ONLINE PROOFS: Choose a photographer who will posts the proofs online rather than meeting with you in person. Photographers will meet with clients after the wedding for an in person showing in order to sell them more than they would ordinarily purchase. A couple of glasses of champagne, the emotions are flowing, and before you know it you have purchased a ten foot canvas that will eventually be stored in the attic.
PRINTING RIGHTS: Arrange to receive all the retouched photos as high resolution digital images and, more importantly, obtain the printing rights from the photographer, and then order prints yourself directly from a professional printer. Wedding photographers are using the same professional printers that are available to nonprofessionals, but they are charging ten times the amount you would pay yourself. This can easily add up to more than you paid the photographer on the wedding day – a rude surprise after the wedding! Some photographers will only provide the digitals a year after the wedding or after you have purchased through them, in effect holding your pictures hostage.
WALL PHOTOS: Resist the temptation to purchase packages that include large wall photos of the bride in her dress. After the wedding your interest will be on the honeymoon, your new lives together, and the new family and not on the dress (it’s true – after the wedding, it’s not about the dress).
ENGAGEMENT SHOOT: Schedule an engagement shoot before you hire the photographer. This will allow you to see how they work and it gives you both an opportunity to get to know each other. This one thing will make the biggest difference in your wedding day photography. If you haven’t booked a wedding photographer yet, they may just do it without charging.
DON’T SKIMP ON THE WEDDING DAY: Don’t skimp on the cost of the photographer’s services for the wedding day. A good wedding photographer will charge several thousand to cover the entire wedding day – but there is a reason for that. For every hour the photographer spends during the wedding, they spend several more hours before and after the wedding. They are not just clicking pictures, they are creating art and memories. And definitely don’t hire a student, a friend, or an amateur – these are some of the most important photos you will ever have taken, so you don’t want a disaster – you just don’t want to pay more than you have to.