Do you not know what to ask your wedding photographer? There are lots of things you should ask them such as are they available on your wedding day, do they have a contract, can you see their portfolio, and a bunch of other questions that you will think of! This blog is to help point out questions you may not be thinking of. Here are some of our suggested questions and why we think they are so important!
What’s your photography style?
What sort of photos matter the most to you? Do you like mainly posed photos, do you like the candid photos, do you like photos up close, or environmental shots? All of these are things that can fall into different photographers photo style and you want to understand what their particular style is to make sure that matches up with your likes. We specialize in candid shots so we often tailor to couples who really enjoy that style. All styles are great and have a place and like us many photographers can do many styles (i.e. we will still take your posed family pictures and they will be great but that isn’t our main style) All of this to say, communicate with your photographer and make sure they fit what you are looking for!
Do you use lighting, natural light, or both?
What does this even mean? It means does your photographer use lighting equipment to take photos or do they only use the light (and camera setting under their control) to take your photos. Why does this even matter? We use natural lighting as much as possible mainly because we do not want to setup equipment that will distract from your day. Do we use lighting equipment? Absolutely!!! On the other end, you want a photographer who is competent and comfortable using lighting because there will be moments when lighting is necessary or will greatly enhance a photo opportunity. Natural light photos and lighting equipment can have different looks as well, if you like one look over the other make sure you communicate that to your photographer so they can do the best to match your wishes!
What hours will you be there?
You want to know when your photographer is going to arrive and when they will for sure be there until. If you want them to be there to photograph you getting ready, make sure you all discuss that. Do you want to do a first look, make sure they are there early enough to do that before the wedding! Do you plan on doing a send off at a certain time-if you want them there for it make sure you discuss this with them. We like to cover the entire day so you do not have to worry about counting the hours you want us there. Thinking about how much of your day you want a photographer to document will help you decide between a photographer who offers you one flat rate for the whole day regardless of hours or a photographer whose business model is booking by hour allotments (ie 4 hours, 6 hours, 10 hours of photography).
Do you have a second shooter?
Do you care about having a second shooter? If so, make sure you ask if they will be bringing one! Another important secondary question is-do you work with the same second shooter regularly that you will be using for our wedding? This is important because you want to make sure that the second shooter is also a great photographer. When the photographer you booked has to go to the restroom or trips and breaks their arm (gosh I hope that doesn’t happen) the second shooter is the person who is going to be taking the photos now! You can also ask for examples of the second shooters work. We are very lucky to be a husband and wife team so we always get to work with the same second shooter!
What is your editing style?
There are a million editing styles (light and airy, heavy contrast, etc). Looking at a photographers portfolio is important and you want to make sure that their editing style matches what you like! Photographers style can also evolve so make sure to ask if the examples they show you are a good example of their current work or if they have changed anything lately. You don’t want to love a style they show you and then when they deliver your photos realize that was their editing style back in 2015 and they refuse to do that any longer! Communication is key!
Do you photoshop the photos you take?
The topic of photoshop can be a touchy one and you want to make sure you understand where your photographer falls and do some soul searching on what you want. Our policy is to remove things that are not permanent (i.e. a pimple that popped up day of, a fly away hair, etc.) If a client says they are self-conscious about something we are always happy to address something you want us to because we do want you to look back on these photos and love them. Communicating with your photographer about your wishes will help you ensure when you receive your photos that you love them!
How many events will you work that weekend?
We recommend asking this question because timelines and schedules ALWAYS change. Reread that, they ALWAYS change. We will only book one wedding a day. This is because our style is to document your entire event. If timelines/schedules change we want the flexibility to be able and stay longer to make sure we catch that sparkler sendoff or Grandma dancing with a groomsman!
Do you have insurance?
Things happen. Asking your photographer what insurance coverage they have only prepares you for those what if scenarios that we all hope never happen :)
Do you have backups to your equipment?
Y’all. THINGS HAPPEN. Have I said that enough? You want a photographer who thinks about those worst case scenarios and tries to mitigate them as much as possible. We bring extra camera bodies, lenses, more batteries than you need to power a small country and much much more. We know we can never guarantee we won’t have an issue but when something goes wrong, I never want to be the photographer who tells you I missed your first kiss! AHH, I would cry.
What attire will you/your team wear?
Ok, this one is personal for us. When we got married, our photographer showed up 2 hours after the agreed upon time in a wife beater tank top and crocs. To say I was horrified was the understatement of the century. Your photographer should blend in as much as possible to the wedding. They don’t need to be in a tux but when they walk in you don’t want to say, “Oh, My.” We try to wear neutral colors and look very professional while also fitting the formalness of the wedding.
If my event runs long, will you stay? Will it cost me?
Your schedule will change. Things will run long, others will go faster than you expected. You don’t want to spend all of this money on a photographer and then they aren’t there when you want them to be. We charge a flat rate and agree to be there through it all with you. Want us there at 8 am, I’ll bring the coffee! Want us to stay until midnight for an awesome dance party, please someone do the sprinkler or lawn mower! If you do need to ask your photographer to stay later, make sure you understand the cost associated if your photographers business model is charging by an hourly rate (i.e. you have booked them for 6 hours starting at 1:00 pm and now need them to stay an extra hour.
What is your data retention policy?
If you are hiring a photographer you want to make sure that they have a procedure in place if issues happen they can still deliver your photos. Most cameras use SD cards. These are great, but just like most technology they can fail. Some cameras have dual cards meaning that for every photo your photographer takes that photo is written to two SD cards. This creates a redundancy if one card fails that you do not lose all of those photos. Things can happen and obviously no plan is foolproof but knowing your photographer has plans in place and has actually thought about potential issues and what to do if those issues arise is important!
What is your data backup policy?
Once the event is over issues can STILL HAPPEN!!! Fires, computer crashes, hard drive crashes and many other things. You want to make sure that your photographer has ways to mitigate against issues. We backup all of the photos on to our computer the night of an event. We also keep the SD cards in our fire safe until we have the photos backed up from our computer to our cloud storage so that at all times we have two forms of saving and backing up our data (all Alan BTW)! He’s the best!
How long will you keep photos after the delivery date?
This is important because life happens. Your photographer will deliver your photos to you in one of many different ways such as via a website where you can download your photos, on a flash drive, CD or many other forms. What if you lose the flash drive, what if it doesn’t work, what if your niece or nephew dunks it into a cup of coffee? You want to know how long your photographer will keep your pictures so you can get your photos back! Much like our data backup policy, after we deliver photos to a client we also have a storage system where we store archived photos on mirrored hard drives so if one fails we still have them! Again, all Alan, he’s amazing!
Do you have other great questions you asked? Let us know, we would love to update the list to help out other bride’s and groom’s going through the photographer search!