Questions to ask your wedding photographer
Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer
A wedding is a once in a lifetime event. It's also one of the most expensive events you'll ever plan. So it makes sense that you want to get the best for your money, and hiring a professional photographer is an excellent way to do this. But how do you know if you're getting the best? There are many questions that come up during wedding planning, and I've compiled some of them here with answers for you to consider. I've also added questions that you need not ask your wedding photographer!
Do you have experience photographing weddings?
Ensuring your wedding photographer has plenty of experience will give you peace of mind. Find out how many weddings they do each year. Weddings are very different from other types of photography and you want to make sure your photographer knows what he or she is doing!
Are there any hidden fees or expenses that I should know about upfront, such as travelling or a photo album?
In addition to their photography fee, some wedding photographers charge extra for things like travel time on the wedding day, proofs, album design/printing costs and copyright release. The best way to avoid any potential surprise expenses is to make sure that they are all included in the quote you receive.
Does your contract include payment terms?
Even though the wedding photographer will be photographing your wedding, you should still have a contract that outlines the payment schedule. The contract should detail when the deposit is due, how much of the balance is due, and when the final payment will be due.
Are you insured?
It's important to make sure that your wedding photographer carries insurance. You never know what could happen on the wedding day and it's best to be prepared! Your venue will most likely request a copy of their public liability insurance.
What happens if you are ill or injured on the day?
A good wedding photographer should have a backup plan in case something like this happens. Hopefully, they'll have a good circle of professional photographers they can call upon should they be unable to attend on your wedding date.
Have you been to our wedding venue before?
This shouldn't be a deal-breaker as the success of a wedding photographer lies within his or her ability to capture your day using their chosen camera, composition skills, knowledge of lighting etc. Arriving early on the day to explore some possible locations for group shots/romantics is advantageous and something I like to do if I'm not familiar with the venue layout.
Do You Have My Date Available?
While it sounds like a simple question, this is actually one of the most important questions that you need to ask! As a wedding photographer, I typically book up around 12 months out from the date of the wedding. If your chosen photographer is already booked, you could ask them to recommend someone else of a similar style and skill-set.
Do you offer bespoke wedding packages?
Some wedding photographers offer a variety of packages to suit all budgets. If you don't see anything that works for you, ask if they can create something specifically tailored to your needs and budget - it's worth asking! A bespoke package will most likely be slightly more expensive but it's worth the extra money should it make things easier for you. Bespoke packages may look to add extra hours, wedding albums, second shooters, access to all the images, extended access to a web gallery, overnight accommodation included (if travelling long distances etc.)
What is the booking process?
Online booking forms are the norm these days. When you complete the form, make sure that it's completely filled out with all of your details before submitting it (double-check the venue address and the wedding date!). Some wedding photographers like to meet in person and others prefer to book via email. The recent introduction of Zoom and the like has made face-to-face meetings super easy so getting to know your photographer is a good opportunity to check his or her credentials and ask any questions you may have.
How do you handle bad weather on the day?
The weather can be unpredictable so it's important to discuss plans for the day should rain threaten your wedding. Some photographers are willing to stand in the rain with you and others aren't! Fortunately, I find that the rain won't last all day so nipping out to take important shots outside can be done. An experienced photographer should be able to handle all weather conditions.
Do you have any testimonials I can see?
Any good photographer should be able to present you with plenty of fantastic feedback from previous clients. A quick Google search of your photographer should present you with what you're after. Many wedding photographers quote from previous clients on their website so check that out too!
What is your shooting style?
A wedding photographer's shooting style is hugely important so make sure you get a sense of what they are all about before hiring them. Some photographers prefer to use manual settings (camera lingo for being really in control) while others love to 'point and shoot' at the scene without any adjustments. Whatever your photographer's style, make sure that it will complement your personality on the day.
Some photographers prefer to shoot using natural light, others like to use flash.
Do you offer engagement shoots as part of your package?
An engagement shoot is a wonderful idea as it gives you both the chance to get familiar with each other and experiment with shooting locations that may be used on the actual wedding day. It also gives you a chance to be in front of a camera which will help with the nerves on the day.
How long can I expect my photos to be delivered after the wedding?
Many photographers will deliver your photos in 6-8 weeks but some can take longer. It is important to discuss this before you book so that you know what to expect afterwards. During peak season, some photographers can take longer to deliver photos but ensure that this is made clear before you book.
How will I receive the images?
When you book your photographer, make sure that you get a clear idea of how the images will be delivered back to you. Some photographers prefer to deliver via an online gallery while others may like to pop them on a USB. If delivered online, find out how long they will stay there.
Will we have printing rights on the images?
Naturally, you'll want to get some of your wedding photography images printed so make sure that you are allowed to do this and that the price quoted includes logo-free images.
Will you have a second shooter on the day?
Having a second shooter can be priceless as they will capture moments that the main photographer may miss. Particularly useful at large weddings. It's by no means essential though so if your budget won't stretch that far, don't worry.
Choosing a professional wedding photographer can be tough, but it's important to ask the right questions if you want to get your money's worth.
Although these questions can give you a good indication of the professionalism of your photography, pay attention to the rapport you feel for them as you'll be spending a long time with them on your wedding day and this can override many of the above questions!
There are many more questions that you can ask, and some of these will be a matter of personal taste. You're the customer after all, so being proactive and ensuring you've got exactly what you want is going to put your mind at ease (and hopefully save you money!) Good luck with your wedding planning!
For a guide on wedding photographer costs, read my blog here