Your wedding pros. They’re the ones in charge of all your wedding day details. Working tirelessly to get you hitched and making your dreams come true for a living. They’re the ultimate “Dream Team!” And the truth is, your big day just wouldn’t be the same without them.

Hiring the right pros for the job is a big deal, and it’s a topic that raises a lot of questions for our couples.

  • When do you call a professional… and when are the DIY or phone a friend options acceptable?
  • What interview questions should you ask potential vendors?
  • And ultimately, how do you assemble the best team of wedding vendors out there?

For the next two weeks RiverStone is tackling some of these questions by taking a closer look at the photographers and videographers in the line up. When it comes to documenting your wedding day and capturing your most precious moments on film, these two are the real MVPs. So let’s dive right into answering WHY you need them and HOW to choose the right people for the task.

Why Hire a Photographer?

Your wedding photos (and videos) will be the most tangible reminders that you have of one of the most important days of your life. When you hire a professional photographer, you get the best quality photos taken with the best quality equipment. And we think it is SO worth the investment!

How to Choose Your Vendors

Conducting background research on your local wedding professionals is an incredibly important part of the wedding planning process, and there are multiple resources you can pull from in order to conduct your search. Word of mouth from friends or family and online reviews (Yelp, Wedding Wire, the Knot) are a couple of good places to start.

But we recommend that you do not hire anyone without conducting a personal interview first. When it comes to gathering information and assessing compatibility, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting. During a vendor interview, you should make it your goal to determine 3 main things:

  1. Are your styles compatible? Will they be able to execute your wedding day vision without trouble?
  2. Do all personalities mesh (yours, your fiancé’s, and the vendor’s)? Do you like each other and communicate well with one another?
  3. What is the cost and availability of each vendor?

Here are some specific questions to ask your photographer before you book…

Interview Questions for your Photographer:

  1. What’s your personal style?

Ask for a description of their personal style and printed examples of their work. Good photographers will have an extensive portfolio to share.

Traditionalists? Every image = posed portrait.

Photojournalists? Record events; not staged photos.

Photographic Artists? Find artistic ways to photograph people and events.

  1. Do you shoot digital, film, or both?

If they use film, be sure to ask if they primarily shoot in color or black & white.

  1. How will the photos be edited?

Will your photos be retouched and enhanced? If so, ask if you will get to see the proofs beforehand, and find out what kind of turnaround time you can expect for your photos.

  1. How many weddings have you shot?

How many weddings do they shoot annually? Do they book multiple weddings per weekend ? If so, how many bookings do they have surrounding your wedding date?

  1. Have you ever shot at our venue before?

If so, do they have any favorite shots to recommend? If not, how do they plan to prepare for your wedding? Are they willing to tour the venue beforehand?

  1. Do you use a second shooter?

If so, who do they use? Is the second shooter optional or part a packaged deal? Ask to meet the second shooter before your wedding day, if possible.

  1. What is included in your package(s)?

How many hours of coverage are included? How much do they charge for overtime? Does a particular package include prints, digital proofs, albums, an engagement shoot etc?

  1. What happens if you are unable to attend for some reason?

Is there a backup photographer? Contingency plan?

  1. Do you bring your own lighting?

If so, what kind? If not, how do they compensate?

  1. What’s the bottom line?

What are the deposit, total fee, and due dates of each payment?

The Takeaway…

Feel free to add and subtract from this list as you see fit! The important thing is that you find a professional you connect with and feel confident about. You need to know your “Dream Team” has your back! Speaking beforehand about your hopes and expectations will help ensure that you hire the right people to help you fully enjoy your big day!