Choosing a wedding photographer can be difficult these days. With an over saturated market and so many people calling themselves a wedding photographer, how do you know which one is the best fit for you? Today I’m sharing 10 essential questions every bride should ask their photographer. While planning your wedding, you want to ask questions to be prepared and ensure you know exactly what you are paying for. Aside from the primary questions including the photographers experience and a sample of their previous work, this blog post will cover 10 essential questions every bride should ask her photographer!
You most likely have a particular style of photography that you are attracted to. Most photographers present their best work on their website and there should be a consistent style displayed. There are several styles of photography including traditional, documentary, creative, film, etc. Traditional focuses on the posed portraits and key moments while creative photography would break the traditional poses offering a unique style of portraits. Each photographer also has their own editing style. The editing style may be dark and moody, bright and cheerful, timeless and candid, light and airy, and so on. It’s important to pick what you desire and search for that style of photographer before emailing anyone and everyone.
Most photographers display their starting rates on their website, but it is important to ask for a full pricing guide and be sure you know exactly what you are getting. You will want to get specifics on how many hours the base rate covers, how many images you can expect to receive, if an engagement session is included, etc. You do not want any surprises when it comes to your wedding coverage!
It’s so funny how times have changed. Ten years ago, handing over the digital copies to a bride was really unheard of. In today’s world, digital copies are everything to a bride! Most photographers today will include digital copies in their wedding package, but it is still important to double check!
This is one of the most important questions that you need to ask each and every photographer that you consider for your wedding day! I have not only a backup camera body but a wide assortment of different lenses. Technology is absolutely incredible but it can fail and I can’t imagine showing up to a wedding day without an extra camera!
Many venues require other vendors to carry their own insurance! If your photographer doesn’t have liability insurance then you typically get hit with the cost of this for your wedding day so it is important to know if this will need to be covered by you or not. I have full equipment and liability insurance. Almost every venue requires this now and I think it is so important for every photographer to be covered not only for the Bride’s venue but for themselves!
This is my worst fear! I tell my Brides I will do everything in my power to make it to their wedding day, but there is always a possibility that something could go wrong. What happens if your photographer becomes extremely sick or is injured the day before your wedding? This may not be a common occurrence (praise the Lord!) but you do not want to be the Bride that never checked! Most photographers have a large network of other wedding photographers they can turn to for help. You will want to know who your photographer uses as a backup and how they handle this type of situation. This is an advantage to hiring a husband and wife team, like Mitchell and myself. Surely, we wouldn’t both be sick on the same day. Having him as one of my backups, helps ease my mind for a situation like this.
This particular question can bring a broad variety of answers. Some wedding photographers will say 8 weeks while others may say 3 weeks. Each photographer has a different amount of weddings they choose to take on per year. Some wedding photographers may take on 30 weddings per year while others choose to only take 15. There is technically no correct answer for your turnaround time but expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-8 weeks. I don’t consider this a deal breaker for choosing a photographer but it is important to know and set your own expectations for a delivery time. My wedding turnaround time is 3 weeks.
This question may never cross a Brides mind, but it is crucial for planning a timeline of your wedding day. You need to know much time to set aside for each set of portraits. I have been a guest at weddings where the portrait time between the ceremony and reception was outrageously long. The Bride was so upset and missed an extra hour of her reception. Be sure to discuss this part of your wedding day with your photographer. The bride ultimately decides if she wants to have a first look or a traditional look. This decision effects the wedding day timeline greatly. I tell my Brides, you can’t have your cake and eat it too ;)! Having a first look is absolutely going to give you the smoothest timeline but it is totally ok if you choose to forego that. Just know that taking all of the portraits post-ceremony is going to increase portrait time. A good photographer will want at least 30 minutes of portrait time for the bride and groom alone. Depending on the size of your family and bridal party, most photographers can complete those portraits within about 30-45 minutes. A standard time frame is about one hour of portraits post-ceremony if you do not have a first look.
Knowing the type of equipment your photographer has is a great question! While you may not be an expert at camera gear, it is important to make sure they have professional grade equipment. You may love detail shots so you would want to ask how they capture the details of a wedding. Do they have a certain lens for that? Your ceremony may be in a huge church with flash restrictions. How do they handle those situations?
Nowadays there are many hobbyist entering the wedding photography field, some are extremely talented and some need some more experience under another wedding photographer. Your wedding day should be handled by an experienced professional. There is much more to photographing a wedding than taking great photographs.
I hope these 10 essential questions every bride should ask their photographer is helpful in your search for the perfect wedding photographer! Choosing the right photographer is critical on so many levels! It’s not just about their style and pricing, it’s also about how they care for and approach your day. Is your wedding day just as important to them? Do they genuinely care for you and your groom? They should and I know I do! You deserve the very best for your wedding day! 🙂