Your wedding photography will be the one lasting physical memory of your big day. With that in mind, it’s important to make sure you contract with the most suitable photographer for both your wedding style and your budget.

The first thing to do is to compile a list of potential photographers. Ask friends and family members for the names of photographers they’ve had good results with. Here are some important issues to consider when looking for your photographer:

Photographer Referrals
A personal reference is a good way to start and people are always happy to share the names of great photographers. Be wary if a photographer has either no references or is unwilling to share them with you.

Visit Their Website
The surest way to tell if you like a photographer’s wedding style is to visit their website and review their online portfolio. From these websites, you will get a sense of the volume of weddings they have photographed, as well as the photographic style they most often use and if it’s a style that you like.

Price Range
Make sure that the photographer you choose is within your wedding photography budget, but remember that you ‘get what you pay for’. Because the photos will be your lasting memories of the wedding, it’s important to choose the very best photo studio that you can afford. Because many studios offer a variety of photo packages and rates, you will very often be able to get a fabulous photographer that suits your budget.

Photographic Styles
Whether they do traditional photography, photojournalistic or fine art photos, every photographer has their own unique style. Make sure the photographer you choose has a style that appeals to you. A good wedding photographer will be able to capture the emotion and his shots should move you in some way. Be sure to inquire about color photography as well as sepia or black and white photography.

Wedding Experience
Experience, specifically in wedding photography, is a crucial element in being satisfied with your wedding photographer. When you ask to view samples of their work, make sure they don’t show you pet pictures, senior portraits, or family photos. Experience with weddings is critical at two levels; the quality of photography being produced, and the ability of a photographer to conduct themselves professionally at your wedding.

Studios With More Than One Photographer
Very often, photo studios will have more than one on-staff photographer or will outsource to freelance photographers. Be sure to inquire about this when interviewing the studio. You want to make sure you know which photographer will actually be scheduled to shoot your wedding, and you will want to see his or her portfolio of work to verify that it is a style you photos

Many different things can affect the overall outcome of your wedding photographs, so be sure to ask the photographer how they will handle such details should they arise. Factors such as availability, locations, distances, event times, weather conditions, travel time, bridal party size, and family size will all have a direct impact on the final outcome. By discussing these issues with your photographer ahead of time, you will have not only more realistic expectations of your photographs but a good sense of how they are prepared to deal with any hiccups that might arise on your wedding day as well.

Wedding Photography Package Details
Good photo studios offer a variety of wedding packages. Carefully review the package details to decide if you like the overall package value. Make sure you know how many hours are included, the number of poses and photographs included, and the cost of negatives, duplicates, and reprints.

Raw Files or Negatives
Be sure you understand how image re-orders will be handled by the photographer. Many studios keep the negatives, but it’s always a good idea to see if you will be able to either have the negatives as part of your wedding photo package or purchase them separately. Make a point to ask the photographer upfront what his or her policy is regarding negatives. This is an important detail in considering package options.

Photographer Contracts
It is critical to read the fine print of your photography contract before signing anything. Do not sign until you are either happy with the terms and conditions, or have completed negotiations to your satisfaction. Be sure to have any negotiations added to the contract in writing before signing, so they are not overlooked or forgotten. Make sure you are clear on your obligations to the wedding photographer in terms of deposits and payments, as well as his or her obligation to you in terms of package delivery.

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