wedding suppliers

12 essential questions to ask a wedding photographer

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.

 
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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.

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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.

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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.

 
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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?

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5 reasons why wedding ring photography is important

 
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Do you find it bizarre why so much attention is given to photographing wedding rings? Did you have a meeting with your photographer and they were really passionate about it or because you've been trawling through page after page of wedding photography ideas on Pinterest and they always come up? Then this post is for you. Here are five of my reasons why wedding ring photography should be an essential on your must-have-wedding-photo-list. It's certainly on mine! 

1. I give you this ring.

At some point or another we have all heard these words associated with the exchanging of rings and the unending bond that they represent. Let's just remind ourselves of them whilst we're here: 
"I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage, and as a symbol of our love. I promise to care for you, to respect and cherish you, throughout our lives together."
In fact we may be so accustomed to hearing those words as we grow older that we begin to overlook the significance they hold. Wedding rings remain one of the greatest symbols of love and commitment two people can share together. They are one of the first things fiancés buy together and in reality will be one of the few surviving momentos of your wedding day, other than your wedding photos and dress (unless you 'trash the dress' of course - more to come on that in the future). So a keepsake that's so constant in your life together has to be worth including in the memories captured in your photos, right?

 
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2. More than a memory.

Introducing the notion of your wedding rings being a keepsake was no accident. Your wedding rings are a symbol of your love and commitment to each other but they will eventually develop into a much deeper symbol of your identity and your family. Their value will grow as your history does and you may end up offering them to your children for their own wedding proposals or they may inevitably be passed down as an heirloom. In any case, the journey of your rings starts on your wedding day and that's also when they will look their best - that's something your family will want to look back on as well as you.

3. Let's celebrate!

Literally! Your wedding is a day long celebration just for you. It's full of smiles, laughter and probably a tear or two. There's confetti to throw, glasses to raise and ridiculous dance moves to break out as the night goes on. Everything you have planned and brought for months and months plays some part in your wedding day, whether big or small, and all those things get photographed. So why not your rings? 
You may be thinking - "let's not get reckless here! These are our wedding rings not a box of confetti". And I value why you'd feel cautious handing your rings over to someone to take them around different spots to photograph them.  
I remember buying my camera, it was brilliant and when it arrived I was super excited to unbox it. Once I was holding it I found myself feeling nervous, not wanting to scratch it, protecting it almost. This sounds reasonable but I found that it was somehow stopping me from being immersed in shooting with it, finding safer, less risky perspectives to shoot from, not resting it on the ground or on a wall. When I broke out of the habit and started shooting the images I wanted to begin with, the whole experience changed and was way more fulfilling. My point being (yes there was a point to that) you should dive in to your wedding day and immerse yourself in the experience and the photography, and when you dive in - take your rings with you. You may regret it later.

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4. Creativity.

If you browse wedding photography looking for inspiration you may find yourself amazed by the sheer amount of ideas that photographers come up with. I know I do. The creativity and desire to integrate different details and items into new and interesting photographs is something that drives the passion of all photographers, particularly those who specialise in weddings. Wedding rings provide a fantastic opportunity to embed your theme, colours, flowers, even your cake into your photographs. It's also a brilliant element to use when getting the photographs of just the two of you. The scope for creativity is as endless as the infinite bond they represent and within it is a chance to create truly personal and original photos. 

5. The icing on the cake.

Photographing people is a fantastic experience, especially on their wedding day. As a photographer you look for those little glances and small moments of someones personality coming through. You use the elements you have around you to bring that out as much as possible, to make it unique and to make it an experience for the people you are shooting. The experience continues when they view the images and when they exhibit them - whether online or in a frame in their home. That continued experience is something I try to hold in my mind whilst I'm shooting - how would this look as an album or as a series of framed prints?
Giving attention to the details and accenting the wider shots of two people together with the intimacy and scale of their wedding rings resting together really helps bestow an identity and a story to the images as a collection, they thread context and meaning to an album and they encourage that feeling of 'us' for the people who see them every day. The small details really can be the icing on the cake of your collection of images.

 
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10 reasons why you should choose a professional wedding photographer.

 
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"Why do we need to pay for a professional photographer?" The question may pop up once you sit and start to discuss your initial ideas for the big day. "It's so expensive!" Wedding photography can be a costly matter and money may well be the reason the thought sprang to mind to begin with, but that alone shouldn't disuade you from hiring a professional.

There are a lot of advantages to booking a professional photographer and hopefully the 10 reasons I list below will help to highlight the reassurance and security you will have in doing so.

1.

"Our friend has a nice camera and we thought about asking them to do it for us."
Photographers will have heard this numerous times, and whilst it seems like a way to tighten the belt on your budget think hard before taking this approach. A nice camera doesn't mean great photos. A professional photographer will be able to take great images on any camera and know how to utilise a camera for any situation. No matter how great a camera is, just pointing and shooting won't yield great results. And this isn't to say that everyone with a nice camera is trapped to an "all gear no idea" perception but professionals will shoot all the time and their camera will be an accessory to their practise.

2.

Professional Service.
When you book a professional photographer you should expect to receive a professional service. This comes from all those little things that make a big difference, from looking smart and being insured to having a wedding contract they use for bookings. But it is also the mindset and attention to detail they give outside of taking photos. Professional photographers care about what you want and will want the images to make you truly happy - getting future work depends on it.

3.

