How to Find the Perfect Wedding Photographer

Your wedding is a big deal. It doesn't matter if your ceremony is large and lavish or small and sedate; you want to document the moment.

In weddings, photographs are still the preferred medium of recording personal events. Watching a professional wedding video cannot replace the warm feelings received from flipping through a family photo album.

Choosing your wedding photographer is an important decision. A bad wedding photographer can steal moments that will be lost forever.

Why leave your big day to chance?

Don't hire your best friend's son unless he's a professional wedding photographer. Don't leave your photography needs to your brother and his digital camera.

No, your wedding day is not the day to take chances.

How Do I Find a Photographer?

If you've never hired a photographer, it can be a daunting task. The last thing you want is a hack photographer ruining your wedding pictures. But don't worry; there are some steps you can take to decrease your chances of hiring a bad photographer.

1. Ask friends and family for referrals. If friends and family feel comfortable enough to recommend a photographer, then he or she probably does great work. But be careful. Make sure the photographer is recommended based on their work instead of their personal relationship with the referrer. So if your coworker recommends his daughter, be sure he's not just trying to get his kid an assignment.

2. Check the photographer's portfolio. The photographer may take good photos, but they may not be to your liking. Is the photographer better with black and white than with color? Are the photos slightly out of focus? Are the poses to your liking? These are things to consider when evaluating a photographer's portfolio.

3. Ask about experience. Does the photographer specialize in weddings? Has she or he ever photographed a wedding? At this point, you should also ask for references. Speaking with past clients is a great way to judge the photographer's professionalism. Also make sure you meet the photographer with whom you'll be working. If you're working with an agency, they may send a photographer you haven't met or evaluated.

4. Judge the photographer's character. You're intrusting this person to record an important part of your life. Make sure the person is someone you'd like working with on a personal level. If they give you a bad vibe or seem unprofessional, look elsewhere.

5. Finances. The important thing is to get a good photographer, but you must also stay within your budget. The only time you should consider going above your budget is if the photographer is so good, until you just must hire them.

Tip: When speaking about money, find out exactly what's included. Are reprints included in the price? Does the photo album cost extra? If the photographer can't make it, do you get a full refund? Does the photographer have a partner that will complete the shoot? These are all important things to know.

6. Know when you'll receive the photos. It's not uncommon for a photographer to take months to provide proofs and finished photos. This can be terribly frustrating for a newly married couple. If you're not comfortable with the time given by the photographer, then look elsewhere.

7. Get it in writing. Make sure there's a written contract. No handshake deals allowed. Read the contract carefully before signing anything. If you have questions, ask them before the contract is signed. The contract should include even the smallest details right down to the time the photographer is due to arrive and leave.

Tip: The contract should also include your home address, the date, location, and time of the ceremony. Make sure your contact information, and the contact information of the ceremony location, is included in the contract. If your wedding is taking place on a beach or location with no phone, provide at least three cell numbers where someone can be reached.

Final Words: These are only a few things to consider. It seems like a lot because it is. But, if you want to hire a good photographer, it takes time and research. Your special day is worth the trouble.