Questions to Ask Your Potential Photographer
Planning a wedding is a big deal. Selecting the right photographer that will capture your once-in-a-lifetime memories is an even bigger deal. If you’re planning on interviewing a variety of photographers to see which one will be the best fit, here are a few questions you should be asking them.
1) Do you have liability insurance?
This is a question that couples rarely ask, but it’s an important one. If a photographer is coming off as a professional they should absolutely have liability insurance. It’s important to have to protect both parties, and most venues make it a requirement that all vendors carry it.
2) Do you have backup equipment?
It’s surprising how many photographers claim to be professionals, yet only have one camera body. Can you imagine if a photographer only took one camera to your wedding, and it fell in a lake or got eaten by an alligator? Make sure your photographer has backup cameras, lenses, and lighting equipment in case of malfunctions. The last thing you want is an under-prepared vendor to miss out on important wedding moments.
3) How much experience do you have as a wedding photographer?
Weddings are serious business, there are no do overs. Selecting a photographer that has extensive experience in order to effectively capture your wedding is extremely important. By asking this question, you’ll be able to find out a lot about their capabilities and qualifications.
4) Is photography your main business?
You want a photographer that does this for a living, not someone who does this on the side, or on the weekends. You will end up investing a little bit more hiring a professional, but you will have the peace of mind that your photographer is going to give you their full attention, be responsive, and dedicate all their time to mastering their craft. Why would you hire someone that doesn’t do this for a living to capture your biggest moments?
5) Are you confident working in all types of lighting situations? Do you use off-camera flash?
This is a very important question to ask your photographer! Photography is the art of mastering and manipulating light and it’s important that your photographer knows how to find the best ambient (natural) light, how to use off-camera flash, and how to balance exposures properly. Make sure your photographer is comfortable with all these different styles of lighting, and how to adapt to changing lighting conditions. I can’t stress enough how important it is that your photographer can not only take images in low-light, but ensures that the quality is there. One of the easy ways to tell a photographer’s low-light game is strong is to look at their portfolio. If you only see shots that were taken outside during the day in well-lit conditions and minimal shots taken at night or in a dark area, that’s a good indication for you to be cautious. Ask your photographer if they use off-camera light – one flash just on the camera simply isn’t good enough.
6) How would you define your style?
The answer to the question will reveal a lot about your photographer. You may not realize that you’re looking for a specific style, but once your photographer answers how they define their style, you’ll realize if they are a good fit for your personality.
7) Are you photographing any other events on the same day as my wedding?
If you’re hiring someone to provide you with a full day of photography coverage, your photographer should always leave the day open for you. Weddings sometimes go longer than expected, and schedules change, so it’s important your photographer can be flexible to this.
8) What is your favorite part about being a wedding photographer?
This is a more personal question that is important to ask. It’s crucial that your photographer is just as emotionally invested in your big day as you are, because if he/she isn’t passionate about what they’re doing, then they aren’t the right photographer for you.
9) Will there be some sort of formal agreement?
Always make sure there is a formal agreement signed by both parties! This eliminates any potential confusion and clearly outlines the rights and protections of the couple, and the photographer.
10) How long will it take me to receive my photos?
Make sure that somewhere in the photography agreement there is a written agreement as to when the pictures are going to be delivered. We’v heard horror stories of clients not getting their photos until 6 months after the wedding!
11) Where can I see some testimonials?
A photographer can talk about how great they are all day long, but at the end of the day, it’s learning about the experience from others that will really solidify credibility. If the photographer doesn’t have written testimonials or reviews online, make sure you ask for references that you can contact.
12) What happens if you get sick on our wedding day?
We’re only human. Sometimes we get sick or have family emergencies. In the unlikely event that this happens, make sure your photographer has a backup plan in place to make sure you still get photography coverage. Personally, we’re part of a huge network of photographers that we can reach out to in order to make sure you’re covered!
13) What rights will we get to the photos?
Some photography studios will lure you in with incredibly low prices, but then charge you additional fees to buy the photos after the wedding. This is more common than you may think and if you foresee this as a problem, make sure you ask your potential photographer what rights you’ll receive to the photos. As long as the photographer is upfront with what rights you have and you agree to their terms, there shouldn’t be a problem.
14) Will you personally be the one photographing our wedding?
This really should be the first question you ask, but before you meet with your photographer, make sure it’s clear who will be shooting your wedding. Some photographers run large associate companies and sub-contract out others.
15) Can we see a full, delivered wedding gallery?
Photographers only show about 1% of their work on their website. And naturally, this work is going to be what they consider to be their best. So what about the additional 99%? Sure, a photographer may have a really stunning portfolio with some of their “best hits”, but are they going to be able to capture ALL of the events and moments from your wedding in a consistent manner? Ask your potential photographer to see examples from individual weddings, not just the highlights.