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  • Writer's pictureKathryn Macphee

5 Tips for Choosing Your Photographer

After selecting your venue, your next big decision is deciding who you're going to hire to photograph your wedding day! You may have somebody in mind because they shot your cousin's wedding, or maybe you're completely lost on where to start. Either way, we highly recommend following these 5 tips to ensure you choose the right photographer for you!

1. Determine your budget

The first thing you should do when you start wedding planning is to determine your priorities, guest list, and budget, so when it comes to finding your photographer, you should already have an idea of what you would like to spend. Do some research to see what photographers cost in your area. We are finding that more and more photographers are listing their pricing online for you to see prior to reaching out!

In the Nova Scotia area, here at KM Wedding & Event Co, we often work with photographers who charge $3000 - $7000 for 8 hours. However, keep in mind that you are paying for more than those 8 hours on site. Photographers often include an engagement session, travel to a photo location outside of their office, spend hours coordinating all of the details, photograph your wedding day, and edit hundreds of photos. Not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars worth of gear to make shooting your wedding possible (Yes, I did say tens of thousands), their training/continuous education, and all of the subscriptions/fees needed to edit/keep your photos safe/run a business.

Now all of this does not mean that you can't find a photographer under $3000 for 8 hours, there are definitely some out there! But price does often reflect the photographer's experience, equipment and professionalism! If photography is not a high priority to you, consider somebody new or somebody who does it on the side!

2. Know what style of photography you want

Every photographer has a different style and it's important to know what style you like when hiring a photographer! When we start the process of hiring a photographer with our clients, we sit down with them and have them go through a range of photos to tell us what they like and dislike about each photo! This helps us truly understand their style!

When it comes to styles, there are photojournalistic/documentary, editorial, dark and moody, fine art, black and white, traditional, flash, vintage/film and sooo many other styles! Some photographers often do a combination. Take a look through their website, social media and even ask to see more examples of their work if you would like! It is extremely important that you truly love your photographer's style and overall work!

3. Hire a professional

Working with a professional makes a world of difference! A professional will have a process in place to make your pre-wedding prep easy and can offer great advice to help with planning. They are accustom to wedding day stress and know how a wedding flows. A professional will have the gear to shoot in any situation, whether it's natural light, artificial or no light at all! They will know what poses work best and how to wrangle a wedding party.

Professional photographers will be established on social media or on their websites, they will have reviews and past clients who can vouch for them! These are all great things to review to make sure you can trust the person you are hiring to phtograph one of the biggest days of your life!

As a wedding planner for the past 7 years, I have worked with a lotttt of photographers, and boy does the vibe change when we work with professional photographers! There's less stress and a smoother flow!

4. Make sure you connect with them

After you've reached out, established that they are within your budget, and know you love their work, set up a time to meet with them to connect and see if your personalities align! Your photographer should make you comfortable and feel like an old friend. Keeping good company on your wedding day will ease your stress! You'll be with your photographer for hours on one of the biggest days of your life, you want to make sure you get along well!

5. Read & understand your contract!

To make things official, your are going to need to sign a contract. Please please please read your contract and understand what you are signing! It is recommended that you run it by your lawyer, but at the very least you should understand exactly what you are signing and clarify anything you are unsure about. We are not authorized to give legal advise, but a few things that we look for in a photography contract are:

- Having each party is clearly defined with their contact information

- The date and location where the services will be taking place

- A summary of what each party will deliver (services/payment)

- List of any additional potential fees

- Cancellation policy

- Payment schedule

- Copyright details

- Model release

- Liability details

- Delivery times

- Ensuring both parties sign

Hiring a photographer is a big decision, and there's a lot to consider. Luckily, here in Nova Scotia, we have an amazing community of talented photographers!! As always, we highly recommend a wedding planner to help you find your perfect photographer, but if that's not in your budget, asking your venue or scrolling through vendors Instagram feeds to see who they credited in their posts are always great places to start!!

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