As a wedding photographer, I pride myself in being honest, fun, and just being in the moment. I thrive off people’s energy, creating a fun atmosphere and unplanned chaos that may come your way when you lease expect it. However, the reality is not all photographers are created equal. In this blog, I will be discussing basic questions to ask photographers, things you should really think about before you reach out to a photographer and the BS questions from other blogs that really don’t benefit you.
Here is a comprehensive list of questions you really should be asking a wedding photographer you are considering to hire:
Let’s start with the Basics.
- How many weddings do you photograph a year? What about on a given weekend?
- Do you offer retouching, color adjustment, spot removal, or other corrective services? Are they extra?
- How long after the wedding will we receive the images?
- Have you ever worked with a planner? Videographer?
- How would you describe your wedding style? Do you capture more candid moments or more artistically posed?
- Do you charge a travel fee? If so, what does it cover?
- What is your refund or cancellation policy?
- Do you have liability insurance? Does this cover your second photographer or assistant?Do you carry backup equipment such as an extra camera body, lenses, flashes, batteries, memory cards, etc?
- How many have weddings have you photographed?
- Will you be my photographer or will it be your associate?
- Do you use flash?
- Do you backup the photos after the wedding? How many locations do you backup in?
- Have you worked in the rain? Snow? Would you?
- Can I see not just your portfolio, but what to actually expect with your experience?
Hiring a wedding photographer who photographs 50 weddings a year vs 25, will be less burnt out physically, mentally and artistically. They will have more energy and be in the moment with you and your favorite people! Which means more authentic moments, experience, and cherished memories. You will invest more with this type of photographer though.
The length of time it takes to receive your photos also should be considered. A photographer who delivers in 7 days vs 8 weeks, more than likely spent more time editing those moments. They didn’t rush them.
Not all photographers include travel fees. If they do include them, typically its the first 30-50 miles that are included. You can expect to pay around the government standard rate or a flat fee.
It is important to find a photographer that backs your images up in multiple areas! If they don’t, you are at HIGH risk of losing all of those photographs.
Working in the rain or snow is not something all photographers are willing to do, not are they prepared to do so. This could be with their gear, shoes, etc. Personally, I have a bunch of clear umbrellas in my trunk at all times. You just never know what Mother Nature will bring. If you chose your venue based on the outside location/looks, you may want to consider what it will look like in not ideal weather conditions.
There are somethings you should think of before even reaching out to certain photographers.
- Style you prefer. I recommend building a Pinterest board of images you are more drawn to aesthetically. Are you seeing a common theme? Are you finding yourself more drawn to very light images? Maybe you prefer more dramatic images? Do you want someone who captures pure emotions?
- Is photography of super importance to you? Think of your favorite memory ever. Was it the birth of your child? Is it a family vacation? What if you never were able to tell that memory again? What you pay to get it back or share it?
- What do you plan to do with your wedding images? Do you just want to share it on social media? Do you want to hang framed prints? Do you want to give mom and dad a thank-you album? Does your photographer off anything outside of digitals? Do you they value prints? Believe it or not, this does play an important part in how the photographs are even taken.
- Read Reviews! Go on Google and type in the name of the photographer you are researching. Do they even have any reviews? Although this is hard to get from couples sometimes, it is important to read the actual reviews. Ask on social media if anyone has worked with this photographer!
- What do you want to feel when you see your images? Eliminate photographers that are not showcasing anything you want.
- Is your reception going to be in the hours when the sun sets? Make sure you request some photos (if you haven’t seen any) of receptions. A photographer who doesn’t know how to use flash, isn’t a photographer who can handle any given light situation. Life doesn’t always bless us with the most perfect lighting situations all day long.
- Why are you not reaching out to Uncle Bob who has a “nice” camera to take your photos? Why haven’t you looked on Craigslist to maybe shoot your wedding?
There are a million blogs on questions to ask wedding photographers! I’m going to be real here. Some of those questions really don’t matter.
Here are some things I don’t think you should stress about when researching your wedding photographer:
- Number of photos you will get. Most of the time, photos are duplicates because when a photographer is so focused on the number they said you would get, they end up giving you repetitive images instead of focusing on the quality of them.
- What does there editing process look like? Would you actually understand any of it?
- What gear they are using? Again, would you know the difference between a Nikon d5 or Nikon d850? Probably not.
- Do you require a shot list? A true professional, will know what is important to you before the wedding day even arrives. They will focus on those moments and be alert. Rather than looking down on a list and end up missing 99.9% of those shots.
- Have you ever photographed our venue? Although this is a good question, I don’t really find it relevant. Fresh eyes on a venue can be a good thing! Especially, if you want photos that are different from others. Rather than someone who has photographed a venue 200 times.
- The number of years they have photographed. Asking the number of weddings they have photographed will be of more relevance to you, I promise. I know photographers that have photographed for 3 years that INCREDIBLE at what they do because they bust their tail feathers. I also know photographers who have been doing this for 10+ years, and are so stuck in their own ways, that they seem a little outdated. They don’t like change. And their ego is more important.