The photographer you choose to capture the moments of your wedding in pictures will play a highly significant role in what is likely to be the single most important day of your life. Long after the band stops playing, the guests have gone home, the flowers have wilted, and all is said and done, all that will remain are memories and photographs.

With this in mind you’ll want to take great care in selecting a photographer. Many couples underestimate the importance of carefully selecting a good photographer, buying based on price alone, believing that one photographer is the same as the next. Later, when the day they have waited a lifetime for has come and gone, and the pictures are developed, all of the disappointment begins to set in. Follow these simple guidelines when selecting a photographer and you might just save yourself from some unexpected heartbreak.

Start Looking Early

It is advisable to begin shopping for a photographer as soon as you become engaged. Take the time to visit several different photographers in their studios and examine wedding pictures they have taken in the past. Ensure that you are specifically shown samples of their wedding photography. Looking at pictures of babies, pets, or sunsets won’t give you any indication of the photographer’s ability to take good wedding pictures!

Style of Photography

The best wedding photographers have a style of their own and you can tell their work apart very easily, with others the differences can be very subtle. Look for a style of photography that “speaks” to you. A good wedding photographer should have the ability to capture a mood of romance, emotion, and sentiment within their photographs. The shots shouldn’t just sit there, they should stir you in some way! They should provoke a reaction within you. Keep shopping until you find a photographer who speaks to you through his work in this way.

Wedding Experience

In addition to viewing samples of his work, be sure to find out how long the photographer has been shooting weddings and how many weddings he has done. Experience is important, not just for the quality of photograph, but also to ensure that your photographer knows how to professionally conduct himself on the job and to deal with the intensity of a wedding. An experienced wedding photographer will know how to position themselves without becoming a distraction to your guests while taking photos and should also know how to work in harmony with a videographer. They will be able to keep up with the pace of your wedding day, and be able to deal with the fact that they will have an atmosphere of excitement and emotion swirling around him as he works. They should also be able to handle people in an efficient yet polite and courteous manner.

Studios Which Employ More Than One Photographer

If you are dealing with a studio which employs a number of different photographers, you’ll want to be sure you are viewing the samples of the photographer who will be assigned to your wedding – so be sure to ask whether that is the case! It might seem obvious, however you might be surprised by how often studios have clients view the work of photographers who will have nothing to do with their wedding day! It is all to easy for a studio to show samples of their star photographer yet assign someone else to your wedding. You’ll also want to request a meeting with the photographer who will photograph your wedding. Remember, this is a highly personal occasion and you will be working very closely with the person taking your photograph. He will be following you around for the entire day, so it’s imperative that you have a chance to meet in advance to ensure that you are compatible and that there is no likelihood of a personality clash.

Who Keeps the Negatives?

If your photographer still shoots with film then chances are they won’t ¬†offer the negatives for sale. In the digital age it is now more likely that you will be able to purchase a disk of JPG files. Some couples are now just asking for these files instead of an album. If you had thought this was the best option for you, consider these points first:

1. Be sure of the resolution.

Digital files come in different resolutions for computer use and for printing. Be sure the files you are purchasing are print quality if that is what you want. It is all but guaranteed that a disk of low resolution files will be cheaper than print quality files. If all you want to do is store them and view them on your computer or TV, you don’t need high resolution files anyway.

2. Do you really need a disk of them all?

If all you want to do is print a couple of photographs yourself, buying a disk of all the photographs at print resolution might not be your best, or cheapest, option. It is quite likely that purchasing half a dozen prints from the photographer will be cheaper than a disk of all of them.

3. Compare prices

Couples often assume that a disk of files will be cheaper than an album, because a recordable CD and a case to put it in cost under a quid. What you have to remember is that you are not buying a blank disk, you are buying the data on it, your pictures. So a disk of 500 files may well cost you more than an album of 40 prints.

Finalizing the Arrangements

You should strive to actually book your photographer as soon as your wedding date has been firmly set. Good photographers are often booked as much as two years in advance, so don’t put this off. If left for later, you may become so entrenched in tending to all the various details of your wedding that you are unable to set aside the time required for meeting with photographers as the date draws nearer. This is one wedding detail which deserves to be given top priority .

Money Matters

Your photographer will likely require a deposit to hold your wedding date.

Price ranges for photographers vary dramatically, and as a general rule you get what you pay for. So if you book the cheapest photographer you come across, don’t expect amazing photographs. In hiring a photographer, you are paying for his or her experience, style, reputation, their time (which is not just the wedding day itself) as well as overhead costs. Select a photographer who is within your budget and whose quality and style of photography is consistent with your tastes. If the photographs are important to you, aim to spend as much as you can afford, not as little as you can get away with. Just remember to shop carefully. Wedding photography is an unregulated industry sp there are a lot of cowboys out there.

Insurance

Before finalizing any arrangements, be sure to check references, qualifications and if they are insured. There are three types of insurance a photographer can have, and only one of them is for their benefit, the other two are to protect their clients. Those two are Public Liability Insurance and Professional Indemnity Insurance. Public liability insurance will pay out in the instance of you or one of your guests having an accident due to the actions of the photographer. Tripping over his tripod or camera bag for instance. Professional indemnity insurance will pay out if the photographer is unable or unwilling to deliver the products of services you have paid for. For example, if the photographer does not turn up for whatever reason (car accident or being double booked for example), or if the photographer loses your photographs, of if his camera develops a fault on your wedding day and he can’t take any pictures. Professional indemnity insurance usually covers the photographer for paying to re-stage your entire wedding day.

Get It In Writing

When booking your photographer, always make sure to get everything in writing. A written agreement or contract with your photographer, itemizing all of the important details will protect you and prevent the potential for misunderstandings. It should be signed and dated by both you and the photographer, and you should each retain a copy. It should list all fees, taxes, and any extra charges, as well as what the photographer is to provide (number of hours of coverage, number of proofs, number of photos in the package, sizes of photos, etc.) The agreement should explain when deposits and balances are due. It should also clearly list the date of the wedding, and the location or locations the photographer will be required at, and the times at which he or she is to be there.