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An awful photographer can ruin your wedding. After spending thousands of dollars on your big day, you don’t want a photographer to cost you the most cherished memories from one of the most important days of your life. It is important to take the time to find the perfect photographer instead of settling on the first consultation.

Start planning for your wedding photos six months in advance. Ask your friends, family and co-workers for recommendations from their weddings. If they do not have ideas, go to online social networks and pose the question, or spend a few hours researching wedding photographers.  Once you gather a list of potential photographers, visit with at least three to four before making a final decision. Ask the same questions to each candidate so you can accurately compare the talent.

As you meet with photographers they will present some of the best shots from various weddings as samples of their work. Ask for a complete book from a wedding with edited and unfinished photos. This will help determine if he provides the expertise you expect for your big day.

After viewing a sample book, explain the details of your wedding during the meeting. Once you fully explain the details, ask him to explain how he would shoot different parts of the day. You want to make sure you both have the same vision for your wedding photos.

In your head you may vision specifics photos from your wedding. Inquire if it is possible to create a plan that includes these photos that are important to you. It is also essential to know how many photos the photographer will take total to assure that you have enough photos to choose from in the end.

While making the plan for photos, ask if the photographer will visit Los Angeles banquet halls to find the best place for the wedding photos.  If the ideas are too vague or do not meet your expectations, this may not be the photographer for your wedding.

Aside from explaining the vision for the day, it’s important to determine if the photographer will use film or digital cameras to take the photos. If photos are completed digitally, they are available online for you to proof sooner than if you have to wait for negatives. Inquire how long the photos will be online or how long you have to wait for the negatives. The longer you have to wait, the more inconvenient or nerve-wracking it can be for you. Discuss at the same time how long it will take to receive your wedding album.

Once you discuss your expectations for the day and his vision, it’s significant to outline the technical aspects of hiring a photographer. First ask for references. The photographer will talk himself up, but past customers are the best way to learn exactly what it is like hiring him. They may have positive and negative things to say. Do a light search online for reviews on the photographer as well. If people had a disastrous experience, they will be vocal about it. You want to go out of your way to assure it is money well spent on your photographer.

Next inquire who will actually be taking the photographs. Photo studios will have multiple photographers they send out to weddings. Make sure you can have one of your top three choices. If they are not available, move on to a new studio so you can have the best photos of your day.

Discuss the price upfront with the photographer and get it in writing. You do not want last minute, unexpected charges in the end for services you do not need or were offered free during early meetings. Ask how much of a deposit is needed and how billing works. Next inquire what the cancellation policy is for both you and the photographer. If the photographer cancels last minute, that can create a massive stress to your wedding day. However, if you also find a better photographer for your budget or needs it is important to know if you can cancel once you sign the contract or not.

After discussing all of these points with a potential photographer, compared the answers. Choose only photographers you trust and think will do the best job. Once you are confident in the photographer, get everything written in a contract and meet to sign the paperwork. Make sure you keep a copy for yourself as a reference. After shopping around for a good photographer, you can relax that one thing is checked off your wedding to do list.

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Posted by Melissa Warners

Melissa is a guest  post writer at LaBanquets. She is writing about one of her favorite topics, wedding photography, and Los Angeles event planning tips.

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