Are you searching for your wedding photographer on Pinterest?  Or asking around to all your friends who recently got married?  Last week I was fortunate enough to catch up with Sarah from Sarah Goldman Photography.  Sarah is a wedding photographer based in Charleston, SC.  During our conversation I asked her what couples should consider when choosing their wedding photographer?  She said, “There are several important considerations in choosing your wedding photographer. Obviously, you need to like a photographer’s style.  When looking at websites, what do their images look like?  Dark and dramatic?  Light and airy?  Photojournalistic?   If you are drawn to high fashion photos with dramatic lighting, don’t pick a photographer with light airy, natural light type images.  Also, your photographer is the one person you are going to spend your entire wedding day with so you should genuinely like being around them!”
Then I asked – What are 3 questions every couple should ask their wedding photographer?  See below for her response.
1.  Do you have a second shooter?  
Most photographers offer an option for a second photographer at weddings.  Couples might be tempted to skip out on this to save money, but second shooters offer a second view point during the ceremony.  How cool is it when you see photos of the bride coming down the aisle and a second perspective of the groom seeing his bride for the first time.  Also, second shooters are helpful when the bride and groom are getting ready in different locations.  It’s not always feasible for your photographer to photograph the getting ready portion of both the bride and her bridesmaids and the groom and his groomsmen if they are the only photographer.  I always have a second shooter at least for the ceremony portion;  for me not only does it offer 2 perspectives, but it’s an insurance policy in case of equipment failure at an inopportune moment.
 
2.   How much time do you need for family photos and bride and groom portraits?
   
2-4 weeks in advance couples should sit down with their wedding photographer and discuss the timeline for the day.  The most common mistake I see is not adding enough time on the front end for getting ready photos, bridal portraits, etc.  The more photos you can do before the ceremony, the less time the family formals will take.  I also encourage couples to consider a “first look” before the ceremony.  The advantages of this are: being able to enjoy that first moment of seeing each other on your wedding day, getting to share a private moment before you are surrounded by wedding guests, and your photographer will be able to capture dozens of beautiful photos of the two of you.  This sit down is also the time to give your photographer a list of the family photos you want – your photographer should be able to offer a checklist that you can customize. 
 
3.  What kind of products do you offer?
Most couples just want the digital files from their wedding day, but consider this:  What are you going to do with those files?  Are you going to print them at Walmart or Shutterfly?  Are you going to share them on Facebook and then let that USB of images collect dust in a drawer? Prints and albums from drugstores and Shutterfly may be cheaper, but they will fade with time, and will not be true to color.  Professional photographers work with pro labs that print on archival paper and will have beautiful color.  Ask your photographer about print options, and other products available.  Your wedding photos were made to be printed – on paper, on canvas, and in a beautiful album.  You can’t hang a CD of images on the wall.
Thanks Sarah for the input!!  You can learn more about Sarah Goldman Photography at http://www.sarahgoldman.com/