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20 Questions to ask a wedding photographer before you hire one.

Article by John Rzasa

Hiring a wedding photographer is a very important step in planning your wedding. A photographer can be one of the priciest services you hire. Since the photos will document your special day for years to come, it's important to hire a photographer that matches what you want in wedding photos.

Here are 20 questions to ask a wedding photographer before you hire one.

1. What is your style of photography?
Photographers often specialize in a particular type of photography such as: portraits, candid, artistic, photojournalistic, or traditional posed and formal. Take some magazine clippings of photos you like to the meeting with the photographer to show him or her what styles you like.
2. Do you shoot in both color and black and white?
If the photographer shoots in color only, he or she can turn the photos into black and white.
3. Do you take photos in a digital format?
This format allows the photographer the most flexibility in editing and adding special effects such as sepia tones. They can also provide you with a CD or online portfolio of shots very soon after the wedding. This is a major plus!
4. Can we request a list of shots for you to take?
While you want your photographer to use his or her professional eye, this is still your wedding. Beware a photographer who will not take requested shots.
5. If you use film, do you develop it yourself? May we purchase the negatives?
Some photographers charge you on a per-print basis in addition to the fee for working your wedding. It's much more cost-effective to reproduce the negatives yourself in many cases. Check to see if this is an option for you.
6. Are you our actual photographer? Will you have an assistant? Will this cost extra?
These are great questions for a couple with a large wedding because it may require more than one photographer. Be sure the photographer lets you meet anyone who will be backing him or her up.
7. Do you have other events booked for the weekend of our wedding? Do you foresee any conflicts?
If a photographer is already booked up, be sure you get a guarantee in writing that your wedding will be covered. It would be disastrous to not have your photographer show up or to send a less experienced person.
8. What kind of equipment will you need to set up?
This will give you a good idea of any modifications you need to make to your wedding decor or setup. Tripods, lighting and even assistants can minimize your space in a small location. Be sure everything is going to fit without being in the way of your guests.
9. How many weddings have you worked? How many similar in style and size to our wedding?
This will be some valuable information about your photographer because you want someone who will understand the challenges associated with your particular size and style of wedding.
10. May we see a portfolio or samples of a wedding similar in size and style to ours?
The samples will probably be the ultimate deciding factor in hiring a photographer. Be sure you like what you see before you sign on the dotted line.
11. Do you offer packages that cover parts of the wedding?
For example, some photographers may give you a package that include photos of a groomsman golf outing or the bridesmaid luncheon, the rehearsal dinner, the wedding ceremony, the reception and portraits of the bride and groom.
12. Do you charge for the entire event and/or by the photo package?
Many wedding photographers charge you a fee for shooting the wedding and another fee for the photo package.
13. Do you have a written agreement that describes pricing and terms of service?
Just like with any other wedding vendor, it's important to get everything in writing. A photographer who brings this to the table on the forefront is a true professional.
14. Do you have any references we may call?
A truly professional photographer is proud of his or her work and uses customer testimonials to give credibility to his or her business. Be sure to call the references and find out their take on the photographer.

Here are a few questions to ask a photographer reference. These questions should help you make a decision on whether this photographer is right for you.

1. How did you find this particular photographer?
2. What made you decide to hire this photographer?
3. Did the photographer provide you with samples and a written agreement?
4. Were you pleased with the samples the photographer provided you?
5. Did the photographer capture the mood of your wedding in his or her photos?
6. Did the photographer give you photos that met your expectations?


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John Rzasa
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