First we'll start with wedding photography.
There are many important factors that must be considered when selecting a photographer for your wedding.
Be sure to . . .
1) Compare and interview photographers.
One of the most important factors when making your decision should be whether the photographer is a member of PPA ( Professional Photographers of America) or some other professional organization. Most organizations require their members to operate thier businesses according to a certain set of standards, and if a prospective photographer is not a member of one of those organizations, chances are there's a reason. Don't be afraid to ask.
2) It's important that a prospective photographer is able to show you more than one COMPLETE wedding and not just a few of the best photographs taken from a variety of weddings.
The above fact is VERY important and may be hard to come by, but you should NOT settle for anything less! Just about anyone can snap hundreds if not thousands of pictures during a day long event like a wedding and be fairly certain that a small percentage of those photographs will be good. But that's not good enough. Ask your prospective photographer to see ALL of the photos from more than one wedding, not just a selection of his best work, which is what some photographers will attempt to provide. If you look at ALL of the images from 4 or 5 different weddings and you are impressed by what you see, then you can be certain that he or she is a professional wedding photographer and not just a part timer that got lucky on a few shots here and there. This is the true test of an exceptional professional photographer! You’ll be spending a lot of money on your wedding photography, so make sure you KNOW what you’re buying!
3) Make sure you feel comfortable with your photographer.
It's not enough to just like your photographer or his or her work, it's important that you really click with him or her and feel good about the person you have chosen to capture your most intimate moments, afterall you and your guests will be dealing with him throughout your entire wedding day and for months beyond! In addition, if the photographer makes you feel uncomfortable, you will be less likely to feel comfortable posing for photographs, which defeats the purpose of hiring a photographer in the first place.
4) If possible, try to avoid photography studios that contract their work out to other photographers. In other words, make certain that the delightful, talented photographer you spoke to prior to the big day will be the photographer who is actually photographing your big day.
At A Glance: Important Questions to Ask.
5) If I hire you to photograph my wedding day, can you guarantee me that you will be the photographer photographing my wedding?
6) If yes, do you have a back up plan in the event you are unable to photograph my wedding?
7) Do you offer retouching?
8) If so, do you charge extra for that service?
9) Do you do all the retouching in house?
10) Is there an additional fee for special finishes such as black and white and sepia?
11) Do you offer special services, such as handcoloring?
12) Do you offer packages?
13) What is included in your packages?
14) Are you willing to arrive early to photograph us (bride and groom) before the ceremony, if we decide to do that?
15) Do you arrive early to get the getting dressed shots?
16) Do your packages include one or two photographers?
17) Do you charge extra for a second photographer?
18) Do you work with an assistant?
19) Do you have backup equipment, in the event something fails or breaks?
20) Are you a film based studio? Digital? Or both?
21) If you are a digital studio, do you provide online proofing of my wedding day images?
22) Do you provide a CD of my wedding day images?
23) How do you present and deliver the proofs? (very important for out of town brides)
24) Do you charge an additional fee if the wedding service and reception are in two different locations?
25) Do you charge extra if we want to go to a third location for pictures?
26) Do you charge a travel fee?
27) Do you offer only traditional albums or do you offer a variety of options to choose from, like Storybook albums and coffee table style books?
28) Do you design the special albums yourself?
29) Do you work with a videographer?
30) How many photos do you take during a typical wedding?
31) Do you sell the negatives?
32) Do you offer parent albums?
33) Do your packages include photographing the rehearsal dinner?
As you can see from the above, it's very important to ask lots of questions when selecting your wedding photographer, as it will help you avoid any unwanted surprises on your special day!