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Helpful Tips For Deciding on a Professional Wedding Photographer

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Over the years, your photographs will continue to refresh your memories of this special day.  The following are a number of helpful hints to keep in mind when selecting a wedding photographer.

 Don't make a snap decision on a photographer. After your decision to marry, this is probably one of the most important and lasting decisions you will make. Take your time and choose well.

Decide early. Most good photographers are booked nine to fifteen months in advance.

Make sure you are comfortable with the style of photography that the photographer can provide. The two main styles are traditional and photojournalism (the more candid, unposed type of photography) and most photographers will specialize in one, but provide some amount of the other. When choosing, think about the style that you prefer, but also think about what types of photographs you would like to give to your parents, and what you would like to show to your children years from now.
When you are looking at a studio's work, make sure that you are looking at the work of the photographer that will be doing your wedding. Some studios have multiple photographers and the work you see could be some other photographer's.
Make sure you are comfortable with your photographer. Photography is, by nature, intrusive. You will be spending a large amount of time in front of a camera on your wedding day. If you are not 100% comfortable with the photographer your discomfort will show in your photographs, and more important, you will be detracting from your happiness on your special day.
Does the photographer seem to be genuinely interested in your wedding, or is it just another job. Photographers who have a love of weddings tend to specialize in them, and in turn, will provide a better quality of service and finished product.
Once you have decided on a studio and a photographer, get the name of the photographer written into your contract. It is an unpleasant experience to have the photographer switched at the last minute.
Some studios, especially during busy months, will book a photographer for more than one wedding per day. Ask if the studio you are considering has this policy, and if they do, decide if you are comfortable with it. This could remove some possibility for flexibility on the part of your photographer for last minute changes to plans.
Many photographers will limit the number of hours that they will provide service. There are pro's and con's to this approach. While, on one hand, you only pay for the time you require, you also run the risk of either rushing to get images completed, having the photographer leave early and missing some images, or negotiating commercial arrangements on your wedding day. Understand the options that you have and make sure that you are comfortable with these.
Pay attention to the terms of the contract. Some photographers require full payment before they provide any wedding day services. Make sure you are comfortable with this. Ask about cancellation policies and satisfaction guarantees.
When comparing prices, make sure you understand what is included in the price quoted. What may seem like a low price initially may escalate quickly when you add in the extras you feel you will want. Make sure you understand what the additional costs will be.
Black & White photography has recently become popular again. If you are interested in having some portraits done in black & white, ask to see samples of the photographers work and if there is any additional charge for black & white. Also ask if the photographer uses black and white film or simply converts color photographs.
Digital Photography is quickly becoming popular with professional wedding photographers.  Ask your photographer if he uses film or digital to shoot your wedding.  If he uses digital make sure that he is using professional level equipment.  Small, inexpensive digital cameras may be fine for quick snapshots; however, enlargements from these cheaper cameras usually prove less than satisfactory.  When is doubt, remember this; film still works!
If you like a photographer, but you don't like any of the packages they offer, ask if they will be willing to customize a package for you. Most photographers will be happy to do this.

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Copyright 2003 Andrews Bay PhotographyLast modified: 03/15/04