Once a wedding date has been set, one of the first tasks of the future married couple is to line up a photographer to take what they hope will be priceless and cherished pictures – ones that you and others will look at for many years.

If the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” holds any truth, your wedding pictures will be especially important to you. Many couples mistakenly think of wedding pictures as staged pictures of the bride, groom, and the wedding party. Start thinking of your total set of wedding pictures as memorabilia that tells a story of a bride and groom’s special day – in preparation for, during, and the final moments before the honeymoon.

Because your wedding will be in front of possibly hundreds of your closest family and friends, choosing a wedding photographer to visually document your special day should be taken very seriously. Forget about having your cousin’s best friend who “takes great pictures”. Your day must be put into the hands of a professional, preferably the best you can find for your budget.

Here some questions and factors to consider before making the commitment to hiring the services of a wedding photographer.

1. What will the style of your wedding be? Will it be formal, informal, or semi-formal?

The answer to this simple question will play a key role in hiring the best photographer. For example, if your wedding will be in a formal setting, hire a wedding photographer that is traditional in their photographic style. Traditional photographers tend to notice and consider details when it comes to photography, angles of shots they take, balance, etc.

2. Photographers can vary greatly in price. That is why it is important to set a budget and adhere to it as closely as possible. Often you can apply the saying

“You get what you pay for” but not always. Expensive photographers generally are high in quality, but you may be able to find one that is just starting out with his/her business. In this case, they may take terrific pictures and their prices are still in line with what you can afford.

3. Before signing a contract with a wedding photographer, be sure you always read the fine print of the contract, so you know the services that you will be getting. Never leave it to chance and assume a photographer is going to perform his/her photographic duties the way you think they will. If you have extra requests or needs, be sure they are written in the contract. Once your day goes by it is too late to quibble over what should have been photographed. Better to have no surprises and that means a solid contract agreed upon by both parties.

4. Choose a photographer that is open to what you as a couple would like as far as your photographer’s duties. Some wedding photographers have been doing weddings for a long time and can get somewhat immune to the wishes of the couple, the wedding party, and guests. Select a photographer that is easy going and can take a little direction if needed. On the other hand, don’t try to tell the wedding photographer how to do his/her job. A happy medium is desirable.

5. Finally, (and this is an important one) be sure to ask to see a complete portfolio of the wedding photographers work. Be certain that is the style you would like. Sometimes photographers will “farm out” weddings and send another photographer that acts as a subcontractor for the photo studio. Be sure you ask exactly who will be the photographer on-site that day and ask to see their portfolios as well. Remember, the best wedding photos are the ones where there are no surprises on the part of the bride and groom.

Proper thought and research when choosing your wedding photographer will result in some of the most memorable pictures of your lifetime. Good luck!

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