Friday, February 21, 2014

Finding the Right Wedding Photographer for You {Part 3: Services}

It is important to think about what you want from your photographer.  What are your expectations?  Wedding photography services vary greatly from photographer to photographer. Do the photographers you are looking at offer packages or do you build your own wedding day coverage?  If they offer packages, can you customize them to fit your wedding dreams?

Many photographers offer packages with varying amounts of wedding day coverage.  Often, the coverage seems extreme at first, and you may be saying to yourself, "Who needs nine hours of photography coverage?!"  Take a moment to think about what moments on your day you want captured professionally.  When would you want your photographer to begin on the day of the wedding?  Do you want the time you spend getting your hair and makeup beautifully done with your bridesmaids at the salon captured?  Do you want the expression on your mothers face as she helps you put on your wedding gown?  These are moments that may be overlooked when considering your wedding day coverage, but they are beautiful moments that tell the story and emotion of your wedding day.  What moments during the reception do you want them to cover?  Would you like them to stay through the first dances?  The garter and bouquet toss?

In addition to coverage on your wedding day, you may want other sessions either before or after the wedding.  Engagement sessions are a common part of wedding packages, though not all photographers include them.  Be sure to ask about engagement sessions if you do not see them listed in a photographer's packages.  Even if you have had engagement pictures taken by someone else, it is an important session to have with the photographer who will be capturing your wedding day to begin to build your relationship.

There are many other sessions that you may want as well.  Are you interested in doing bridal portraits or a trash the dress session?  Would you want to do a boudoir session before the wedding to surprise your groom?  Many photographers offer these sessions and many do not, talk with the photographers you are interested and see if they do.

So you've figured out what wedding day coverage and photographic sessions you want from your photographer, now it's time to start talking about what the process is to retain their services.  It is important to have a contract.  This contract will clearly present what services you are hiring them for and what you expect them to deliver.  If you would like a chance to view their contract before meeting with them, most photographers will gladly send you a copy. Upon signing the contract most photographers require a retainer fee.  This retainer fee depends on the photographer.  Some are $500 some are 50% of the wedding collection.  This is another great topic to discuss with your photographer during your consultation.

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