Believe it or not, this time of the year is quite busy for Wedding Professionals from all walks!
Engagements most often take place in the Winter Months, and Couples-to-be begin their search for the Vendors that will help create precisely what that couple envisions.
As Many handbooks, Magazines, or etiquette guides as their may be, its hard to narrow down the right questions.
So Today I have decided that I would list the top 10 things you should ask your (Potential) Wedding Photographer!
I should know, I AM a Wedding Photographer ;)
1. What Style Photography do you shoot in? Natural, Artificial, or both?
It is so important to find a Photographer that fits your style. They are going to be the the storyteller of your day! If you know that you have a more Natural preference for your Photos, then certainly seek a Photographer that specializes in that style.
More Importantly, you should ensure that your Photographer is skilled in Artificial light as well, especially as daylight fades, and Receptions are generally dimly lit.
If you aren't sure what style you prefer, here are a few examples for reference!
These 2 Photos are an example of Photos taken using Artificial light. I like Artificial light used for dramatic effect.
These 2 Photos below, demonstrate exclusive use of Natural light.
2. How Do I manage time for Photos, with everything going on? Do you assist with time management, or keep a timeline of events?
Though every Photographer is different, any decent wedding Photographer will understand the importance of keeping a Itinerary that helps the day run smoothly, while figuring in extra time for the occasional mishap.
My Wedding Clients are required to fill out a Itinerary of the wedding day, that includes a timeline of events, and a "Shot List" That includes pairings, and names of wedding guests and family members to be photographed post-ceremony.
Personally, I find that doing this work ahead of the wedding, is helpful the day of, because Brides and Grooms can truly enjoy their time with friends and family, while I spend less time figuring out "who is who."
Bonus Tip- Print and give Itineraries to each Vendor the day of your wedding, include contact information for each Vendor as well! Everyone will quite literally be on the same page!
3. How far in advance should I book my Photographer?
You should book your Photographer as soon as you have booked your Venue, and confirmed the Date of your wedding. Ideally, 12-18 months before the wedding date.
Though you can find available Photographers with less notice, it is less likely you will get the Photographer of your choice, because many photographers book out up to 2 years.
4. What if I didn't want very many photos, would you just "Snap a few" and I could get a reduced price?
I have to speak on behalf of all my Photog Brothers and Sisters and say a resounding, "HELL NO".
First off, we don't know how to "snap a few pics", Once our Cameras are primed and ready, we are scanning the room, measuring the light, framing our shots, and getting all the angles. This is our job, and we take as many pictures as we feel necessitate the perfect story for your wedding.
And could you get a reduced price? Maybe with new, or unexperienced free lance hobbyists you may find more flexibility and willingness to dumb down prices. The most dangerous aspect of trusting someone who is not a experienced professional can truly make or break your Wedding.
Look at it this way: You can spend tens of thousands of dollars making your wedding day look spectacular, but a cheap photographer can make it look like a $10 wedding. While, a professional photographer can make a $10 wedding look truly priceless.
5. Do I receive Digital Copies of my Photos? What about Printing rights?
This is a vital question to ask, especially because these policies vary, business-to-business.
For my clients I have a very simple "Ain't nobody got time for that" Policy, that states you have all digital copies, as well as printing rights.
Should you Print photos yourself? Typically, No. But thats a whole other thing I won't get into now.
6. What is your demeanor while Shooting a wedding? (Laid back, go with the flow, or more aggressive)
A Bridal client of mine asked me this question, and I laughed, thinking about how it would look if I had an "Aggressive" shooting style!
But this is an important thing to ask, sometimes, as a Bride, you may find that you need someone who can be very regimented, in the case that you expect wedding parties that are difficult to manage in small time frames.
And as the kids these days say, "Find someone who can do both"
7. How do you back up Photos taken from the Wedding day?
There is no bigger fear as a Photographer than that of photos being irretrievably lost. And because equipment fails, it is each Photogs job to have a system in place that allows for multiple back-ups of Photos.
I immediately transfer all files onto a External hard drive, a additional back-up cloud, and I do not erase memory cards until Photos have been edited and delivered to clients.
So thats 1, 2, 3 back-ups!
8. How do I get a fair estimate on the number of Photos I will receive from my Wedding?
Some Photographers guarantee a certain amount of photos per wedding package. Or they give estimates on the amount of Photos you'll end up receiving.
Personally, I guarantee a certain range of Photos per package. But I also note that the more guests, and the more detail (Floral arrangements, decor etc) the more Photos you will get.
9. How do I secure my Wedding date, and ensure that I will have Photographic services the day of my Wedding?
Like I have been saying, every Photographer is different! Most will require a deposit that goes towards your final expenses, and secures your wedding date.
Make sure to ask for a contract stating that Photographic services have been secured. Also make sure cancellation policies are noted.
10. Fish, or Steak?
Its certainly not a requirement, but I actually note in my wedding contracts that you have to feed me.
It may seem like common sense to most, but I have been apart of weddings where I was expected to perform, non-stop, for over 10 hours.
Showing appreciation for your Photographer, with a simple gesture of making sure they have a break, and have a good meal, goes a long way!
I can't stress enough, that every one of us Photographers operates differently, so maybe some don't need food, but I do! More than anything, I enjoy getting to socialize a bit with the people who are attending my clients weddings. I get to hear stories, and connect dots in the Bride and Grooms life story. And because it is my job to tell the story of your life, and your love, on the most important day of your life, those stories are important to me.
Last bit of advise I should give-- is to make sure you can find a Photographer you can really mesh well with. We are the Story Tellers of one of the biggest days of your life! Not every Story Teller is going to fit the type of Story you want told, find someone who you know, deep inside, loves, identifies, and cannot wait to shout your story from the roof tops!