Selecting A Wedding Photographer

(WINDSOR, ON) – Weddings; it’s that time of year again. As of late, the flood of people with cameras offering images has seemingly exploded. It’s time to put some of this into the conversational arena and look into the bones of this boom.

The big day. Some people plan these few fleeting hours for decades. Girls and guys dream of the perfect wedding, perfect reception, perfect clothes, and a celebration with all their close friends and family. And perfect photos in which memories can live on.

The choices you make here could, have a huge impact on whether those memories will take place at all. If you shop it out, prices could live between $750 and $5,000, with an option of a video production. That’s a lot of budget when trying to keep all things reasonable.

But, what are the differences? Why is it that some of these people with cameras can tell you prices that will vary by such a large margin?

Considerations and Questions

  • Does your photographer have a body of work and history?
  • Have you seen examples of their finished work?
  • Do they have multiple references?
  • Do they have a site where you will be able to proof images and make selections?
  • Are they attending your wedding with a second shooter?
  • What plan is in place if they take ill on your special day?
  • How many hours and locations does your package give you?
  • How is the delivery of the images going to take place?
  • Are you getting all digital copies? Or, digital and paper prints and albums?
  • What are the total number of images you can expect?
  • Are they insured and can they provide proof of insurance?
  • Do they have back-up cameras which they will bring with them?
  • Are they shooting dual image cards in case of failure?
  • Are they using flash and, if so, what type? ie: on-camera or strobes.
  • What are the terms of the image rights after production?

The true answers to all of these questions lead down a long and complicated road, and there is no best fit or one right answer for everyone. A starting point for finding the answers you need would be to try an internet search, but don’t look up people first. Look for the common answers and then see if the people you have under consideration meet your findings.

The largest factor in these price differences lay in the details of these 15 questions. The people charging the lower end of this scale will, in all likelihood, have no insurance, they will be shooting with a mid-level body, and with just one memory card.

The glass (lenses) they use will probably be lower quality and variable aperture. Yes, that is a big deal.

The low end provider won’t have access to, or help from, a second person on your special day. Nor a proofing area on their website where you can privately go through your images and make choices prior to public consumption.

They will also not have elaborate backup systems to store and hold your images for future access. And, without that dual card system on their cameras, they’re just begging for trouble.

Through the 1970s and 80s, I shot well over 250 events and weddings. With the advent of digital imaging, some things have become much easier. But, along with that ease new and more complicated problems go hand-in-hand.

When we shot on film, you only had your skill and equipment to reply on to make sure the images were going to be 100% for the client. Today, it’s more to do with investment. Has your person invested in some or all of the items listed above?

The other side of the coin

You love Instagram images and think they’re perfect for you. In that case you shouldn’t be wasting your time reading any of this.

This is a very deep subject too large to address in a single column, but I implore you to ask these questions, at the very least, when interviewing your potential photographer for your special day.

There are no dress rehearsals on The Day. Your images will either be magic or a complete mess.

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About the Author

John Skinner
After ensuring quality control in a large commercial photo processing plant in the 1980s, John Skinner now shoots weddings and professional sporting events. As now part of Square Media Group, he is presently photographing sporting events and general assignment work. From Detroit to Windsor, and beyond, you'll find John at hockey games, concerts, track and field, council meetings, collisions, and fires, making images.