Questions to ask your Wedding Photographer
Updated: May 9
Hi everyone! I hope you are all surviving lockdown best you can, whether thats dealing with working from home, dealing with your kids 24/7 ( my hat goes off to nursery staff and teachers! ) whether you now have your partner at home with you 24/7 which is either great! ( more family time ) OR you have an extra kid on your hands. Whatever your situation is I hope you are staying safe and trying to find the silver lining from it day by day. Mine has been spent with plenty of time with the little one in the picture beneath with baking, playing, nursery rhymes (please stop asking for the wiggles and mr tumble!) but thankfully, she still naps - life saver!
My blog today I thought I would make the most of my extra time I have to write a little helpful note on those of you looking for a wedding photographer- Congratulations btw!! Now that couples are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel I have been having a few more wedding enquiries for next year, so I thought I would put a few questions and tips to look out for and ask when searching for your photographer. I LOVE photographing weddings, the joy of the day, the emotion, the laughter, and they're just absolutely beautiful, to be welcomed into being a part of someone else's wedding is something to take with pride and not to take lightly.
However with SO many of us out there, how do you go about choosing your right photographer for your special day? This is going to be someone who you are possibly going to have spending 8+ hours with you on your most important day, you want to make sure you choose someone who ticks all your boxes.
1. Do you have my date available?
This may seem pretty straight forward - however you don't want to go through all the hassle of asking every other question on the list to find out that they are perfect only to find out that they're not available on your date. Check the date first.
2.How many weddings have you shot/ experience?
This one will come down to preference of what you are looking for. Weddings are a uniquely busy, hectic event. A photographer needs the experience of having worked in weddings to have mastered capturing those special candid moments, getting ready, the ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast, speeches, first dance, cake cutting and also the small and fine details.
I am very honest and open by saying that I have only done a small handful of weddings, however I have completed those weddings with glowing reviews. Most importantly, find someone who is passionate about wedding photography and about capturing your special moments from dawn until dusk **Be wary of anyone who isn't honest, if they say they have years of experience but later you find out they have only shot a friends wedding, somethings not quite right.
3.Have You Worked at Our Venue Before? If Not, Will You Visit Beforehand?
Also, not the end of the world, if the photographer has already worked at the venue before they will already be aware of the lighting, the lay out and the location. If the photographer has not already worked at the venue before and is not offering to visit before hand, just bear the above points in mind. I personally always re-visit venues a couple of weeks prior to the wedding date to get a feel for the lighting at certain times of day when the time has been put aside for family and couples shots. I also will take a drive around the various locations the couple have booked for the day to familiarise myself with the route - nothing worse than a lost photographer who doesn't know where they are going!
4. What Wedding Packages Do You Offer?
Every wedding photographer I know has a variety of different packages they offer to couples. Find out what packages they offer, any add ons they may do, and what exactly is included in each. You don't want to agree to a package and price and then realise that their petrol and travel and the images are then extra ontop.
5.Will I Be Able to Give You a List of Specific Shots We’d Like?
Again, every wedding photographer I know will have a shot list they will go by. However I feel that if there are particular shots you want or don't want you should be able to air your views as to what it is you are looking for, it's your special day after all. I have a shot list I run through myself, and I am a candid photographer, however I will still ask the couple what family and couple shots they have in mind for the day.
6.Can we meet?
So your photographer is ticking all the boxes so far? Meeting your photographer is great for both parties, you can meet the photographer and get to know them, see if they're somebody you you would be comfortable working with ( they're going to be with you for 8+ hours on your wedding day! ) and the photographer can get to know you both as a couple, how your day is planned out, what interests you both have, how you guys got together, I love finding out all these little details. A photographer should have plenty of questions for you - be cautious of a photographer who doesn't ask you many questions when you meet. I always arrange at least 2 meets, initial meet so the couple can meet me, get to know me, see my face and make sure they're happy that we can work together. Go through the details of their day, their relationships and basically talk all things wedding. Shot list, their expectations, venues, timings.. you get the picture. If all goes well and I earn their business the 2nd meet I arrange a few weeks before the big day to finalise and possible changes to the days structure, finalise planned family shot lists, and generally run through any nerves they may have. I can be more than just a photographer, I can be an umbrella holder when it rains, I can be someone you speak to, someone to carry your bags ( I have been all of the above )
7.What Will You Be Wearing?
