Woo Hoo! You’re engaged! Congratulations!
Now comes the big question… do you have your photographer?
Too daunting of a task to think of right now?
Not to worry, choosing a wedding photographer is really not that difficult if you know what to ask. Being educated about each photographer’s qualifications and offerings is the first step to narrowing down the list of choices.
We have answered thousands of questions from hundreds of couples and we have narrowed down the most important questions that everyone should know. This list is not 100 questions long! This is a relatively short list but these questions are the ones that are the most important ones.
So let’s begin!
1. How many weddings have you photographed? First off, why is this important? It is important because it shows experience. You want a photographer that has photographed more than a few weddings. Experience is necessary because you want a photographer who knows what they are doing! How to pose couples and groups. Knowing what photographs to take and how to take them is key to quality photography. You don’t want to have to tell your photographer what photographs to take and how to pose people you have enough to think about; and besides what are you paying them for?
2. Do you do photography full time? Not all photographers do this as their main job. More and more people are picking up photography as a hobby or to bring in some extra income. Weekend warriors are rampant in the photography industry. This is something you may want to know. To some couples, it does not matter, but if it does matter then this is a good question to ask.
3. Do you carry backup equipment? This also goes to experience. Every photographer who has been in business for awhile knows that anything can happen and usually does. Only carrying one camera and lens is just asking for failure. And you certainly don’t want that failure to happen at your wedding!
4. Do you have business insurance? Not only to cover equipment but liability as well. This is a sign of a professional. A professional business should always have insurance.
5. What will you wear to photograph my wedding? You would be surprised what we have seen photographers wear to photograph in. You should know going in if you can expect yoga pants or black jeans or professional attire. If you are having a casual wedding and don’t care then you do not need to worry. But if you are having a wedding where you do not expect to see yoga pants and flip flops then you should make that clear up front.
6. How long after the wedding will our photographs be available? Some photographers will take as long as 6 months to edit a wedding. You should know how long to expect before you book.
7. How many edited images can I expect? This is important because some photographers take 2,000 images but only edit and deliver 300. You should know in advance if you will receive all of your photographs, less bad ones of course, or only a selection of photographs taken.
8. Do I receive my high-resolution digital files and will they be watermarked and resized? A combination question but it all goes together. Of course, you want to know if you will receive your digital files. The vast majority of photographers do offer them in their packages but there are still some holdouts that will charge extra for them, so you should know. And along the same lines, some photographers will resize and watermark the digital files that they give you so that you are still forced to order prints from them.
9. What is your deposit and when is the balance due? Again, you should know this up front before you book. Every photographer will do this differently. The average options are; a specific deposit amount with the balance due before the wedding; a 1/3 now, 1/3 before the wedding and the final 1/3 upon delivery; payment plans etc. Just make sure you know when and how everything is due.
10. Are the photographs that I see in your samples a good indication of your style? This is important. You want to like the photographs that your favorite photographer is showing you. If you do not like the sample photographs then that is a good indication that you will not like the photographs they take for you. You cannot expect the photographer to shoot in a different style just because they have a price and personality that you like. Make sure you love the whole package!
11. Are there any additional fees I should be aware of? Taxes, editing, travel, meals, additional time etc etc. You should know these things before you book.
12. Do you have a contract? Never book a photographer without a contract! This protects both of you.
OK, so did I overwhelm you? I certainly hope not! Of course, there are other questions to ask, lots of them, but these are what I would consider the most important. And you should ask about packages and other details but this is the nitty gritty must know stuff.
Good luck! And try not to get too overwhelmed!