There’s so much riding on your wedding shots (they’re supposed to last you a lifetime, after all… no pressure!), so it’s important that you actually like them. Plus, wedding photography will likely be one of the biggest expenses in your budget, so it’s imperative that you know exactly what you’re getting before signing on the dotted line. We recommend meeting with several different photographers to get a feel for different shooting styles and personalities, and then make a decision based on both your gut feeling and your budget. Not sure what to discuss in these meetings? Here are 10 questions you should definitely ask before choosing a photographer.
1. How would you describe your photography style? If you want a modern feel and the photographer you’re meeting with specializes in classic portraiture, it’s not going to be a good fit. (Photo via Mathieu Photography / Lover.ly)
2. How often do you shoot weddings? You want to hire someone confident, professional, and well-versed in the often-complicated realities of shooting a wedding. Checking out a photographer’s reviews will help you get a sense of their “bedside manner” and the experience of working with them from start to finish.
3. Have you ever shot a wedding like mine? You’ll want to know if the photographer has shot at your location (and you’ll definitely want to see those photos). If you’re getting married in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, that’s a different experience (read: rain!) than shooting a wedding in the bright sunshine of Southern California.
4. Can I see a full set of photos from a recent wedding? Ask to see an edited selection of a photographer’s best images, but to get a sense of their range, style, and skill, you’ll want to see a full set of wedding images. Know that not every picture will be great — so don’t toss a photographer aside because there are some less-than-perfect pictures in there. Just browse the images to be sure all the important moments were captured and you like the overall style.
5. What do your packages include? Get specific: If you’re buying a package, find out exactly what’s included and what will cost you more. (For example, if you need the photographer for an extra hour on the day-of, how much will it cost? Are digital images included?) Also ask if your photographer works with an assistant or second shooter, and whether or not that person is included in the package fee. Before you walk out of the meeting, confirm when your deposit and all remaining balances will be due.
6. What happens if you can’t make it to my wedding? Things happen; people get sick and there’s a (slim!) chance your photographer won’t be available on your big day. If he or she works with a backup photographer or another agency, make sure you’re able to meet those professionals before your big day. The last thing you want on your wedding day is an unpleasant surprise!
7. Do you have any other events booked on my wedding day? It’s okay if your photographer has other bookings, but you’ll want to be aware of any time constraints and work them into your wedding day schedule. If you need your photographer from morning ’til night, make that clear and find out the fees.
8. What kind of editing will you do on my photos? All professionals do at least some editing on photos; fixing colors, shadow, highlights, and exposure is all considered standard. But there are some photographers who like to clean up “imperfections” and not everyone is down with that.
9. I have some particular shots in mind — are you willing to follow a list? Most wedding photographers are 100 percent familiar with shot lists, but ask this question in case you’re working with a renegade who can’t be tied down!
10. How long after the big day will I get proofs? Get this information in writing. You’ll want to have a timeline for when you’ll receive proofs and all final images clearly laid out in your contract before you hand over any cash. That way, you know what to expect and won’t start harassing your photographer the minute you get back from your honeymoon!
— By Stephanie Hallett
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