10 Steps to Choosing Your Wedding Photographer (2)

Today’s guest post comes to us from Derek Lamoureux, President of LC Productions Canada. Whether it’s the birth of a newborn or a couple’s first kiss at the wedding, LC Productions captures the magic of the moment!

Wedding photos are an important part of your wedding. There are only 24 hours that make up your wedding day. A day to be cherished with memories to pass down through generations. Your choice of a wedding photographer is not something that should be taken lightly. Following the steps below can help you choose the best wedding photographer to capture your special day.

1. Decide your style

What’s your taste in wedding photos? Are you the type that looks for candid wedding photo ideas on Pinterest? Or do you prefer the more traditional posed images? Do you like colour or black and white photography? Maybe you prefer a wedding photographer that combines all of these styles into one.

Read more after the cut!

2. Figure out how long you need them

Each couple has their own idea of how long they want the photographer to be at their service. Maybe you only want the photographer there for the ceremony. Perhaps you want an all day photography package that includes individual pictures of the couple as they get ready, photos of the ceremony, a 1-2 hour photo shoot (to get pictures with the family, wedding party and couple alone) and the reception (first dance, parent dances, bouquet and garter toss). Some photographers also offer pre-wedding pictures / engagement photos, rehearsal dinner photographs, and boudoir photography.

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3. Set your budget

Many couples begin planning their wedding and soon realize they cannot have all the things they may have wanted due to budget constraints. That being said, it is important to determine the amount you plan to spend on your wedding because photographer fees, prints, albums, etc. are approximately 15% of your budget ($20,000 budget means $3000 goes towards wedding photos). This will help you determine the photographers that fit your budget.

4. Determine your needs

Besides the photographer’s style and price, think about what exactly you want from them. Do you want someone that offers engagement photos and boudoir? Do you want a photographer who is also a photo editor? Does the photographer offer prints, digital or both? Find out if you or the photographer owns the copyright to the images.

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5. Ask for local referrals

We recommend looking for a local photographer because you can ask the management at the ceremony and reception venue their opinion and reviews from past couples. It’s also important to ask your family and friends to refer you to photographers they’ve had positive experiences with in the past. In addition, attend local bridal shows and wedding expos to gather information about professionals in your area.

6. Research photographer portfolios

Most professionals today have samples available online for you to look at to help you make your final decision. If they don’t have an online portfolio, ask to see examples of their work… a FULL wedding and not just their best shots of the day. Ask for a list of their previous clients and contact them to see if they were happy with the end results.

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7. Interview them via email first

Time to ask questions. You don’t want to waste your time physically meeting each and every photographer face to face unless they meet the very basic of requirements. Email (or Skype!) is your best bet, at least initially. Ask them questions such as:

1. Are they available?
2. How much experience do they have?
3. Do they specialize in weddings?
4. How soon do you get your photos?
5. What is their deposit and payment schedule?
6. Do they have insurance?
7. Do they charge tax?
8. Do they have backup equipment?

8. Narrow down your list of potentials

So they have met all your criteria so far and answered everything to your liking over the phone… now it comes down to personality. Are they friendly, polite, and easy to get along with? Who do you want to invest 15% of your budget on? Time to cut down your list to 3-4 potentials and make an appointment to meet each one face to face.

9. Discuss with your fiancé

This is an important part of your special day. Like any big decision, talk to your fiancé after your initial meeting with each photographer and sleep on it. Your photographer could be with you the whole day and could see you when you are most vulnerable. Pick someone you’re comfortable around and trust to be a part of your wedding day.

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10. Book and confirm your wedding date

Call your chosen photographer and ask them to reserve your wedding date. Sign the contract and place your deposit. Remember to follow-up with your photographer to discuss last minute details, changes, and requests.

Final Tips:

  • Good wedding photographers are like anything else, they book fast; so reserve yours a year in advance
  • A photographer’s website is a good way to determine their style, price, and services
  • Review the contract thoroughly
  • Get a receipt for your deposit
  • Discuss the final amount and any additional costs
  • Be sure to include any special requests/shots

Above all listen to your instincts and remember that you get what you pay for!

Thanks Derek! For more information about LC Productions Canada, please visit their website. This post was originally featured on their blog.

Do you have any questions or comments for Derek? Add them to the comments below!