15 Questions to ask a wedding photographer before you hire them
It's tough to find a good photographer these days. Although liking a photographer's work is a good starting point there are several other factors to consider. Photography clubs and organizations have relaxed their membership criteria so much that they are no longer a credible source of talent. With so much competition people have even resorted to using images from workshops or classes to pad their real wedding portfolios. How do you find a wedding photographer that is both an honest pro and perfect fit for you? Here's a list of questions my clients ask me and my answers. Hopefully these questions and answers will help you at least weed out the inconsistent and inexperienced photographers.
1. Are you available for my date?
It’s not uncommon for me to book weddings 1-2 years in advance so availability is a good thing to check.
2. Can I see examples of wedding you did from start to finish?
I feel like this is a very important part of the research. Photographer’s websites, including mine, are full of their favorite images and don’t really show what a complete wedding looks like. Any reputable photographer should not have a problem showing you examples of real weddings.
3. Do you have references?
I have a list of references on request. You can also read reviews here.
4. Are you the photographer that will be shooting my wedding?
Yes. I am always your point of contact and photographer. It is my goal to make every client feel like they are my only client.
5. Who will edit my photos and how do you select what photos to edit.
I’m afraid I’m much to particular to leave this important step to someone who has never even met you. The photos in your collection will have been thought out, prepared for, captured, culled and edited by one artist with a consistent vision, me.
6. Do you have liability insurance?
7. How many other events will you photograph on my wedding day?
Weddings are a big deal and I schedule them as such. Not only do I only shoot 1 wedding per day but I schedule a block of 3 days for your wedding. Why a 3 day block? I use this block of time to make sure you and your wedding have my undivided attention. From prep work to post production, for 3 days I eat sleep and drink your wedding photos. Doing it this way also leaves me flexible to photograph a rehearsal dinner or a photo session with you the day before or after your wedding.
8. What will you wear to my wedding?
My rule of thumb for dress code is to dress as a guest would be expected to dress. A black polo or button up and slacks are typical for me.
9. Is wedding photography your primary business and how long have you been shooting weddings?
Yes, I have been a professional wedding photographer since 2008. I risked everything to do what I love. You can be assured that I’m invested in making your experience an excellent one. I feel like I'm at the perfect time in my career. I have just enough experience to be great at what I do and not enough to become complacent or bored. I'm normally smiling when I'm shooting weddings and love.
10. Can other people take photos while you are taking photos?
I strongly recommend an unplugged ceremony and inviting guests to be in the moment for it. I prefer a smiling face to an I pad or camera. I also discourage additional photographers during formal family portraits as they can be a distraction and waste precious time. That being said I’m not the type to yell at or police guests for taking pictures. I’ll photograph what goes on either way. I would rather try to clean a photo up in Photo shop than be rude to a guest.
11. Can I give you a shot list?
A shot list for the family portraits is highly recommended. A detailed shot list for the day isn’t necessary but I would like to know about specific details. For example a coin you are carrying that was given to you by your grandfather or any other special details I need to know about.
12. What happens if your equipment malfunctions at my wedding?
This is a question that should make any wedding photographer fearful enough to have backups for all essential gear. In most cases I have backups for my backups. I’ve had cameras and lighting fail at weddings and it wasn’t a big deal because I had another one ready to take it’s place.
13. Do you have a contract?
Yes, I have a simple contract that goes over details. I look at this as a communication tool to make sure we are both on the same page.
14. Do you require a down payment to secure the date?
Yes, the amount varies with services needed before your wedding but it’s typically $500
15. Will you meet with us before we book?
Yes! I highly recommend and in person meeting. You will spend more time with your photographer than anyone else on your wedding day. If you hate them it will surely show in your pictures. I feel the better we know each other the more relaxed you will be and the more natural the pictures will look. I also recommend a pre-wedding photos session. It’s a chance to introduce the camera to our relationship and for me to start earning your trust. I'm looking forward to meeting you! Cheers, Brian
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