Essential Questions to Ask Your Potential Wedding Photographer
Ok, so, you are officially feyonce status and you've started the planning.
The knot has sent you 995 emails with who, what, where, when, why and how with regards to wedding planning, and you may be sitting there feeling a tad overwhelmed. I feel you. I do.
When I planned my own wedding, I remember feeling a whole lot of pressure to find vendors that I could trust, that fit my budget, and that I vibed with. Luckily, I've got Jade, wedding coordinator extraordinaire on my side, but I also work in the industry which gave me a little context going into these vendor consults.
And today, I bestow my knowledge unto you, beautiful bride-to-be, because if there is one thing I pride myself on, and one thing only, it's my eagerness to help you plan your wedding day in a way that is relaxing and enjoyable. So hopefully this list of questions provides some insight and aids you in choosing the perfect photographer to capture your big day. And if this leads you right back here to SSP for your wedding day photography needs, why, wouldn't that be fancy?
1. How would you describe your style?
Here's the thing, you don't need to know squat about photography styles to ask this question, and trust me, you will want to know the answer. Before you go into your consult, think about the TYPES of images you want captured on your wedding day. What is most important to you? All the details and moments documented in a story-telling-editorial type style, or a highly posed, dramatic, avant-garde, vogue-esque feel? Are you all about the creative, posed, bridal party portraits, or does seeing the little, quiet, intimate moments captured make your heart sing? Look at your secret wedding pinterest board-what themes do you see running through the images you have pinned? Whatever you're answer to that question is, you are going to want your potential wedding photographer to match that style.
2. How many weddings have you shot/can you provide a ballpark number?
TBH, I don't know the exact number of weddings I've shot, and I don't really care to keep count, but I could provide a ballpark number for ya, and that's really all that matters. This question is pretty straightforward. You are just making sure you are hiring someone with experience.
3. Will there be a contract of services provided? If so, can I get a copy?
K, the answer needs to be yes with this one.
4. What happens if you get sick?
Again, rather straightforward. If I get sick, I have a handful of photographers I know with a similar style to mine that I would line up for your wedding day. However, unless I am in the hospital, I will be there. Even if I am in the hospital the day of your wedding, I am not guaranteeing that would prevent me from still getting to your wedding. Is that weird? Yea.
5. If I want you to stay longer, will you?
Personally, I book no other weddings or events on the day of your wedding, so I am ALL YOURS. I will always check in before leaving to see if you want anything else captured, or if you want me to stay until the end. If you do decide to have me hang around, we will simply make adjustments to your collection for the added time and send you an invoice. It's as simple as that. It's a valuable question to ask the photog you are meeting with because every photographer has different policies and preferences with how they go about taking care of things.
6. If I want to add to my collection after signing the contract, can I?
For me, absolutely. The only thing to keep in mind is there is no guarantee that the price of service is the same if you wait to add to your collection, but you are absolutely able to do so. Some photographers may say no, so I suggest prioritizing what you absolutely want included in your collection and leaving the non essentials for the possible late adds.
7. How long after the wedding can I expect to see my images?
This varies for every photographer. Some photographers outsource editing, and some do it all themselves. If you get married in the height of wedding season (June-September) expect your images to take a tad longer than if you were to get married during off season.
8. Are these collections customizable?
Also important. If a collection doesn't list everything you wanted in your dream collection, don't fret. Simply ask the photographer you are consulting with whether or not he/she is willing to discuss adding/subtracting from their collections to make a unique package that fits your needs.
9. Do I have to order my prints through you? Will I have the right to print my images elsewhere?
Sometimes big box photography companies will require you to do all of your print ordering through them, or they may have additional printing requirements that aren't listed in the packages on their website. It's good to always ask what ordering prints looks like.
10. Are you the photographer that will be capturing our wedding day?
MUY, MUY IMPORTANTE. Lets say you LOVE the style of the photog you've been consulting with, and you're really feeling their vibe. In fact, you decide that this photographer is JUST the person to capture your wedding day. Then the day comes and someone completely different shows up whose personality does not mesh well with yours, and you're stuck with this person following you around all.day. What's worse, is when you get your much anticipated wedding gallery back and the photographs are nothing like what you discussed with the photographer you originally met with. Not the end of the world, but a pretty big bummer. Clarify this right off the bat. Will the sweet photographer sitting across from you be the one working their magic on your wedding day? If the answer is no, you may want to reconsider.
11. Do I need a second photographer?
This depends. It never hurts and you get way more images from different perspectives, but it's not essential. If photography is something that is in your Top 5, then I'd say treat yourself and splurge for that second in command. Another thing you may want to take into account when deciding on a second photographer is your timeline. The photographer you are consulting with may require you have a second photographer in the instance you and the groom are getting ready in two different towns, and the window of time you hired the photographer for doesn't allow for him/her to capture both of you in the allotted time frame. Or, you just have a particularly tight timeline and the photographer thinks having a second photographer is a good idea. It's a good thing to ask.
12. What's your favorite part of shooting a wedding day?
This question allows the photographer you are consulting with to really show off their passion for shooting weddings. Most wedding photographers LOVE weddings. I know. Shocking. But you might find that you fall in love with the way they talk about shooting weddings. It will give you a certain sense of heightened trust that not only is this photographer qualified, but they also have a real passion for what they do.
FLIP THE SCRIPT!
Question for you to ask yourselves upon meeting your photographer: Do you LIKE the photographer you are meeting with?
This is crazy important! Remember, you are around your photographer more than you are around your future SPOUSE on your wedding day. Your photographer is with you as you get ready, your photographer is with you moments before you walk down the aisle, your photographer is with you as you cut your cake, raise your glass, and dance your first as well as your last dance of the night. If you don't LIKE the person you are thinking about hiring as your photographer, try consulting with a few other photographers before making your decision.
Any other questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments and I will answer as many as I can!