It’s not always easy knowing if you’re booking the perfect photographer for your wedding. There are so many niggling thoughts that can build up to some serious Bridal anxiety.
- Will I feel comfortable in those truly intimate moments?
- Does he/she have the experience I’m looking for?
- And, of course, what if the weather isn’t perfect, say it rains and he/she has no experience of shooting in the rain?
Wedding photography can cause some serious sleepless nights!
Fortunately, getting the right photographer almost always comes down to asking the right questions. Knowing what to ask and what type of answers you are looking for can save you a ton of worry, and can help you move on to the important aspects of your wedding, like buying that oh-so hot dress or shoe shopping! So much more important.
To help you focus on what you desire we have devised 28 questions to ask your photographer and let us know in the comments if you have any others you would like to add…
1. What EXACTLY is included in the package? DVD, Download, Edits?
Will the package include prints, or will it simply be digital copies? How many hours do you get on the big day and do you have an overtime rate? Make sure you know EXACTLY what you are getting for your money.
2. Do you take a deposit? If so, when is the full balance due?
An obvious question, but one that couples so often forget! Find out exactly how much you owe the photographer and when you will be expected to pay the full balance. Imagine the panic come the end of the month when the photographer expects the balance paid in full. This is the stuff of credit card horror films!
3. How much do you charge for an extra hour?
From the ceremony that easily overran, to the best man who CANNOT stop blabbering on; trust me when I say your wedding day will be gone before you know it! Make sure you have the photographer booked for the full event to ensure that they aren’t clocking off minutes before you shake your thing for the first dance.
4. Does that include prints? If not, how much do they cost?
It’s not really a “trick” but it is something you should be wary of; many photographers will leave printed photographs out of their packages. Ask directly if your package includes prints and if not how much extra prints will cost. If they aren’t included it is a great idea to get recommendations for printed photographs from your photographer, as they will have sourced their own trusted, high quality suppliers, saving you much needed precious wedding planning time.
5. What is your cancellation policy?
Will you need one? Probably not. However a cancellation policy shows you that the photographer is experienced and prepared for all eventualities.
6. How many image edits will I receive?
What? What’s an image edit? Well, let’s just say, image edits are the wedding pictures you pin on Pinterest, they are the ones your best friend uploaded on Facebook and they are the ones your photographer will advertise on his or her website. Most photographers will only provide a handful of image edits up front, as they may snap 10 or even 20 of the same shot to get the angle perfect and you are just provided with 1 of these edits. Find your value for money by accessing how many edited images you get included in your package!
7. Are digital photos supplied via USB, DVD, or Download?
How many people still own DVD players (err… HELLO, Netflix!)? Most photographers will prefer supplying via USB, yet some may still be stuck in the age of disk formatting so it is worthwhile to check.
8. How would describe your photography style?
Are you a vintage bride who is loves the dark and brooding atmosphere a vintage wedding creates? Are you a destination bride who is saying ‘I Do’ in all of suns glory? Photography can cover so many different styles, so ensure your photographer’s style matches your theme by asking them this often enlightening question.
9. Do you provide your own lighting?
Some shots, especially during the shorter days, will require lighting. Photographers will often provide their own lighting, but it’s always worth knowing in advance.
10. Are you insured?
I’m sure I don’t have to lecture you on the hectic ways of weddings. The children bouncing from room to room, the drinks flowing and, of course, the scramble for a falling bouquet are all prime opportunities for damaged cameras. Ensure your photographer has adequate insurance to cover himself for any damage to his/her oh-so expensive equipment.
11. Do you have a qualification in photography or are you self-taught?
Not that the answer to this question really matters – you can be just as talented teaching your self photography as any degree or qualification paper may verify. This question is just a way of getting an idea of your photographer’s experience and how he/she came into the photography trade. A little history lesson is always a nice ice breaker.
12. Will you have assistants with you on the day?
Assistants are a must! There are so many angles during the ceremony that a photographer will need to capture. The bride gallantly walking down the aisle, the groom waiting nervously at the altar, and of course, the all enthralling kiss to seal your marriage; all these moments need to be captured from multiple angles.
13. What will you wear on the day?
Jeans and a T-shirt? Errr, nuh. A professional photographer will have suitable clothing available, but if you have any special attire requests (Harry Potter Wedding!) then it may be best to inform the photographer in advance.
14. What is your turnaround time?
The wait for your wedding photographs can be a painful one. Make sure you know in advance when you should expect to receive them!
15. Will it be you photographing my wedding?
It may sound like a stupid question, but with the rise of proxy photography it’s always nice to have that little bit of confidence that the guy you’re interviewing for the role will be your actual photographer on the day.
16. What is your contingency plan for “illness” or “unforeseen” circumstances?
The most important question you can ask a photographer. Does your photographer have suitable contingency plans for illness? What if some unforeseen emergency arises, like a missed flight? Who will cover their place? Can we see examples of their photography too? Forget to ask these questions and you could end up compiling your wedding day album from Cousin Jeremy’s Instagram snaps!
