What to Expect From Your Wedding Photographer
As you start to round up your Wedding day team, you create a mental list of what to look for in each vendor. Delicious food and raving reviews for your caterer, a good beat from your band or DJ, and maybe even a trial run with your hair and makeup gurus. When booking your photographer, you want to look for more than just a nice sample gallery.
Every photographer has his or her own custom wedding package. Here are a few tips on what to look out for when speaking to a photographer:
How many photographers do they have on their team?
If you are looking to host a wedding over 125 guests, I highly recommend ensuring that you have two photographers on your team to cover all ends of your wedding. Think about it, when you are taking photos while dancing with your friends, who will be able to capture the rest of your family’s special moments at the same time?
How many hours of coverage are included in your package.
There is nothing more frustrating than ending your wedding on a high note and then receiving a bill for over time. When creating your mental wedding timeline, try to estimate what time your “first look” will occur as well as what time your wedding will end. Then, make sure that your photographer is providing enough hours of coverage for your schedule. You don’t want their package to end in the middle of your reception.
How will you receive your photos?
Within the past few years, photographers began to stop providing proofs to their clients. Proofs are small printouts of your wedding photos, which make it easy to see all of your photos and organize them however you’d like. Nowadays, a lot of photographers provide a link to the photos instead. If you are someone who would like to receive proofs, make sure that they are included in your package. If you don’t feel the need for the physical proofs, make sure that you receive a link of high resolution downloadable photos. According to Leslie Farinacci, photographer and owner of Perennial Photography based in Manhattan, it is extremely important to “clarify what you are receiving. It is important to know whether you are receiving high-res files or sized-down photos (ones that won’t print well or you can’t print yourself). Also make sure you are receiving them free of watermarks.” If you do choose to go the route of receiving your photos on a link, be sure to clarify how many years the link will be available for you to access.
Does your photographer work with a shot list?
A shot list is a document that includes the names of important figures in your wedding and all of your desired wedding photo requests. Your photographer should create a shot list with you, specifying on all of the crucial photos that you expect to take during your wedding. If you want a photo with your mother’s aunt, make sure to specify that when creating the shot list. Your photographer generally does not know you and your family, so you cannot expect them to know exactly whom you’d like to be photographed with the day of.
Does your contract include an album?
Not all photographers include albums in their packages. If you are looking to add albums to your contract, here is a short guide on what to add.
· Couples Album: The couples album is exactly what it sounds like, the album for the couple. In my opinion, nice sizes for couple’s albums are either an 11x14 or a 12x12, depending on if you prefer square or rectangular. Typical couples album packages begin with 100 photos included, but it is very possible that you will end up exceeding that number. Speak to your photographer about how many photos they include within their couples album package.
· Parent Albums: The parent albums are smaller sized albums for the parents of the couple. I believe that a nice size for a parent album is a 9x9 book, but the choice is of course yours. Parent albums do not normally include as many photos as the couple’s album does. A package with a range of 50-75 photos is a nice amount.
· Different Styles of Albums: Speak to your photographer about the style of albums that they offer. Couples albums are usually referred to as Flush Mount Albums, while Layflat Books are the perfect choice for parent albums. You should also find out if they offer leather covers or acrylic.
Keep in mind that some photographers set a deadline for creating your albums and that prices may increase after specific time has gone by. Make sure to be notified of that as well.
Leslie recommends asking “if you were to “package” an album in with your contract for the photography coverage, does the price change vs. purchasing it after the fact? (Is there any benefit in packaging it all together?)”
Do they have experience with your “type” of wedding?
If you plan to include certain religious ceremonies or traditions on your wedding day, make sure that your photographer is well aware of them in advance. Ask if they have any experience photographing such ceremonies and take a look at some sample galleries depicting so. If they don’t have experience with your customs, that isn’t a direct stop sign. If you love everything else about this photographer, make sure to discuss all traditions and changes, big or small, subtle or obvious. Always best to be prepared.
Have your photographer show you some APPROPRIATE sample galleries. If you are getting married outdoors, make sure to take a look at some of their outdoor wedding galleries. If you plan to wed at a synagogue, check out your photographers past work in similar venues. Remember, you want to confirm that this photographer has the skillset to capture your special day.
In the age of the rise of Social Media, photos have become more important than ever. Your photographer may want to utilize your images for media purposes, so if you don’t want your photos shared publicly, make sure to specify that. Leslie explains “it is common for photographers to have a clause in their contracts citing that they retain the right to use your photos for publications and social media. You have the right to ask to keep your photos private”, but you must state it clearly.
Personality is extremely important! Get to know your photographer. Whether it’s meeting in person for an introduction or scheduling a call, it is important to figure out if you and your photographer mesh well. After all, they will be with you throughout your whole wedding day so you should choose to work with someone who you enjoy being around.
There are many people who don’t care much for their wedding photographer. Trust me, once the wedding is over all you have to look back at your special day are your photos. Don’t you want them to look nice?