Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer Before You Book
You’ve gotten engaged and set a date for your wedding, you are ready to book the right photographer to capture your wedding day memories. It is a very personal choice. Before you sit down and interview potential photographers be sure of a few things first so you aren’t waisting your very valuable wedding planning time.
1. Be sure you are working with an insured professional photographer.
2. Like the images in their gallery and the way they tell stories with their photos!
3. Know the package details and prices. Be sure they are in your general budget.
4. They are AVAILABLE for your wedding date.
After you’ve done your initial research and found 2 or 3 photographers who’s style and look fit your wedding day vision, you are ready to interview! It can be so hard to know what to ask of your photographer so I’ve come up with my top 5 questions to ask your wedding photographer before you book.
1. Describe your wedding photography style and can you walk me through your general wedding day work flow?
No matter what style your photographer resonates with, traditional , editorial, photojournalistic, natural light or minimalistic be sure you photographer is able to work in all lighting situations. If a photographer only works with natural light and your wedding venue is beautiful gothic church you need to be sure they are comfortable working in a very dark space or willing to use a flash and off camera flash when necessary. Ask to see some examples of weddings they have photographed in similar lighting situations. I LOVE working with artificial light and find the challenge to be incredibly rewarding.
Ask a photographer to walk you through their general wedding day work flow will give you a great idea of how they work and how you can expect your experience feel on your wedding day. Are they a true ‘fly on the wall’ who never directs you only capturing the day as it unfolds? Are they more interested in organizing shots and portraits? After photographing weddings for 9 years I have created a custom mix of the styles. I describe myself as an inspired photojournalist. It can be hard to be yourself completely when he camera is pointed in your direction. I like to offer gentle direct to couples to help them feel comfortable or find the best light in the room to create beautiful images in natural moments. I also understand the importance of traditional family portraits.
2. Do you have non-negotiable clauses I need to be aware of in the photography contract?
These can include:
-Does your photographer welcome your friends and family to bring their cameras and shoot along side of the contracted photographer?
-Will your photographer shoot off of a Pinterest list you’ve created?
-Does your photographer have rules on social media sharing? How do you credit the photographer when sharing? Can you put filters on their images?
Your photographer will surly have specifics to go over with you and will be happy to be completely transparent with requirements they may have in the contract. Each photographer has different preferences and these make or breaks might help you narrow down your choose further and also help you avoid hard conversations on the day of your wedding.
3. What are your ‘Plan B’ options? Can you provide examples of when you had to use Plan B on a wedding day?
Each wedding has an ideal plan of action but wedding days are rarely perfectly executed to the exact scheduled plan. It rains, equipment fails, cameras malfunction, traffic jams pop up… hello Madison on Saturday Badger Games!! Ask your photographer to explain their back up plan, do they have back up cameras and equipment? (They sure, as heck, better!) Ask them to explain specific situations where they had to make unexpected moments and schedule changes work.
What if your photographer can’t make your wedding day for some reason… a death in the family, a sick family member, a broken leg! I’m a solo wedding photographer but husband and wife team photographers have to be covered too. Is your photographer going to leave you high and dry in that situation or do they have a plan? It takes a lot for me to miss a wedding. I’ve photographed weddings with a child in the hospital. I’ve photographed weddings just a couple of weeks before having a baby too. BUT, I also have a plan if I can’t be there and it is important to me that my clients know what it looks like.
4. As a photographer, do you have an ideal wedding day schedule that you can suggest as we are planning our wedding?
Photographers are chuck full of information and asking them to help you plan the best times of day for portraits and setting up timelines is such a great idea. Of course, you can’t always control ceremony times and dinner times but if you have flexibility, asking your photographer to help out is a great idea. I love helping my clients plan portraits and wedding day stops… sunset is so dreamy and if you can squeeze in 10-15 minutes for portraits during that time you won’t regret it!
5.Do you think we need a second photographer at our wedding?
I often prefer photographing weddings all alone for a variety of reasons. I’m a control freak! I want to be sure the story is told according to my vision as I’ve spent with my couples and want the story to be as true to them as possible. It is easy for me to sink in and get the great candid moments when your guests aren’t constantly under the gun of multiple photographers and videographers. If you do want a second photographer you may want to ask your lead photographer how many of the images are typically used in the final gallery from the second photographer. For me, it is very rarely more than 75 images and my, go to, second photographers are really great! Which brings me back to my perfectionist nature! LOL
Questions that AREN’T so important…
I also get a few questions that I don’t think are as important to their decision process in choosing the right photographer either!
1. It is important to us that you have photographed at our venue? Can you show me a past wedding at our location?
If you are working with a true professional and you love the way they tell wedding day stories, they won’t need to have worked in your venue space. In fact, after 9 years I jump at the chance to photograph at weddings I’ve never been to before. I feel so inspired to work and create someplace new. I will often scout locations to read the light, and know special places I might want to visit as well… my kids are the best location scouts around if I’m really honest!
2. Will you give me the RAW files and all unedited files from the day?
Nope. First of all, you do not want those photos. Us photographers spend HOURS culling through those images and truly choose the very best. I am terrible too… I consistently over deliver to my couples which creates it’s own problem. They can’t choose their favorites when it comes to make the wedding day album! Trust your photographer to give you the best.
Over all choosing your photographer is such an important decision and not one you should take lightly. Meet your photographer, make sure you enjoy their company. Make sure you see more than a few glory images from weddings. The number one reason I started this blog was because I wanted my couples to see more than a few Facebook highlights. I wanted to share the imagery and tell true wedding stories from start to end.
Contact me if you would like to sit down and chat about your own wedding day vision!