Choosing a Photographer

Questions to ask your photographer:

1. What is your experience with wedding photography?
If you want professional results, make sure your photographer has several years of experience under his or her belt—as a principle photographer, not an assistant. Ask about venues where he or she has photographed weddings, keeping in mind that a variety of venues indicates a more seasoned professional who can be spontaneous. Also, ask to see a complete wedding with hundreds of pictures. This allows you to a real-world example of their work, and not just one 'best of'' photography album. Most importantly, is to find out if your photographer loves being a wedding photographer!

2. How would you describe your photographic style?
Your photographer’s style—whether it’s traditional, contemporary, journalistic/documentary, or illustrative/artistic—should complement the “mood” or overall feel of your wedding. A good photographer will give you what you think you want. But a great photographer will blend a variety of styles and approaches to uniquely tell the “story” of your day as it unfolds.

3. Will you be the actual photographer at my wedding?
Will you be bringing an experienced second photographer, or is he or she an assistant?
A second photographer is an experienced photographer who can work independently. The final result photographically will be two separate perspectives of your wedding day. An assistant is different, being a helper to the photographer, holding gear, being at their side usually to do whatever needs to be done to assist the photographer. Make sure you know whether to expect more than one photographer (your caterer will appreciate the accurate head count). In terms of event planning, you’ll want as few surprises as possible on your wedding day.

4. Will you be photographing another wedding the same day or same weekend as mine?
You want to make sure your photographer can give you 110%, so having them photograph two weddings in one day is not in your best photographic interest. Photographing weddings can be physically demanding work (we’ve been known to literally run to get the perfect shot), sometimes involving 10 – 12 hour days. You may even want to ask if your photographer is shooting a wedding the day before your wedding. Book your photographer well in advance, and let him or her know your concerns around “double booking.”

5. How much coverage do I need?
The length and flow of wedding celebrations tend to vary according to cultural traditions. Certain wedding traditions call for three days of celebration, while others mandate a tea ceremony early in the morning and the marriage ceremony in the afternoon. Talk to your photographer about what kind of wedding you’re planning, so you can make arrangements for appropriate coverage.

Wedding coverage typically starts with the bride getting ready, then moves onto the ceremony itself, followed by a photography hour, reception with grand entrance, toasts, dinner, cake cutting, first dance, father/daughter & mother/son dance, and then open dancing. This type of wedding typically only requires 5 to 7 hours of photography coverage. The difference in time variance depends on factors such as if the ceremony and reception are in the same or different locations, length of ceremony, and number of locations for the day. Helping to create timelines for our clients is a part of our services, so that we know we’re capturing all the important moments of the day.
Sometimes the couple may think that they would rather have a photographer who offers unlimited time or coverage to the end versus a photographer who is doing a specific length of time. Look at the quality of the photography. Understand that more coverage time doesn't necessarily equal quality coverage.

6. Can we get the digital negatives from our wedding? Is there an extra cost? When will they be available?
In the era of digital photography, many couples now expect to receive a disc of their photos in addition to prints. Let your photographer know up front if this is your expectation, and ask if there is an additional cost for the digital high resolution images. A photographer who offers you images that have not been adjusted at all (i.e., straight out of the camera) should raise concerns for you. Great photographers will want you to have a finished product: images that have been edited, cropped, and adjusted by a professional—whether those images are stored on disc or given to you as prints.

7. What kind of photography equipment will you be using? Are you insured?
While you may not know much about photography gear yourself, get an idea of your photographer’s setup. If it requires tripods and extra lights, you may want to discuss strategies for keeping the photography setup as unobtrusive as possible. Also, a good photographer will bring backup equipment to cover unforeseen problems.
Professional photography insurance should never be an option when looking for the right photographer; this should be mandatory. A real pro will carry insurance to protect themselves and their equipment at your event.

8. What if you’re sick or have an emergency on my wedding day?
Your photographer should have a backup plan if for any reason they’re unable to make it to your wedding. While highly unlikely, accidents and family emergencies do occur. Be sure to discuss your contractual options should this happen, so that you’re not left stranded.

9. Do you charge for overtime, and if so, what’s your rate?
Weddings rarely start or end on time, and it may be that during the course of your event something took longer than it was supposed to take. Discuss overtime with your photographer so that you don’t miss any important moments. This detail should be included in your wedding photography contract.

10. How will you be dressed at my wedding?
This may seem superficial, but if you’re planning a formal wedding you don’t want your photographer to show up looking like they’re going to a beach barbecue. A professional photographer will be dressed comfortably yet appropriately for your event.

Questions to ask yourself:

1. Do you love the photography that you see?
Does the photographer produce wonderful images of strong impact?
Do you “connect” with the photographer’s visual style?

2. Are you comfortable with the wedding photographer?
Will this photographer be able to easily mingle with your family and stay professional?
Is this someone who can stay calm and problem-solve if needed?

3. Do you understand the terms of your wedding photography contract?
Is everything regarding photography all spelled out?

4. Has your photographer been open and responsive to your questions?
Does he or she ask questions about you and your wedding day?
Does he or she respond quickly to your emails or phone calls?

5. Does your photographer understand that working with other wedding vendors takes team effort, and is a requirement?


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