Something I hear from brides and grooms all the time is “I’ve never done this before,” which roughly translates to, “I don’t really know what I’m doing.” I know this feeling can be totally overwhelming and scary for couples; you’ve got to plan the biggest event of your life, spending quite a bit of money, and feel a bit out of your depth. My first suggestion is always, if you’re really feeling like it’s too much then hire a wedding planner! I know some amazing wedding planners, and in my experience weddings with planners run more smoothly, and are less stressful for the couple and their family. That being said, I understand that isn’t always the right choice for couples, and just because you have a planner doesn’t mean you shouldn’t educate yourself a bit.
One big part of wedding planning is to interview potential wedding vendors, narrow them down, and ultimately pick the right choice for you and your day. These interviews really come down to two things…asking questions, and getting to know the person behind the company that you’ll be working with. The latter is the easy part; go with your gut and you’ll be fine. The hard part is asking questions if you’ve never done this before and don’t know the right questions to ask. That is where this new blog series comes in; 10 Questions to Ask! Today I am starting with the most obvious for me, 10 questions to ask your wedding photographer. I have plans to do a post on each vendor category and have reached out to my colleagues in the industry to help me out; I have some amazing people lined up! Also, once I have completed the series I will be creating a downloadable that includes ALL of the questions, so keep an eye out for that! I am so excited for this series, and to help out any lovely couple to make sure they are picking the perfect vendors for their big day!
10 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer Before Booking
1 | How long have you been photographing weddings?
Finding a photographer that specifically photographs weddings is more important than you may think. Just because someone is a good photographer doesn’t mean that they have the experience to execute a wedding day, be a knowledgeable expert, and know what to do when unfortunate situations arise (as they often do). Wedding photography is unlike any other type of photography because there are no do-overs, and the important moments are constant and fleeting throughout the day. Don’t trust this important day to anyone who doesn’t have experience in wedding photography.
2 | Talk to me about the process with you? How much will we interact prior to and after the wedding day? What will our experience be like?
This may vary greatly, and there isn’t a wrong answer you just need to know what you’re looking for. Personally, I love helping my clients every step of the way. If you need vendor recommendations? Let me send you a list of my faves. Curious about which bridesmaid dress will photograph better? Send me your favorites! Unsure about your timeline? Great, let me help! (All of these are real questions I’ve gotten from brides in the last year). Other photographers are a bit more focused on their part of the day and may not be as interested in those things. Nothing is wrong with either, but figure out what kind of experience you are looking for to find the right person for you. When it comes to your wedding photographer, you will be with them more than anyone else on your wedding day and so it’s key to find someone who you genuinely like interacting with.
3 | What is your shooting style? How do you like to pose your couples? How do you tell the story of a wedding day?
This is how you can learn a bit about how they like to shoot…their artistic process if you will. Some photographers are more photojournalists, where they don’t ever interact with what they are photographing. Others will manipulate everything in the scene to make a beautiful photograph. Personally, I actually strive for a healthy mix of both. I manipulate what is necessary to make everything around my subjects beautiful (moving a chair out of the way, telling my brides the best place to stand when getting ready) and then I step back and let those moments happen organically.
4| What is your turn-around time?
I would say that in general the industry average would be 2-3 weeks for engagement/portrait sessions and 4-8 weeks for weddings. There are a lot of factors that go into how long it takes for your photographer to process your images. They are processing thousands of images, and you want someone to take their time and do it well. Mostly this is just good to know so you know what to expect after the fact.
5 | What is your editing style? How much editing/color correction will my images receive?
The best way to know a photographers style is to check out their website and social media pages (specifically Facebook and Instagram). When it comes to style (the overall look of images) you should start by finding someone you like. Photographers work hard to have a consistent style, and will not be able to authentically do something different because you like it more. In other words, don’t hire a photographer that produces light and airy images if you want something dark and moody. This is an important question because some photographers edit every image you’ll receive, some only edit photos you print, and some are somewhere in the middle. In my opinion, paying for a professional photographer means that every image you receive should be edited, but that does not mean it will be “photoshopped.” Taking out blemishes, or light poles is extremely labor intensive, so it’s good to know if they will do this for some or all images, and if there are any additional costs associated.
6 | Who is your 2nd photographer? If you don’t have the same person for every wedding, how do you choose your 2nd photographer for each wedding?
Some photographers will have someone on staff that shoots every wedding with them, others run their business on their own and use subcontractors for each event. This person will be photographing parts of your day potentially without the lead photographer, so it’s important to know they will be capable and personable.
7 | What are your favorite parts of the wedding day to photograph?
Want to get a photographer to light up? This is a great question to ask! Also, it will tell you a lot about what is important to them and why they photograph weddings in the first place. This question isn’t going to be make or break, but it is going to help you really get to know who is going to be documenting one of the most important days of your life.
8 | What will you/your team wear?
One of my biggest pet peeves is photographers who don’t wear appropriate attire to weddings. I am of the opinion that if you are photographing a wedding you should look as if you could be a wedding guest as to best blend in with the events of the day, and just in case you end up in the background of a photo. I’ve seen some professional business people not wear professional attire to weddings so it’s a good question to ask.
9 | What is the plan if there is an emergency or you are sick?
Life happens, and as wedding photographers we are taking on a huge responsibility sometimes years in advance. We never know when something will happen, and it’s not a fun conversation to have, but your wedding photographer should have an emergency plan in place. Generally, this comes down to question 6; if they have a great 2nd photographer this is generally the first line of the back-up plan. Personally, my husband knows exactly what to do and who to call if there is an emergency on a wedding day.
10 | What if I have questions? Will you be there for me during this process?
You’ve never done this before, and that’s ok. Your photographer should be there for you throughout the process, not just show up on the day to take pretty photographs. Find someone you trust so that you can rely on their experience and expertise. You should be able to ask any question, even if it feels silly, if it’s going to make you feel more comfortable and confident going in to the day. Your wedding day is going to be beautiful and amazing and will fly by…you don’t want to have stress or worries taking up your headspace. Finding a photographer that you trust is HUGE, and will make for a better experience and more authentic photographs.
These are the 10 questions I think you should ask when looking for a wedding photographer, but I’d love to hear from you! Let me know what questions you asked potential wedding photographers, or wish you would have asked, in the comments!! And keep your eyes out for more posts on 10 Questions to Ask!