images taken throughout the day from at least 10 real-life events.
Leave Your Inspiration Boards to Pinterest
If a client tells me they love a particular image, I'm open to re-creating it, but bringing in too many examples of photo styles sucks the creativity out of the process. You don't want your photog concentrating so hard on copying shots that he misses the moments that make your day special.
Read the Fine Print
When signing a contract, make sure you will own the personal-use rights to your images immediately following the wedding. This is important because if you don’t have the rights, you could be in for a big back-end sales push when photos you thought were included in one price end up costing a lot more, as you'll have to buy everything individually.
Don't Blow Your Budget on Extras
Get the best person you can afford to shoot only your wedding, rather than a less talented one to cover that plus the rehearsal and next-day brunch. you can also cut out albums and wall prints—often when people are sold a package they’re being tricked into spending more than they would have otherwise. and while I know a lot of good filmmakers who are worth every penny, I’ve seen couples split their budget between a photographer and a videographer and end up with mediocre results from both. If you have to choose, naturally, I feel photography is more timeless.
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