This is your special day, when everyone is dressed for a black tie event you may want to check that your photographer doesn't have a habit of turning up in a hoodie and jeans. However do be aware there is a lot of moving, bending, running, walking and weird body angles required for a wedding photographer, so if they do say they wear flats or leggings as apposed to high heels and a ballgown don't be surprised.
8. Do You have Back-up Equipment?
This is super important, can you imagine on your special day your photographer only having one camera and it goes faulty? Or your photographer finishing their day, getting home, only to realise their memory card has a problem and they cannot access your image? Its the things nightmares are made of. Ensure that your photographer has both back up equipment, this means lenses and camera bodies, and that atleast their main camera has a duel memory card slot - this means if one of their memory cards has a fault, it is automatically back up on the other. Its peace of mind for yourself to know your photographer has backup.
9. How Much is the Deposit and When Do You Need It By?
The question that possibly makes every wedding couples stomachs churn. However much it does so, it's an important question to ask - you want to make sure that you have all payment information, percentages, amounts and dates in writing.
10. When We Receive Digital Copies of All Images – and How Many Will That Be?
This is a tough one for each individual photographer - it will depend on many factors such as other weddings and work, whether it's a full or part time job, other commitments, and how much editing they do on images. Most photographers however should be able to give you a rough estimate on time length to receiving these images ( however they are delivered ) and a minimum amount of images you will receive. ** Be cautious of anyone who offers you 1000's of images delivered to you within a couple of days. Unless every photograph they take is spot on and they edit through the day and night, you may wish to ask a few questions.
11. Will you be the one shooting my wedding?
For us individual wedding photographers like myself, you will initial speak to me, you will continue to speak with me and then meet with me, until the special day and then it will be me who will turn up. For those bigger business who may lease out wedding photographers, just ask the question as you don't really want to be building a relationship with someone on the other end of your emails or meeting up with someone from the office who isn't actually your personal photographer. If this is the case, ask if you can meet the person who will be taking your photographs on the day.
12. How would you describe your working style?
This is the main component that will initially draw you to a photographer, their images. Thats who they are, how they work, how they edit and how they plan their day. There are 3 main types of photographer, Traditional which a photographer will focus on the formal posed shots. Contemporary, the more artistic and styled shots. Finally, documentary and Candid ( I'm one of these ) who will do as it says on the tin, document your day as it unfolds, usually staying out of the way and capturing natural moments and emotions. Some candid ( also me ) will however still offer the traditional posed group shots as they are as it says, traditional and 85% of couples want these images as keepsakes of their family and bridesmaids and groomsmen.
13. When will we receive the contract?
This is an important question, in my personal opinion I feel the bride and groom should be offered the contract to read through prior to meeting and certainly before any money is dealt with so any queries can be discussed from the contract. Every photographer will offer a different delivery and signing of the contract so just double check what their protocol is, and ensure you read it carefully and ask any questions about the contract that you are unsure about.
14. Do you accept payments in installations?
I won't lie, a wedding photographer can be expensive, it can be handy to know what payment plans a photographer can offer you. Some will and some may not offer different packages and different pay per month plans. I personally have a 3 and 6 month plans for any couples who wish to spread their costs.
15 Anything else you want to ask, ask!
Your photographer is going to be spending potentially all day at your wedding with you, your friends and family, capturing your most special and emotional moments. If I can offer my own advice from feedback I have had from other couples, is to choose a wedding photographer with good communication, someone who won't leave your questions unanswered for weeks. Most importantly make sure their fun, friendly and that you get along with them, this will make your day that much easier to have a reliable and friendly photographer who is happy to mingle and make your day as special for you as possible. I hope this helps a few of you that are looking for any wedding photographers, my hearts go to those of you who have had to reschedule your weddings. Next year is going to be looking very busy. I do have some availability left for the end of this year ( forever optimistic ) and for 2021 , so if you want to get in contact and ask me any of the above questions, just drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out my contact form on my website. Thank-you for reading! www.sianp-photography.com www.facebook.com/sianpphotography www.instagram.com/sianpphotography