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Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016 12:01 am

Pick the perfect wedding photographer

Your photo and video crews will be with you all day. Ask these questions to make sure you find the pro who will keep you smiling

Danielle Sprout & Ryan Caldwell.
PHOTO BY MOMENTS WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

 

You spend months planning in order to get every wedding detail perfect – the dress, flowers, centerpieces – but after the big day all you have are your memories and, of course, the photos and videos. You only get one shot to capture your wedding. To ensure your story gets told properly, it’s essential to pick the right professional.

Go pro
Photography and videography are not the cheapest parts about having a wedding. (According to TheKnot.com, couples spent an average of $2,440 and $1,700 on photography and videography, respectively, in 2013.) But, this is one area where you definitely don’t want to cut costs just to save a few bucks.

“You need somebody, if there’s a hurricane or a fire or three people’s cars break down or the bride’s dress falls in the mud, that at the end of the day is going to give you amazing images,” says Colleen Cahill, owner of Colleen Cahill Studios in Portland, Oregon. “That only happens with a professional who has a lot of experience under their belt.”

Personality match
Finding the right photographer or videographer isn’t just about technical skills – it’s also about getting along on a personal level. “Meet the photographer you’re going to be working with and make sure you jive from a personality standpoint,” says Lori Stephenson, owner of LOLA Event Productions in Chicago. “That person is going to be with you all day long, and the last thing you want is somebody you don’t like dealing with.”

Courtney & Kristen Morgan.
PHOTO BY ALICIA WESSEL PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Overall, you want someone who meshes with your style and personality as a couple – someone who makes you both feel comfortable and allows you to have fun in front of the camera. “If you’re hiring a photographer who’s dull and boring, chances are the photos you’re going to get will be dull and boring,” says Michael Blair, co-owner of B&B Portraits in Nashville. “You want someone who is going to joke around and have a fun personality.”

Once you’ve found the photographer you pair well with and whose work you love, quell the pre-wedding photo nerves with an engagement portrait session. Typically done about six months before the wedding, the session will give you a preview of the how your photographer will shoot you and allow all of you to build rapport.

Ask these questions
When you go to meet with potential photographers and videographers, make sure to be armed with plenty of questions about packages, pricing and the contract. Consider the following:

  • What is included in a package? Do we have the rights to the images/videos or digital copies? Do we have to buy an album right away?
  • Can we get our deposit back by a certain date if we change our minds?
  • How much experience do you have as the primary photographer/videographer?
  • What kind of equipment do you use (cameras, lighting, editing software)?
  • Are you bringing assistants? How many?
  • How much time do you usually allot for a wedding?
  • What is your back-up plan in case of an emergency?
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