May 2, 2011

Vendor Search Tips: Photographer

I love planning my wedding (far more than is normal!), but I found the vendor search a little frustrating. Isolating the best people and driving all over the state to meet (and not hire) them kind of sucked, as did learning everything that needed to go in the contracts. Since our parents are covering the wedding, I felt a lot of pressure to really research and make those vendor contracts as solid as possible.  I figure I’m not the only one who struggled with this process, so this week I'll share my personal tips and research.  The posts will have two parts: one, a form of questions  I created to bring when meeting potential vendors, and two, a list of things to include in your contract.

I’ll start with the photographer, since it’s super important and probably the longest post (consider yourself warned!).

I met with a lot of different photographers, so I created a form of questions that I could just print out before meetings and fill in as we talked. This allowed for even comparisons among photographers. It's humongous, but below, for your use (if you put it up anywhere though, link back to me please!)
Photographer Info

Phone Number

Location & Hours

Available on date:
# Weddings/day:
Name of person actually shooting:
Yes          No
Photography Style:

Film or Digital:
(film cost/proc incl?)
Equipment used:

B&W or Color:

Assistant used:
   Assistant’s Role
   Work samples
Yes         No
   Package options
   Hours in package
   Overtime rate
   Will they use a shot list?
   E-pics included?

   Included or extra?
   How/when do we
   get proofs (format)?

   Included & options
   Number of photos?
   Parent albums?
   Average number: 
   CD of digital files:
   Guest print ordering:

Backup plan if sick, etc

Bring extra lighting?
Yes          No
Familiar with venue?
Yes          No
Site visit:
Yes          No
Shooting Schedule or order of shots

   Deposit Required:
   Final Payment Due:
   Cancellation Policy:

(fee escalation protection, weddings per day, copyright ownership, available discounts, what they wear, references)
The only thing I will add to this is  make sure you see an entire proof book! Anyone can pick the best shots and put them in an album, but for me it was really critical to see as many sets of proofs as I can, to judge their overall work quality. I ruled out many photographers this way!

Just a few things to make sure you include in the contract. Not rocket science, but a good double check:
  •  Name of person who will shoot wedding
  •  When they will arrive and how long they will stay
  •  Minimum number of proofs
  •  Exact number of prints and type of album
  •  Exact dates of proof and final album deliveries
  •  Provisions if the photographer is sick or can’t cover wedding
  •  Payment schedule
  •  Additional charges for travel, overtime, etc.
  •  Spell out any special deals, extras, etc that you negotiate
Next up, the band!

1 comment:

  1. This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing! This will more than likely be our next vendor after the venue search!