You have spent a lot of time and money planning your special day. You have taken great pride in the kind of wedding you are going to have. One thing you will want is your special day recorded for all time.

Pictures of your wedding and reception are something you will treasure for the rest of your life. You want someone taking those pictures who know what they are doing, and how to get the memorable shots.

Professional vs a Friend?

Most brides and grooms face this decision. They have a friend who loves to take pictures as a hobby and offers to take their wedding pictures as a gift. Saving money is something everyone wants to do, but there are some places you shouldn't scrimp on. Your wedding photographs are one of those things. Unless your friend has a job as a photographer, hiring a professional is the best choice. Professionals will have the best equipment and have the knowledge to get the right shots.

When should you start looking for a photographer?

Your best bet is to hire one in plenty of time, preferable a year prior to your wedding date. Many photographers are booked far in advance, especially the really good ones.

How do I find a good one?

Finding a good photographer is not very hard. Wedding and bridal shows are wonderful places to get names and pricing information. Bridal magazines are another good place to look. Asking a friend who has had a wedding recently is an excellent way to not only find a photographer, but get a referral as well. You can also find listings for photographers in the yellow pages, but use this only to get a listing. Never hire someone without checking them out first.

Researching your choices

There are numerous ways to check out the photographers on your list. Most professionals have a web site. While you must remember the photographer put all that information on their site, it is still a good place to begin. They should have examples of their work, along with photo packages and pricing. You will also want to contact the Better Business Bureau in your area to see if the photographer has been reported. Most BBB's have web sites, so checking is easy.

References

Any photographer in business should be able to give a list of past customers. When you call, be sure to ask the following questions:

1. Was the photographer on time?
2. Was the cost reasonable?
3. Did you get the pictures you wanted?
4. Did you get them in the time frame you were quoted?
5. Did you have any problems with the photographers, or their staff?

Past clients are more inclined to be honest with a potential customer than with the photographer themselves.

Once you have narrowed the list down to your favorites, it is time to start calling them for quotes. Remember to always get a quote in writing. It makes it easier later on to remember what the photographer promised. Here are eleven questions you should ask any potential photographer.

1. Are you licensed?
2. How long have you been a photographer?
3. Will you be taking my pictures, or will one of your staff?
4. If one of your staff will be taking the pictures, will I get a chance to meet them ahead of time?
5. Do you have set packages available, and what are the costs for each of them?
6. How long will I have to wait for my pictures?
7. Do you do wedding albums too, or do I have to supply my own?
8. How much time will you spend at my wedding? At my reception?
9. is there a charge for overtime, should there are problems or it takes longer than you originally quoted?
10. Do you do the traditional poses, as well as your own unique ones?
11. Will my photos be available online for family and friends to order for themselves, or must I do all my ordering through your directly?

You will have more event related questions to ask your potential photographer. One question you should ask yourself is if you are comfortable with this photographer. A professional photographer will strive to make your special day run smooth. A professional photographer won't be pushy, rude, rushed, or annoyed. If the photographer you are interviewing seems to be any of these things, do not hire him. You will be stressed enough before, during and after your wedding; you don't need your photographer to make it worse.

A wedding is a special even and deserves to be remembered. Photographs are an excellent way to show the beauty of the day and hiring the right photographer will make your memories all the more special.