The value of memories.
This is probably one of the most significant (and personal) reasons for choosing a professional. Your wedding day is going to be one of the most important days of your life, you will spend a lot of time planning it and preparing for it. It will also go surprisingly fast. The photographs you have afterwards will be a memory of the days events, your commitment to each other and a record of all the things you may have missed. In years to come you will want to look back on the images and relive the day. Remembering those moments and reminiscing about those pictures being taken should be an experience you remember positively. Having a professional you can trust on the big day will leave a lasting impression for the future.

 
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4.

Style.
It goes without saying that there is a wide variety of photographic styles to choose from: documentary, traditional, reportage, dark and moody, fine art, street, etc. Which one you go for really depends on the style you like. The great thing here is that if there's a particular one you love you'll be sure to find a photographer who specialises in it and who loves it as much as you do (probably even more).

5.

Security.
No, I don't mean they will have bodyguards with them. I'm talking about file security. After capturing the big day your photographer will sit down to download the images. But before they even think about editing they will back up the images, then back them up again. And not just to a hard drive, they may keep a copy in the Cloud or even keep a set somewhere else entirely incase of a fire or flood. Let's plug point 3 again here: memories are worth hanging on to and that starts with keeping them safe, literally.

6.

Portfolio.
A great reassurance with choosing to book a professional is that before you book them you will get to see their previous work - or at least you should be able to. More than likely this will be on their website or in an online gallery. And importantly, you should be able to see photos of a wedding from start to finish - covering all the elements that you want capturing yourself. Seeing their work beforehand should give you the reassurance that you are making a good choice and can trust them to do their job. 

7.

Creativity.
With social media and online platforms so prevalent today, it's never been easier to emerse yourself in content and to be exposed to new ideas for images. This is a great starting point before you meet your chosen photographer so that you can show images you like. But what I think is key here is that whilst your photographer will also draw upon their knowledge of different ideas and poses within their work, they will also actively look to find those alternative angles and shots that they can only create at your wedding. Perhaps ones they haven't had the opportunity to execute before or just those fleeting moments that they foresee happening. They will continuously be trying to exercise their creative eye and progress their style which is where those original and personal moments lie. I visit each venue prior to the weddings I shoot and it's a brilliant experience every time. It's exciting to explore new locations, consider the features of the buildings and how the light will fall throughout the day. I also become a bit of a detective trying to find those little spots or interesting perspectives that will add those unique shots to your collection. 

 
 

8.

Equipment & Expertise.
Now you may be thinking that reason 1 stressed that a great camera doesn't mean great photos. And I stand by that. What I want to stress here is that wedding photography draws upon a range of other equipment in order to pull off creative shots and generally achieve a particular standard of work: flashguns, light stands, tripods, etc. Not to mention different lenses. A professional photographer uses their kit to handle difficult situations that they regularly shoot in: low light in churches and venues or large group shots for example. They also use them creatively to capture those signature images of just the two of you. Of course, it's not just the equipment itself that is valuable but the expertise of the photographer and their proficiency at adjusting their kit and settings to keep shooting, and do so seamlessly without interrupting your day. 

9.

Experience & Attitude.
This may at first glance sound similar to point 8. However, while the previous point notes the technical ability you should expect of a professional photographer, this point relates to the experience they hold having shot multiple weddings. Photographers with multiple weddings under their belt will have a strong understanding of what the day will include, the pressure of timings and how fast that time goes by. Because of this a professional photographer will be preemptively working to capture shots and be one step ahead of the days proceedings. It means they won't miss those little moments as they arise as they'll be waiting for them. Also, let's be honest here - weddings are a long day for all involved, especially the bride and groom. But also for the photographer. It's an early start and a late finish during which time they are carrying a camera (or two) all day along with a camera bag and any other equipment which can be surprisingly draining. It requires a huge amount of concentration and attention to detail as well as travelling to different venues. So there's also a resilience of professional photographers to maintain a positive, energised attitude to ensure you and your guests receive great customer service. Of course, wedding photographers love what they do and will keep doing it year after year.

 
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10.
It's about you. And your story.
After the excitement of finding the perfect rings and the difficult journey of finding 'the dress' which ends with teary eyed friends jumping around you, your attention will quickly move to more practical planning: guest lists, catering, hotel bookings, transport - the list goes on. Suddenly you may feel like you're planning an event for someone else, you are - your family and friends. But there are few days in your life where someone will devote so much time, dedication and attention just to you. You will spend the whole day together, quite literally. And that may sound taxing but it absolutely isn't. Your photographer will want to make sure you're happy on the day and when you view your photos for the first time (and every time afterwards). They will have been trying to make you genuinely happy since the first time you met. They will know when to pose you, when to go off and shoot candid images of guests, when is a great time to grab you for some opportunistic photos as the sun sets or when they can finally bring one of their other creative ideas into fruition. They will be thinking about you throughout the entire experience and trying to tell your story. I personally love the initial consultation with couples. Hearing how they got together and how they got engaged is just as significant as the theme they have chosen. It's also a real insight into their personalities and especially when it's still in the planning stages of the big day, it's really nice to capture that early vision of how they want their wedding to be.

 
 

11.
Sit back, relax and enjoy.
Shhh - let's call it a bonus reason. And it's arguably one of the biggest: peace of mind. When you book your photographer you will have certainty, confidence and trust. You will trust them to do what they do, not just in a transactional sense that you have paid for their services, but you will trust their company (otherwise you wouldn't have invited them to one of the biggest days of your life) and you will trust their creative vision. So wedding photography may appear expensive but I assure you, it will be money well spent when you hire a professional.