Get the Picture

Get the Picture | How to find the photographer you want—and ask the right questions.
Flowers wilt, cake gets eaten, but your wedding photos will remain as the lasting reminder of your special day. With dozens of shutterbugs to choose from, how do you know who to hire? The Personal Touch Visiting photography websites is a good way to narrow down your choices, but once you’ve targeted a few favorites, a face-to-face meeting is essential. After all, of all your vendors, your photographer will be the one you see the most of, so it’s important to find someone who’s easy to talk to. “You can have the best photographer in the world shooting your wedding,” says Damon Smith of Damon R. Smith Photography, “but if they’re irritating you or your relatives, you won’t get good pictures. Make sure they listen to you—good communication is imperative.” What’s on the Menu? Ask to see complete photo spreads from past weddings, not just a slick portfolio. Find out what style your photographer favors—traditional and posed for example, or more loose and candid—and whether they prefer to work in black and white or color. Make sure you’re clear on what you’re paying for upfront, so there are no expensive surprises down the line. Some photographers offer complete, pre-packaged deals, while others have an à la carte menu of services and extras. “Every photographer charges different fees for reprints and enlargements,” explains David Edwards of David Edwards Photography. The Right Album A wedding album doesn’t come cheap, with materials alone costing upwards of $400. “There are so many different styles and designs of albums,” Smith says. “Plus, they’re not the easiest things to put together because they’re so time-consuming.” If you’re willing to wait, there is another option that may save a little money. “You can come back in a year and have an album made then,” says Smith. Either way, be prepared to look at up to 700 different photos during the selection process! Get it in Writing When you sign up a photographer, expect a comprehensive contract detailing the services and products you’re getting. “A contract protects the photographer and the bride,” continues Edwards, “and makes sure everybody’s on the same page. This way, you know exactly what you’re going to get.”