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Hiring a Wedding Photographer

A photographer is probably one of the most important hires you have to make for your wedding. Your wedding day deserves to be properly documented. Think of all the time, money and energy you have put into planning your wedding. You want that memorialized for yourself, your children and their children. You need a photographer that will do that for you.

Photography is art. Art is subjective to each person who looks at it. This is your wedding and your tastes and style will influence the kind of photography you want to memorialize your wedding. The standard posed pictures are okay, but sometimes, you want something different. You need a photographer who has that creative spark to pose you and your wedding party so your wedding pictures are beautiful and speak to the theme and feel of the day.

With today’s digital cameras, everybody proclaims to be a photographer. Sure, the pictures may be crisp and clear and perfect for framing and hanging on the wall, but you want to find the person who has that little something extra in their portfolio. You will know it when you see it. Maybe it is the angle they shoot from or maybe it is the way they get their subjects to relax. It is impossible to pinpoint and every person will have their own opinion about a picture.

Choosing a Photography Style

The three main styles are as follows:

Candid: Photos are snapped without the subject knowing. This is an excellent way to capture the feelings and emotions of a day and is very natural.

Portraits: Subjects are posed and are completely aware of the photographer snapping their picture. Backdrops that have been carefully chosen are usually used.

Edgy: A photographer will go completely on the opposite side of tradition and snap pictures that are unusual. Odd angles and subject placement are common for this style.

Artsy: Expect the photographer to use a lot of digital enhancements to create bold colors, blurred backgrounds and old-fashioned looks.

If several of these styles appeal to you, look for a photographer who will do portraits as well as hang around at the reception taking candid shots for your album. Ask your friends who they recommend. If they have recently used a photographer, ask to see their wedding albums. This is the best way to get the whole picture when looking for a photographer. Too often a photographer will display a handful of his best photos that may have been taken from over a 1000 pictures. You need to see everything the photographer can do and how a typical wedding album will look.

Meshing Personalities

Artistic professionals tend to have very pronounced personalities. You need to make sure you get along with a photographer. If the photographer is too pushy for your tastes, pass and choose another. If the photographer is eccentric and you are hosting a formal wedding, consider going with someone who is a bit more professional. Your photographer will be with you your entire day. If your personalities clash, it will add undue stress and potentially dampen the brightness of your special day.


Once you have found a photographer that has the right style and personality, it is time to talk money. Typically, photographers arrive 1 to 2 hours before the wedding to take portraits. Factor in the length of the ceremony and the key components of your reception i.e. cake cutting, toast, first dances and you will know how long you need your photographer to hang around. Plan on paying for 4 to 8 hours of service. Photographers will typically offer several packages. For example, 4 hours of shooting and a wedding album with 100 pictures. Carefully consider each package. Ask about additional prints and copyrights to the pictures. This is a biggie and you want to make sure you understand your rights. Your image may be used in promotional material for the photographer if he/she owns the image. If you are not comfortable with that, you will need to express your concerns and get it in writing if the photographer agrees not to use your pictures.

Post Wedding

The contract you sign with the photographer needs to include when you can expect your album to be ready for pickup. In the days following your wedding, you will be busy enjoying your new life and likely on your honeymoon. After the post-wedding glow wears off, you want to be able to sit down and relive the day with your pictures. How long will you need to wait before you can do that? On average, you can expect to wait a month before you are able to pick up your photographs. Get a date in writing. You don’t want to be strung along. If your wedding was particularly large and you had more than a thousand pictures taken, expect this timeframe to extend up to two months.

When the photographer lets you know the pictures are ready, review the album and ask about retouching certain photographs or adding and removing special effects. The fees for doing so should be included in your contract. The photographer’s vision of what is perfect will not always match your own. Do not be afraid to speak up and ask for something different.


A videographer is different from your photographer. If you want video footage of your wedding, you need to hire a separate person to do so. Follow the above guidelines for choosing a photographer when it comes to choosing the person who will document your wedding with video. Instead of the number of pictures taken, you will want to ask about the length of the video. Will it be 30 minutes, an hour or 2 hours? Get all costs up front including the editing fees and the number of copies you will be given. If music will be set to the video, make sure you have a say in what songs are used in the video montage. Photographs and footage of your wedding are priceless. Make sure you choose the person who will capture every one of your special moments for you to look at for years to come.