The task of choosing your wedding suppliers is an exciting part of planning your wedding and the first step in the process of bringing your ideas to life. But it’s not without its challenges and some decisions will be harder to make and which wedding photographer to book is one such decision.
So how do you feel confident that the photographer you are looking at is right for you?
The following questions are intended to help you feel both prepared and confident to find out the information you need before making the choice of who to book.
1) Are you available on our wedding date?
It may seem obvious but it’s probably one of the first questions you should ask, if the photographer isn’t free on the date of your wedding (and presuming you can’t change it) it’ll save you a lot of time asking many of the other questions before finding out.
2) Can I see previous examples of your work?
In most situations it’s probably safe to say that if you’re at the point of wanting to ask questions you have already viewed their images - and like them. However, if you haven’t or you’re at a wedding show for example meeting several new suppliers then seeing their previous work is crucial. Look at their style, the types of shots they take and if they are consistent. Ask questions about the shots you like too, it will give you an insight into their process and how they may approach your own wedding photos.
3) How will I receive my final images?
You’re happy with the standard of work you will receive but in what form will you get your final images? There are various packages out there covering online galleries, usb devices, prints and albums. Photographers will have different preferences about what they want to offer their clients so make sure you’re fully aware what you will be getting. Ask about what’s customisable, what materials and finishes are available and what papers you can choose for prints. It is also a good opportunity to find out if the photographer will do all the designing themselves.
4) Can I make special requests?
Special requests could take various forms. Everyone will have a certain expectation of the coverage they will recieve on the day but are there any images you really want captured? Talking about any specific images that matter to you is a great starting point for chatting with a photographer that will also allow you to gage how you get on, how accommodating they are and that they are generally interested and excited about shooting your wedding. Of course, special requests don’t just have to be specific photos on the day, they could be additional features to your package such as extra prints or an album. All professional photographers should be happy to tailor things to you.
5) How long will you stay for on the day?
Weddings are long days full of lots of smaller special moments from morning preparations with your bridesmaids and groomsmen to the parents seeing the bride in her dress for the first time as well as the essential elements such as the ceremony itself. Having a general understanding of how timings will run on the day is really useful for knowing the times you will need your photographer and checking what coverage they offer in their packages. Some photographers will detail a specific time or event that they will stay until, 9pm or until the first dance for example. If you want them to stay longer an additional fee may be added, it may even be on a cost per hour basis. Other photographers (such as myself) won’t apply any time limits and will stay into the after party or until they are happy they have got all the shots they wanted for you. In either case it’s worth making sure you know what to expect so you’re confident all the things you want will be captured.
6) Do you offer a pre-wedding photoshoot?
This may not be a high priority for some couples but it’s definitely something worth discussing with a photographer. Pre-wedding shoots (aka engagement shoots) are a fantastic way of getting to know your photographer more, experiencing what it’s like to work with them as well as having the opportunity to have more fantastic images of your engagement to treasure. A pre-wedding shoot may already be included in the packages your photographer offers or they may be a separate item you can book. There may even be an offer if you have a shoot and go on to book them for your wedding or vice versa.
7) Is a deposit required to book you and when is the final fee due to be paid?
Getting to the formal side of booking a photographer is knowing how much it will cost to book them for your date and when you need to pay the remaining balance by. The deposit will be a percentage of the total package fee and usually needs to be accompanied by a signed wedding contract.
8) Are there any additional costs?
It’s always worth asking if there are any extra costs connected with the package you are booking. Such costs may come from: booking a second shooter (if you want one), adding extra prints or usb’s to your package or for requesting the photographer to stay later than detailed in their packages. If your wedding is out of the area where the photographer is based they may also apply a cost for travel and accommodation.
9) Have you shot at our venues before? If not, will you visit them beforehand?
It is not essential that the photographer you book has shot at your venues before, although that may give you some comfort that they are familiar with the location and how things will run across the day. The venue may even have examples of their work in sample albums or be using them in their own promotional materials. However, if they haven’t shot there before it shouldn’t be a point for concern, chat to them and ask if they will visit beforehand to do a recce. For the majority of photographers this will be common practise to visit any venues prior to the wedding anyway.
10) What information do you need from me before the wedding?
With all the questions that may spring to mind to understand the photographers role and what to expect from them it’s equally important that you feel confident with what is needed from you. Typically this will be completing a wedding contract at the point of booking but nearer the time of the wedding providing a breakdown of all the timings and suppliers for your wedding day will be essential for your photographer planning their approach so everything can run smoothly. They may have their own wedding schedule they’ll ask you to complete and return to them. Asking what you’ll need to do along the process is good for making sure you feel well informed and also establishes that open dialogue between the two of you.
11) Do you have backup equipment?
This may sound like a cheeky question to ask for some prospective couples but knowing what backup measures are in place for the things that can go wrong isn’t something you should avoid when talking with a photographer. And you don’t have to be technically minded to ask this by any means, just having a general understanding of what they do to cover any potential problems such as a failed camera or corrupt memory card is important for you to know. How they convey this to you should help reassure you that they are professional in their practise.
12) Questions to ask yourself!
Do I feel a good rapport with this photographer?
Do I like their images and their style?
Has this photographer listened to what I’ve said and been happy to share the information I need?
Would I feel happy to ask more questions if I needed to?