Photo: Kisa Koenig Photography
Your wedding photographs are a tangible record of a special time in your life and a gift for generations to come. That's why choosing the right person is so important. Before hiring a photographer, you should consider several questions, including budget, photo style, and length of service. As you do so, it's also good to keep in mind other, more granular aspects that you might not have considered. We found some helpful etiquette questions and answers that should help guide you toward the right wedding photographer.
Can you give me a quick crib sheet on the technical side of photography?
A photographer's portfolio may be all you need to get a good sense of the type of work he or she can do for you. But knowing a little bit about the technical side of photography can help you when discussing equipment options. Photography done with a medium- or large-format camera will be less grainy when enlarged than images shot in 35 mm. If you prefer a natural look indoors and out and dislike flash photography, the photographer will use fast film, often film with an ASA of 200 or faster. However, faster film also loses sharpness when enlarged.
I love the look of black and white, but my parents want my pictures to be in color. Is one more appropriate than the other?
There is a decided trend toward black-and-white wedding photography, particularly among the burgeoning school of brides and grooms who prefer a more candid, photojournalistic approach. Although black-and-white film is less expensive, it is more expensive to process and print than color. If you want some black-and-white shots, make sure your photographer is skilled in this area. Many brides and grooms hire photographers who are willing to switch back and forth, capturing, for example, the processional in color and the recessional in black and white; this can be the best of both worlds, particularly when it is negotiated as part of the package. Be mindful that black and white won't preserve the day's colors, but it can confer a timelessness that can add power and beauty to some images.
Do we have any legal recourse in the event that our photographs don't turn out? Are the professionals expected to pay a damage fee, or will they offer to re-create portions of the day?
While nothing will replace lost photos, you shouldn't have to pay for someone else's errors or accidents. Make sure your contract clearly delineates not only your right to pay if work is not delivered but also the return of your deposit and the professional's financial responsibility to pay you if he or she doesn't deliver. If the photographer will not agree to the latter, check on industry wedding insurance with your insurance agent to see what coverage is available and at what cost.
In addition, your ceremony and reception sites may require liability insurance of any vendor or service you bring in from the outside. Check early on to see if it is required, and if so, make sure the professionals you hire have liability insurance and proof of insurance to be sent to those who require it.