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Finding a suitable wedding photographer may not be as straightforward as it might at first seem. Most areas have numerous photographers who advertise their willingness to photograph local weddings and some are prepared to travel significant distances to the relevant venues. However, their services may be expensive and not always matched to the requirements of the bride and groom. A number of basic questions inevitably arise, each of which should be put to a photographer before a contract is signed.

  • Shop around local photographers to compare their services.
  • Ask to see a complete album from a single wedding, rather than a sample book containing all the best photographs the photographer has accumulated over the years.
  • Make sure that you see the work of the particular named photographer, or photographers, who you are considering booking.
  • Establish, as tactfully as possible, what qualifications the relevant photographers hold. Also ask what sort of equipment they use. Is it high-quality professional equipment or cheaper amateur gear?
  • Ask what local experience the photographers have. Do they know your chosen venue and the good locations and angles?
  • Make some decisions about the style of the photographs required - formal, informal, traditional, reportage, artistic etc.
  • Decide whether you prefer, colour, black-and-white, tinted or mixed images.
  • Estimate the period of time for which the photographer will be required. Is he or she to photograph the bride's preparation, the groom's preparation, the ceremony or service, the wedding breakfast or reception, some combination of these, or the whole day? Most wedding photographers charge significant amounts of money for additional hours, so book only what you need. However, bear in mind that weddings often run late - particularly once the ceremony or service is over.
  • Decide what coverage is required and hence how many photographers are needed. One photographer can only be in one place at a time. If the bride's preparation is to be photographed, it is generally not possible for one photographer to also photograph the groom's preparation or the arrival of the guests at the location of the ceremony or service. With a second photographer it might be possible to cover all three stages. It may also be preferable to have a second photographer if numerous candid photographs of the guests are required.The other photographer can then concentrate on the bridal party and close family and friends.
  • Once the date is booked with the chosen photographer, try to establish some sort of rapport or photographic relationship with him or her. A relaxed relationship and good communication between the two sides are beneficial and hence important.
  • Understand what is included in the package you book. Some photographers include everything needed, whilst others just take some pictures and maybe write them on to a CD or DVD. If you want an album of photographs, ask how much of its production is included in the quoted price. Also have a look at the standard price list for the additional prints that may be required by family and friends. If you want to have a copy of the original images on a CD or DVD, ask whether it is included or otherwise how much it will cost. Photographers generally charge a high price for such a disk because they are probably reducing or eliminating orders for prints.
  • Read the relevant terms and conditions which may be printed on the back of the contract - before you commit yourself to a booking.
  • Check locally about the reliability of the chosen photographers. Are they likely to cancel at the last minute? Do they always turn up? What would happen if they let you down?
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