Everyone knows that booking a Photographer for your wedding is critical, but few know the best questions to ask them before paying the deposit. There are several things you should bear in mind while scouting for your ideal Wedding Photographer, detailed below.
How many Weddings have you personally shot?
If yours is their first, you have to question if you're willing to take the risk. There's nothing absolutely wrong with a photographer new to Weddings, as long as they are capable of the job. Take a look at their portfolio and existing experience. The more Weddings a photographer has under his or her belt, doesn't necessarily mean they are the right choice for you. Make an informed decision.
What's your style?
Due to the nature of Weddings, it's essential your photographer is already experienced in portraiture. Being able to capture the live emotions of guests in a creative, appropriate way will somewhat guarantee you an album full of epic memories and unlimited smiles. From a candid documentary approach to a rehearsed theatrical approach, what will be most suitable for your Wedding will ultimately come down to personal preference between the two of you.
What's your favourite part of a Wedding Day?
This is a question to not only test their knowledge of Weddings, but to see how much passion shows in their eyes, sound in their voice, or is felt through their email when you ask it. You ideally want a photographer whose heart will be invested in the day, not only their mind.
What exactly do your packages include?
How many hours are included in their package(s) and if you decide you want more coverage on the day will they charge you an hourly fee, set fee or include it in the price? It's normal for overtime to be charged at an hourly fee, but it comes down to the photographer on an individual basis.
What deposit is required and when?
It's worth noting what fee is required to save your Wedding date, and to prevent any other loved-up couple from bagging it despite your existing plans. All Wedding photographers accept a deposit; it's a socially-accepted requirement. It can range from a few pounds to several hundred. Are you comfortable paying the stated amount? Can you trust this photographer?
Who exactly will be our Photographer?
If you're booking through an agency or company, ensure you know exactly who your photographer will be on the day. Every artist differs in experience and photography is entirely subjective: there's no right or wrong, no rule-book. If you're investing in a certain type of photography, it's worth checking your own photographer took those very photos before a deposit is transferred.
Will you visit the venue before the Wedding?
Familiarisation can certainly help photographers plan ahead for lighting issues and shooting locations, but some prefer to scout the venue on the day. An experienced photographer capable of adapting to the environment doesn't require a recce before your big day, but it can help nonetheless. Depending on the availability and location of the photographer, this question may remain appropriate, and its answer should feel right to you.
Are there any hidden costs?
Some photographers exclude extra associated costs such as traveling, accommodation and editing days from the quote. This may be included, however, in the small print of the contract you signed. It's worth checking you know whether there will be any hidden fees before you sign.
What information do you need from us before the Wedding Day?
It can absolutely help your photographer to provide certain information such as the running order of your day, whether you'd like any particular photos taken, and your overall vision for your album. Keeping your photographer in the know, and mentally close, will result in a better final collection of photos.
How long must we wait until we see the photos?
One month is a common turnaround for wedding photos, but the duration you must wait can vary. If your photographer is photographing multiple weddings per week, you could be waiting months. Some will be happy to send one or two photos the following day, or week, for you to share online with friends and family.
How do you plan to co-operate with our videographer?
It's beyond essential your photographer and videographer work collaboratively. Teamwork goes a long way; without co-operation there may be tension, conflict and your entire coverage of the day will either fail or suffer as a result. Make sure they've spoken in some form prior to your Wedding to make sure they're on the same page.
Will you be sticking to a shot list? Can I request specific images?
Most photographers will have no issue with you requesting specific images to be taken on the day. After all, your vision is to be merged with their own to provide a suitable gallery that you are investing in. However, it's unlikely they will be following a set of shots. Their instincts will likely be guiding them. Talk to them and see what works best for all of you.
Are there any copyright or sharing restrictions?
In the present day, it's fair to say most photographers will cover a wedding without restricting the sharing or distributing of your photos. It's your wedding, right? But there may be guidelines in the small print/contract that sway you away from replicating or sharing your photos unlimited times. If anything, selling your photos may be prohibited without permission.
Will you bring your own lighting?
You probably know by tradition that Weddings are covered photographically with the assistance of a flash-gun. Well, depending on whether you'll be receiving videography, and depending on how artistic your photographer will be, they may bring extra lighting gear. Will this be an issue, or are you more than open to ideas of creativity?
What will you wear?
Discuss your colour scheme with them, and see if their attire will fit in with yours. Jeans are unlikely to register well at a high-profile, black-tie Wedding. If you're fine with jeans that's great too, but check to make sure they're going to dress appropriately for your day. They'll be seen in photos taken by your guests, if that is something you allow.
What time will you arrive at the venue?
If they're conducting a personal same-day scout of the venue, they may arrive one hour before preparations. Or not. What time would you prefer they show their face? It all depends on what you require from your photographer.
Will we need to feed our Photographer?
Most couples will, out of respect, provide food for a Wedding photographer on his/her feet for several hours. Ultimately, if you fail to provide food for them, they'll have to go elsewhere to source it. If you're letting someone in on your personal space for a day, it makes sense to feed your photographer. It'll keep their photos sharp and composition flawless. But it's always your choice.
Can you put together a slideshow for the wedding breakfast?
Likely for an extra cost, sometimes hundreds of pounds more, your Wedding photographer may be able to quickly edit or bring together some of the morning's images, especially if JPEGs are to be taken simultaneously with RAWs. It may be something they can offer you.
Do you have any back-up equipment?
Every Wedding photographer dreads that moment happening, where their equipment fails on them. However, if they've brought a spare camera, they're more likely to get through the day without an issue. Technology, even at the best of times, isn't always entirely reliable.
Do you have insurance?
Public liability is one type of insurance which you may look for in a photographer. Although it's not a legal requirement for your photographer to have any insurance, it's most definitely advised. Mistakes rarely happen, but they still do. If they're covered by the law and those associated with the law, life could be so much easier.
What happens if you're ill or there's an emergency?
Unfortunately, illness happens, and you're probably aware illness comes at the worst times! Does your photographer know any locals who could shoot your wedding to a similar standard? Is there a Plan B? Would you be happy to take the risk?
What happens if it rains?
The great British summer is never predictable, nor any other season. An umbrella should be a minimum extra that your photographer brings, just in case. However, most venues will have sufficient space inside for those rainy days.