Long after the final toast has been made or the last couple has left the dance floor, wedding photos will help couples relive the wonderful memories of their ceremonies and receptions.

Wedding photographers realize the important role photography plays in a wedding.

The following tips can help guarantee a successful wedding shoot and beautiful photos to recall the best moments of the day.

* Seek referrals.

There are scores of wedding photographers, and some are better than others. Word of mouth from other couples can help. Referrals can offer insight into a photographer’s personality and his or her abilities to work with the wedding party and guests throughout the day.

* Communication is key.

An important component of wedding photography actually starts well before the wedding day. The way a photographer communicates with you about your wishes and desired shots is very important, as this is when to discuss specific shots you want taken during the ceremony, such as whether the bride wants to be seen and pose with the groom prior to tying the knot. In addition, this is a great time for the photographer to get familiar with each venue’s rules regarding vendors.

* Choose a photographer who is confident and firm.

A good photographer will be able to direct photo subjects and get everyone to participate and in line. Brides and grooms likely won’t want to handle such tasks on their own, so a confident and firm yet cordial photographer can be an invaluable asset.

* Prepare a shoot list.

Meet with the photographer before the wedding and provide a list of all the shots you absolutely need to get. This way the photographer can plan for these as well as capture the candid moments throughout the day.

* Discuss a backup plan with the photographer.

Mishaps happen, even on the most carefully planned wedding day. Discuss what the photographer does to safeguard your digital photo files. Are they backed-up to a cloud or a secured offsite server? Does the photographer bring along a second camera in case the primary one has a malfunction? What happens if he or she is ill on the day of the wedding? How is a replacement chosen?

Understanding how the photographer adapts to unforseen situations can make you feel more confident in choosing one photographer instead of another. The camera gear should also have adequate memory to store all of the photos, and a few backup batteries can’t hurt, either.

* Consider hiring a photographer’s assistant or second shooter.

The photographer is less likely to miss a shot or fail to capture various perspectives of the wedding if he or she works with a partner. While one photographer is doing close-up portraits, the other may be capturing candid moments from onlookers from another angle.

* Know what each package includes.

The photographer should clearly spell out which items and services are included as part of the contract. There should be no surprises when it’s time to pay the balance of the photographer’s fees, so go over each itemized detail to be sure the package in your contract is the one you really want.

* Get to know the photographer as a person.

It can be difficult to loosen up in front of the lens, particularly if you do not have a good rapport with the photographer. Do not judge the photographer on his or her body of work alone. You will likely grow more comfortable with the photographer if you get to know him or her in the months leading up to your wedding. 

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