The Mindful Bride, Wedding Planner Tips from  Selecting the Photographer

The photographs are the one part of the big day that is permanently fixed into wedding day memories, which is all the more reason to take meticulous care in selecting a photographer during the wedding planning process.  Start seeking out a photographer early on in the planning process, allowing 6 to 8 months, especially if the wedding is scheduled during the busy season, May through October.  A reference to or first-hand experience with a photographer is the best way to make an informed choice.  As part of a wedding party or a family member, spending the day with a photographer is truly the best way to get to know their skills and personality and determine if those characteristics meet your criteria.

If cost is a concern, there are ways to decrease expense, since a good photographer can be pricey.  Anything below $1000 is inexpensive, but average cost hovers around $3,000, and high end photographers can charge upwards of $10,000.  A few clever strategies can minimize costs and still capture those perfect moments on film.  One strategy is to hire a skilled, yet less experienced photographer; however, this is not recommended without a reference or experience with that individual.  While young, yet talented, photographers are trying to establish a name for themselves, they need to charge less to get business.  Another strategy to cut costs is to marry on a Friday or limit the time commitment of the photographer.  For example, most photographers will be available for pictures the entire wedding day; from the time the bride arrives at the salon through the reception.  Consider scheduling the photographer just before the ceremony, as the bride and groom get ready to walk down the aisle, or meet for pre-ceremony photos.  Some bride and grooms prefer the preparation time to be only with close family and friends, but consider the schedule carefully and make sure important moments are not missed.

To ensure that specific moments aren’t missed, provide the photographer with a must-have list of photos prior to the wedding day.  A bride and groom are far too occupied with wedding day events and talking with friends and family to remember to tell their photographer to capture specific moments.  A good photographer will know what moments to capture and how to stage a photograph, but they won’t know if a bride wants a photo with her two closest cousins, the groom with his fraternity brothers, or the parents dancing, for example.  Also inform your photographer of specific settings and backdrops desired before and after the ceremony.  A scenic park, alma mater, or urban setting can offer excellent settings for wedding party photos or just the bride and groom.  If the wedding is moderate to large in size, it is a must that a photographer has an assistant to capture all the special moments, some of which are unpredictable.

There’s only one day to create beautiful and quality photographs for your wedding so carefully consider all these variables and ask the right questions when interviewing photographers.  And, most importantly, ask to see a photographer’s work from previous clients.  Once the photographer is booked, it is one step closer to the big day!