In this digital age where everyone owns a cell phone and every cell phone has a camera, it can be easy to overlook the importance of the wedding photographer. You know that before you wake up the next morning, there will be hundreds of pictures on Facebook from every possible perspective.
But what you are missing from amateurs is the precision, attention to detail, clarity of image, and dedication that a professional photographer brings to the job. With a pro, you don’t have to worry about the photographer losing interest in the wedding, focusing too intently on certain people, or getting so sloshed that she cannot perform her job. With that in mind, here are some steps to take when deciding, interviewing, and negotiating.
1) Compose a List of Candidates
Ask for candidate names from recently-married friends, family members, and co-workers to see if you can hire someone with a personal recommendation. If you do not get any endorsements, go online to find local wedding photographers. You should hold at least two interviews, so that you aren’t forced to make a decision.
2) Ask Interviewees to Come Prepared
When the candidate arrives, he or she should bring a portfolio of previous work. This will allow you to see the style and technique employed and make sure that it matches your personal preferences. You can ask for references, but a full collection of photos is typically just as good, if not better.
Tip: You may interview someone looking for his first job. That is fine; everyone must start somewhere and you can usually receive a discount in price, but be prepared to accept the consequences if he fails.
3) Determine Expenses
Most engaged couples have a budget and will save money any way that they can. Blowing everything on a pricey photographer is not part of the plan, so first ask what the interviewee expects for compensation, then negotiate into a fair price. This process often takes place after all of the interviews when you are discussing options with your partner.
Tip: In order to ensure that your photographer does not double book or cancel last minute, it is best to meet their asking price.
4) Present a Detailed Outline of Expectations
When you select your top candidate meet with him or her again to discuss details. You will want to clearly lay out everything, including the length of the ceremony and reception, what targets to focus on, whether compensation includes a free meal and alcohol, and any other detail that you think is important. Also figure out if their service includes paper prints, digital options, or both.
5) Sign a Contract
When everything is agreed upon, make sure you sign a contract. You may explicitly trust the photographer, but there are still scenarios where you will want to protect yourself with an official document. The contract should state every detail, like when the photographer needs to arrive and leave, compensation, perks, and printing.