23 Sep Picking Your Texas Wedding Photographer
Wedding images are valued keepsakes, passed down through generations, and the only ceremony of the thousands of dollars and hours paid to plan one of the most vital days of your life. Other than the option of a spouse, the choice of the wedding photographer is the most important wedding-related move you will make, and is not to be taken lightly. Observing these ways can let you choose the best photographer to record your Big Day.
Decide what style of wedding photography you choose.
Are you looking for a traditional approach with mostly posed images? Or do you choose tons of candid shots in which the subject may not even know he or she is being photographed? Do you like the glamour method of fashion photography? Would you favor a photographer who combines all of these styles (a freestyle or eclectic wedding photographer)?
Determine the level of service you want from your wedding photographer.
Probably you only need photographs of your ceremony so having just 1-3 hours of photography may be enough for you. Other couples may like a complete package that may include pre-wedding engagement sessions, rehearsal dinner photographs, bridal portraits, and newlywed photos.
Decide how many photos you would like from your wedding celebration(s).
Some photographers may offer you under 100 images to keep in mind your wedding day. Higher-end photographers normally seize thousands of images (generally from 1,000 to 3,000) for you to keep forever.
Determine how much time and experience required processing your images yourself.
Various brides who pick photographers that only give them a disc of their images (no album, prints or other items) find that they lack the knowledge, software, or time to produce their own albums, and properly edit the photos (crop, color correct, etc.). Often, years later, these couples just have a stack of dusty, cheaply processed proof photos or photos on a disc that are not being lovingly featured as a reminder of the wedding day.
Identify your Budget.
Photographer fees, prints, albums, etc. usually come to about 12 % of the entire wedding budget. This will give you to promptly discard candidates which you cannot afford.
Decide how you will use your pictures.
Do you plan to buy an album only for yourself, or also pictures for your walls, prints to give to friends and family, or even put the images on stationery, invitations, calendars, mugs, T-shirts, and magnets?
Determine what form of your pictures you will want from your photographer.
Just acquiring the prints is sometimes affordable if you do not want an entire album. If you expect to need a large number of prints, it may be better (and faster) to purchase the negatives from your photographer and have the copies made privately, at your leisure. If you plan to use the images in many creative ways, or want to post them to a website or include them in a screen saver, you will probably want to receive the digital photo files directly from your photographer via the Internet or on a CD-ROM.
Ask your friends; inquire at bridal shops and with the management of the ceremony and event sites you have chosen. Also browse bridal websites for information and links to photographers that work in your area.
Make a listing of photographers which seem to match your criteria for price and available format.
Develop a short list of photographers that suit your budget and offer the products and services you want.
Research each of the photographers on your list:
This will qualify them before you get too excited about a certain photographer. If you simply must have a specific photographer, you may want to start with this step and then look to firm up your dates around the photographer’s available dates. There is more to choosing the right photographer than just taking good photos.
Remove from your list any photographers that are not available, have less-than-stellar records, weak references, or a style that you dislike.
Make your list even shorter. Try to narrow it down to just a few to choose from. Use things like price, what they involve in their shoot price and what their past clients have to say to get rid of some and rank the others.
Start the negotiations.
Now that you are ready to make an informed decision, take your final list of a few photographers and call each of them. Ask them about liability insurance (if they don’t have any, remove them immediately), ask them about any specials that they have and ask them if they are willing to do anything to help you make a final decision. Ask them if they charge sales tax and if so, on what services or products.
Remember that you are a consumer and that you are attempting to choose between service providers. If you want something, now is the time to ask for it. If you want someone to match another’s price or service, there is no harm in asking … the worse thing they can do is say no.
Make your final visits.
Now that you have the “final” short list, go to these meetings with your spouse-to-be if possible. Look at samples of their work, get a brochure with details about wedding packages, ask for a copy of their standard shot list (if they use a shot list which most experienced wedding photographers do not as they have well-memorized all the shots they need to get), and ask questions. See how polite they are. Ask yourself, “Is this someone I will want to be around when I am stressed, exhausted, dehydrated, overheated, and ready to faint in those uncomfortable shoes?”
Make sure you understand who owns your photography once the wedding is over. Some photographers retain ownership and that means that if you ever want a photo, you must buy prints from them. This can be ok, but keep in mind that the photographer may not be there for your 50th anniversary.
Think thoroughly about each of the photographers, their contract, and what they have offered to you.
Make a final decision and book.
Ask the photographer to pencil you in while you sign the contract and put together the deposit. All the things that need to be done to book your date can happen in that one day. Photographers are on a first come first serve basis and the best ones are hard to get. Don’t miss out because you were slow to get a contract back if you do find availability.
Do not pay 100% upfront. It is bad business and a respectable photographer won’t ask you to do it. Make financial plans and verify that all of the details are correct on the signed contract and that the photographer has the date correct in their system.
Confirm, confirm, confirm.
This is the principle of wedding planning. Don’t forget: your wedding is more crucial to you and your spouse-to-be than to anyone else. You must confirm appointments, plans, reservations, etc., several times– Once at contract signing, a second time 3-6 months before the event, and again 1-2 weeks before, at which time last minute details, changes, and requests can be worked out.