17. Can I request certain shots?
Most photographers will be more than happy to meet any of your requirements, but they will have a pre-planned schedule of what they’d like to shoot. Invite the photographer to contribute advice when planning your schedule for the day.
18. Are you comfortable shooting me getting ready?
From capturing your final moments with Dad before you walk down the aisle, to shooting that perfect first kiss; your wedding is going to be enthralled by so many intimate moments. Make sure you and the photographer feel comfortable shooting both the emotionally intimate and skin intimate (getting ready!) moments.
19. How many weddings do you shoot per year?
Another sneaky way of saying ‘How experienced are you?’ – asking this question helps give you an idea of how experienced (and how in demand) they really are. 20 weddings per year is on the higher end for most photographers I know!
20. How much time do you allot for…? Bride/Family/Guests
Now, most photographers will have a preliminary plan of how they would like your wedding photography to pan out. Ok, most likely this will vary greatly on the actual day, but a trained photographer with plenty of experience will know to the nearest half an hour how much time they need to photograph your whole wedding party.
21. Can we see a FULL set of images from a recent wedding you shot?
Most photographers will only post their edited and best photography in online portfolios. To help you examine their qualities fairly, ask for a FULL set of shots from a recent wedding.
22. How many weddings have you shot in your career?
1, 2 or 500? Experience is key and although every wedding photographer needs to start somewhere, I’m sure we can all admit that we want the perfect photographs to remember our special day.
23. Do you have any past customers I could call?
We can check TripAdvisor for venue references, we can check Yell.com for vendor references, but when it comes to photography, apart from carefully placed reviews, finding references to give you the confidence to book can be a little tricky. Your photographer will more than likely have some past customers they would be happy for you to call, and if they don’t, well, what does that tell you? Hmm.
24. Have you worked at “Said” venue before?
A photographer with great experience, coming at a great price and with experience shooting weddings at your venue? BONUS. Always ask, they may have some advice and oh-so funny tales.
25. Do you include discount engagement sessions?
Hey – we get it ok. This may sound cheeky, but engagement sessions can be a great way to get to know your photographer. We all need a wedding discount somewhere!
26. Can you tell us our rights in terms of the images and how they can be used?
Image rights is a huge issue for photographers. In our digital world it’s so easy to claim a photograph is your original work and the use and distribution of photography is a growing problem with social media. Find out what your rights are in advance.
27. Will you be using our photos in a commercial capacity?
Don’t fancy being published in every wedding magazine for the next century? Find out if your photographer intends to use your photos in a commercial capacity. Your best photographs will more than likely appear in your photographer’s portfolio, but if you don’t want your images to be used in a commercial capacity, notify your photographer in advance.
28. Do you charge clients to transfer the rights of your photography?
Most won’t charge you to transfer the rights, but it’s always worth knowing and signing the rights in advance instead of being held to ransom after the wedding.
Chat to your photographer.
The above questions are great, but getting know your photographer as a person is better. They will be taking some highly intimate photographs and you both need to feel comfortable in his/her presence. There is nothing worse than a Bride & Groom who feel wary in the presence of a camera.
Make a decision over guest photography.
While your Uncle Derek’s latest Nikon D25 Double Zoom camera may be great, it’s got nothing on your photographer’s equipment. Also, do you want all your photographs on Instagram before you get the chance to take a look over them? Most couples don’t have an issue, but, you know, each to their own.
Feeding the photographer is part of proper wedding etiquette.
Ok so he’s been with you since 6am, he’s trailed round the ceremony doing anything and everything to get “that shot” and it’s pushing 5pm and he/she has still not sat down for a bite to eat or a caffeine boost. Keep your photographer energized with a meal. Unless of course you want some weary looking photos!
Notify guests of the official photographer.
The iPhone 6 looks pretty cool, but when it’s photobombing your wedding vows – not so cool. Ask a groomsman to notify guests of the official photographer. He’s the one who will get the best shots, and, well, you did pay him all that money.
Don’t panic about the weather.
What’s the problem bridey? It’s a bit of rain! If you book an experienced photographer, he or she will have no problem executing the perfect shot – whatever the weather. Bonus: Bring cute umbrellas and oh-so red hot wellies. Once in a lifetime shots guaranteed!
Nominate a member of the wedding party to be the ‘Go-To-Guy’
This is usually the joint duties of the Best Man and Maid of Honour, but if they are stuck with something a little more important on the day, opt to appoint a groomsman or, Aunt Aileen, who is known for always being strictly organised. They are the ‘Go-to-Guy’ for your photographer, and they’ll play the role of ‘sheep herder’, ‘tour guide’ and ‘mega phone’ all rolled into one on the day.
Looking for more Wedding Photography advice? See our Top 5 things to know for your wedding photography.
Are you worried about wedding photography? Let us know your woes in the comments below and we’ll try our best to advise!