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Wedding Photographer Search Criteria Help!

Discussion in 'Bride World Wide & Grooms Grooves' started by Daniel S., Aug 3, 2010.

  1. Daniel S.

    Jul 8, 2010
    by Daniel S. » Aug 3, 2010
    My wonderful fiancé and I have embarked on the search for a photographer and videographer for our wedding in July of next year. Through our limited searching we’ve decided that we’d like at least two photographers and at least one videographer there for the entire church ceremony and wedding reception. We’ve also decided that we’d like a mixture of more formal/ posed wedding images and photojournalistic images. Our budget for both photographer and videographer is in the 3-4K range.

    We’ve interviewed with a larger (about 10 photographers and 5 videographers on contract) local photographer and we have an interview with a smaller single person outfit this weekend (they do have at most two photographers). Other than the basics, we really don’t know how to compare different photographers. For those who’ve recently been married or are in the process, how did you choose your photographer and videographer? Were there certain characteristics that were a must? If you’ve already had your big day are things you would have done differently? This will be the biggest day of both of our lives and were really hoping to get it photographed and video recorded as best as we possibly can.

    To make things more complicated, the first photographer we interviewed with provided a number of discounts and upgrades but if we’re going to take advantage of them we must sign a contract with them within one week of our interview which was last night! :cry:

    Any and all advice is extremely appreciated! :wavey:
  2. LtlFirecracker

    Feb 29, 2008
    by LtlFirecracker » Aug 3, 2010
    When looking for my photographer, I looked on internet directories (e.g herecomestheguide, stylemepretty), and asked around on PS. A few women had gotten married as the same area as me. It was actually Gypsy who indirectly helped me find a photographer. She recommended hers, who was booked. That photographer recommended the person I ended up booking. I am so glad she did because I was getting discouraged. I didn't hire a videographer.

    Here were my criteria

    1) Do I like their work. Look at their online portfolio and request to see an unedited version of a wedding.
    2) How flexible are they? Are they totally artsy and want no input, or are they willing to let the bride give their opinion? I was looking for a photographer who specialized in photojournalism, but was willing to do posed shots.
    3) Does their style (posed, candid, creative) match the vision you have
    4) Are they in the budget? I know some people will not contact a photographer if their prices are not published. But if I would have done that I would have never found my photographer, her prices were actually quite reasonable for the area.
    5) When you write them, how long does it take to get back to you? This is looking at the professionalism ect
    6) Will they let me have the proofs after the wedding? My contract states that I get a DVD copy of all my photos about 1 month after the wedding.
    7) Do they have a back up plan in their contract if they cannot show (car accident ect)?

    Hope this helps
  3. stephbolt

    Dec 11, 2008
    by stephbolt » Aug 4, 2010
    My number one suggestion for people looking for a photographer is to ask to see an entire gallery of several weddings. An album or the photographer's website will only showcase the best work, but seeing all the photos taken as part of one wedding makes a huge difference. That helped us decide between two photographers of similar cost.
  4. septsparkle

    Jul 5, 2010
    by septsparkle » Aug 4, 2010
    I agree with me an entire wedding...not just the best shots from multiple weddings!

    I would also ask if you have full rights to your photos after the wedding. Some photographers will give you the proofs but they still hold the rights to them. We made sure to book a photographer that gives us full copying rights to the photos. If we want to take the DVD to walgreens and have 50 copies made of each photo, we can. That sort of thing. We are also able to post them online on facebook, forums, etc. without issue so long as we are not using them for any commercial reason.

    I'd also ask how many hours are included in the package. If you choose to have any photos taken while you are getting ready with your girls, etc. or if you decide to do "first look" photos and have some formals taken before the ceremony you'll need the photogs there earlier in the day. Great idea and helps alleviate the stress of rushing around after the ceremony to get all the shots taken in a short amount of time...but this is only okay if you don't mind fiance seeing you before the ceremony. I don't mind at all, so that's what we are doing.
  5. Mashira

    Jun 29, 2010
    by Mashira » Aug 4, 2010
    I agree with everyone else in that you should see the shots of an entire wedding. Also, something rubs me wrong about 'sign now, or no discount'. I don't like vendors that pressure you into a contract before you are ready to decide. It makes me feel as though they are saying, "Sign now, before you realize I'm not that great and leave."

    For me, a CD with full resolution images and copyrights is a must. On the note of hours.... ask if the hours are stop/start or continuous. This is important because if you have 5 hours, but they are continuous, and there is a two hour break between ceremony and reception, that's 2 hours of wasted time.
  6. Clairitek

    Jul 21, 2008
    by Clairitek » Aug 4, 2010
    Another ditto for Steph's comment. Seeing the whole gallery stopped me from booking a photographer that had killer shots on his website but the remainder of the photos (about 95% of the rest of the wedding) was sort of blah.

    I personally would not go with a huge company with 10 photographers in it unless I knew I could pick my specific photographer and see plenty of their work. Same goes for videographers.
  7. CharmyPoo

    Dec 10, 2004
    by CharmyPoo » Aug 7, 2010
    Photographer and videographer is on the top of our list right next to our venue. I actually didn't interview a lot because for me the prime deciding factor was the quality of their work. I was able to weed out most of them by looking at their online profiles. I also went on photography and videography forums to see who professionals are recommending. My photographer is by far one of our top choices - she is so good at what she does.

    The videographer is harder for me to chose. I love but don't love their price and can't justify it for videos. I then found an ex-employee who was also amazing but still over what I found. It took me lots and lots of investigation to finally find one I was happy with and that met my budget.

    Bottom line
    1. Check out their profiles and see the quality of their work. If you don't like what you see, it won't be any different for you.
    2. Select a short list of 3 and interview them
    3. Conduct reference checks (not with the ones they give you but if you can do some e-stalking)
    4. Chose the one that is the best fit for you and the one that can understand you best
  8. kagordo4

    Jul 21, 2009
    by kagordo4 » Aug 8, 2010
    My boyfriend is a photographer. I asked him what he would suggest someone ask. He said ask for references, bottom line. That way you can hear (from another bride!!) what they thought of the photog. I.E. did they show up on time? Were they professional? What did they wear to your wedding? He also ditto's not to sign a contract until you're comfortable!

    Good luck : )

    (Side note, he mentioned the photographer's dress because at a wedding that the groom's parents hired their own photographer... yeah I don't get it either.. but anyway the other guy came to the FORMAL wedding in an Hawaiian shirt, plaid shorts, and flip flops. I kid you not, SO took the other photographers picture : P The guy was apparently really good at what he did... but hello unprofessional. )
  9. megumic

    Mar 8, 2009
    by megumic » Aug 8, 2010
    For us, it was a matter of finding someone with a package that suited us, since we wanted a photo for a certain amount of time and certain elements, such as CD with all shots after 1 year. Also, I think it is absolutely key that you are comfortable with your photographer. He or she will be in your personal space, with you getting ready, and watching close by during your most intimate wedding moments -- you definitely need to like your photog and be comfortable being yourself around her or him.

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