What are the questions you need to ask your wedding photographer? I mean it sounds so easy and you probably already have a couple in your head. But perhaps a better title for this blog is what questions should you ask your wedding photographer. And why are these important?
By this point, you’ve managed to navigate your way through hundreds of wedding photographer websites. You’ve found a style of wedding photography you love & you’ve found a shortlist of amazing wedding photographers. You have now arranged a meeting with them and not only do you want to make sure you click with them as people, you want to make sure that they will do a great job of photographing your wedding. So here are the questions I think you need to ask.
TWO QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER BEFORE YOU MEET
This may sound simple, but I have had couples ask these questions at meetings (and so have many other photographers) and then be disappointed that the photographer is either out of their price range or even worse, unavailable for their date.
It is always worth checking these before your meeting. It saves time and avoids any disappointment.
So now we have the ones you need to ask before the meeting out of the way, let’s get to the top 8 questions you need to ask your potential wedding photographer.
1. WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU ARE ILL OR UNABLE TO ATTEND THE WEDDING?
Let’s get the worst-case scenario question out of the way straight away. You need to know what will happen in the worst-case scenario. Unfortunately, like all of us, things happen, the key is to know what backup your potential photographers have in place
What a good wedding photographer should say: You should be looking for them to say that they have a number of photographers that they can call upon should the worst happen. They are confident when they say this. The other thing they should say is that should the very worst happen and neither they nor any photographer can make the day, you will get 100% of your money back.
Sound the alarm: They say they will never miss your wedding or something similar. Of course, no photographer aims to miss a wedding, but they really should have some sort of backup plan in place.
I know this answer is not hugely reassuring, but it is honest. There could be an issue with one of your wedding vendors, but honestly, the chances are things will go perfectly.
There are hundreds of variables that could happen on your wedding day. You could be ill. Your wedding venue could burn down. You could see your wedding become the site of the first alien invasion on earth…. The likelihood is that they will not happen.
2. CAN I SEE A FULL WEDDING/SOME REVIEWS?
Personally, I think this is one of the most important questions to ask your wedding photographer. Portfolios are great. They are what introduced you to the photographer’s style and are the reason you are now meeting with them. However, a full wedding is something you really need to see. Why? Simply put, this will show you the quality of a photographer’s work across a whole wedding day. You want to see the story of the day through photography.
The thing you are looking for here is that several photos in the wedding you see will make you say things like “I love this photo”.
What a good wedding photographer should say: Of course, I will send XYZ’s wedding through. Their day was similar style to your plans. As for reviews, please check our Facebook and Google reviews online.
Sound the alarm if: You get any sort of stalling here. If they don’t want to show you something, there is more than likely a reason for it.
3. HOW DO YOU BACKUP YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS?
There is no point in choosing an amazing wedding photographer if they don’t have a great backup in place. Computers are something that do and will fail. You need to know that your photographer has chosen a method that keeps your images safe.
What a good wedding photographer should say: They will speak of things such as two cards in the cameras, offsite backups and cloud backups, etc. In fact, they will probably spout technical jargon that you don’t really understand. This should be reassuring, but remember, if you don’t understand what they are saying, stop and ask them.
Sound the alarm: They just replay with a blanket statement such as “I look after them”, “I keep them safe on my computer”, etc.
4. DO YOU HAVE BACKUP EQUIPMENT?
Like computers, cameras and technology will fail, usually when you least want it to. A wedding photographer should have a series of backups in place in case something breaks on a wedding day.
What a good wedding photographer should say: They will explain that they have backups of both camera bodies and lenses should the worst happen.
Sound the alarm: I’ve got my iPhone or it’s never failed on me yet.
5. CAN WE REQUEST SPECIFIC PHOTOS WE WOULD LIKE?
As a wedding photographer, you always get requests for certain images from a wedding day. This can be as simple as a request for a picture with a special someone or a detail that you really want to capture. Photographers value this input and will always try to accommodate it. Have some idea of what you want in terms of must-have photos.
Try not to come up with a massive list of shots though. Instead, work with your photographer, listen to their suggestions (they are the experts), and remember whilst the idea of 30 group shots sounds totally doable in 30 minutes, the reality is very different. You will get bored, it will take much longer than you think and you will wish you were enjoying your day with your family & friends.
What a good wedding photographer should say: They will listen to all your requests and guide you in the best way to incorporate them into your day. They may suggest against some of the shots or suggest that you have too many for the time you are planning to allow. This shows their experience and it really is worth taking their advice on this.
Sound the alarm: If they don’t do requests or refuse to entertain your ideas.
6. DO YOU HAVE INSURANCE?
This is something you hope you will never need to rely on but will give you peace of mind. Many venues will require your photographer have public liability insurance. As an example, National Trust Wedding venues will generally require your photographer to have public liability insurance up to two million pounds. Before you meet, just check with your wedding venue if they need to see the photographer’s insurance.
What a good wedding photographer should say: They will gladly supply you and your venue any copies of the insurance documents, should it be needed.
Sound the alarm: If they don’t have insurance.
7. WILL WE HAVE A CONTRACT?
A contract protects both you and the photographer. It will cover things such as what happens if the photographer is ill, as well as things such as style, number of photographs, etc. Make sure that when your photographer sends you their contract you read it fully. Doing this it will make sure you understand what you are getting for your money. As always, if you don’t understand the contract, ask the question.
What a good wedding photographer should say: They will give you a contract to sign, which they will then countersign and you will both have copies.
Sound the alarm: They do not offer a contract or say they have one, but will not provide you with a written copy.
THE QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELVES AFTER MEETING
8. DID YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE AROUND THE PHOTOGRAPHER?
Remember, you will spend more time with the photographer on your wedding day than anyone else (including your partner) make sure you are comfortable around them and are happy to have them as part of your day.
9. DID THEY SEEM KNOWLEDGEABLE? DID THEY HESITATE WHEN YOU ASKED THEM QUESTIONS?
Did they hesitate when you asked them questions? Did they have suggestions for your day? An experienced wedding photographer will put you at ease, answering any questions and adding inappropriate suggestions on how to improve the day.
10. DO YOU STILL LIKE THEIR PHOTOGRAPHS?
Once you have seen all of the photographer’s photographs, once again ask yourself, do I love their photographs? If the answer isn’t 100% yes, then it may be worth thinking again. On the flip of this, do not hesitate too long as good wedding photographers do tend to get booked up early.
11. DID THEY ADDRESS YOUR CONCERNS?
Did you leave the meeting feeling confident? If you did, you are on your way to finding your wedding photographer.
In reality, after the meeting, it is a simple case of trusting your instincts. If the first photographer you met was someone who you really liked, save yourself the time and book them.
Like when you knew it was the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you will know when you have met the perfect photographer to capture your day.
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