7 Questions Every Couple MUST ASK Before Booking a Wedding Photographer
Are you recently engaged? Are you perhaps a friend or family member of someone who is recently engaged and want to help them out?
My husband and I have been photographing weddings since 2010. It’s more accurate to say that we have been planning and photographing weddings since then. One of our couples even called us “professional wedding guests”. Because of this, I found it would be beneficial to provide you with some questions that are very important to ask before booking a wedding photographer, with this “7 Questions Every Couple MUST ASK Before Booking a Wedding Photographer” article. We hear a lot, but more often than not, people don’t know what to ask. There are many questions every couple must ask before booking a wedding photographer. Here are some and their reasons.
These are in no particular order. I tried to put in a nice mix of technical, financial, and creative based questions.
1. Do you use a flash or external light in the event of darker lit areas?
This question is important, as it separates professional photographers you can trust from hobbyists. Many photographers market themselves as “natural light photographers”. If you’re not a photographer, this means that they don’t use flashes or lights. This may not seem like an issue, but imagine if your wedding went past sunset. Or, if your venue was indoors, you would need light. Many popular styles of venues, such as barns, require a flash to balance out both the venue and the people in it. Many beginner photographers are intimidated by the idea of using a flash or light, but it is critical to capturing images in darker settings. This is a key question you to ask. The last thing you want is to get dark images of your wedding day.
2. Are there any hidden fees?
This one is SO important. I didn’t even realize until after I got married how many hidden fees there can be. We have flat pricing plus tax and any necessary travel fees. We’re very up front about that. This is an important question for literally every single vendor you hire, as there can be so many. Do they charge more for a set of black and white photos? Do they charge for editing? Do they charge for an engagement session? Is a second shooter an additional fee? I could go on all day. We have heard of more hidden fees than you could ever imagine.
3. Do you include an engagement session with the wedding photography?
You may be asking yourself why this is important. We have had a lot of couples who have not wanted to do an engagement session. We include it with all our wedding and elopement photography for one simple reason: it helps us all get to know one another better. This is really important because on your wedding day, if you’re confident with your photographer, it is one less thing to think about. On your wedding day, you will LOVE THAT. We’ve had so many couples tell us that we made the engagement photography so easy. Knowing that your wedding photography is in the hands of someone you feel comfortable with is such a load off your shoulders. Plus, you’ll just get some fun photos even if you don’t use them for save the dates.
4. What is your photography/working style?
There’s something that I absolutely love about this question. Odds are, you aren’t in the photography industry when you’re asking this. When we first started shooting weddings, we would have people ask us what our photography style was and we would tell them it was mix of everything. If you’re not a photographer, it’s tough to ask if someone is a candid photographer, if you don’t truly know what a candid photographer is. What’s a candid photographer, you ask? Candid photographers typically stand back like a fly on the wall and shoot the day as it unfolds. We’ve had two weddings like this – they literally just wanted us to take candid shots for anywhere from six to eight hours. The majority of our clients want a good balance of the posed photography, candid, and storytelling. Ask for examples of photography they have shot that are the style that you like.
5. When can we expect to receive our photos?
I add this into the list of questions because of our own wedding. We waited SIX MONTHS for the photos for our own wedding and only got them after we contacted the photographer multiple times. ASK. We currently take 6-8 weeks to turn around wedding photography. It may seem long to you, but it’s pretty typical for a photographer that shoots 20+ weddings a year, as they are constantly editing. 2021 is going to be crazy due to all these postponed dates, so be sure to ask about that too. It is in our contract, as well as a line about notifying you if there is a delay. We have only had a delay once due to a death in the family. It’s important that you know where your photography is at.
6. What happens in case of an emergency (photographer is sick, equipment breaks, etc)?
I cannot emphasize how important this question is. A lot of the time it is assumed that the photographer will just take care of things if they get sick, their cameras die, and more. I can tell you that every year, we get at least ten people contacting us saying their photographer bailed on them because they got sick, kids got sick, and more. Our most recent take on this was a photographer who decided nine DAYS before the wedding that she didn’t want to shoot it, so she just canceled. My husband and I actually had the date available and were able to save the day, but this is not an uncommon thing. As professionals, we prepare for everything that could happen. I’m a total worst case scenario person, so I have a Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D. We have backup photographers that we have vetted and worked with. Both of us have full sets (camera bodies, lenses, flashes) of backup gear as lenses break, lights break, things happen. We are fully insured. Ask these questions.
7. Are you there to help us with the planning process or are you just showing up the day of?
If you didn’t catch that whole “be prepared” bit from the last question, this is the second part of it. You have us for emailing, calling, and texting from the moment of booking. We have had couples who email us nonstop and those who don’t and we love them both. This is what we do and our goal is to ensure our couples are as stress free as possible on their big day. We’ve heard stories of people who didn’t meet their photographer until the day of their wedding. From the photographer standpoint, that would be a nightmare. I want to know what we’re getting into just as much as you want to know who is working with you. Photographers are with you the whole day. The last thing you want is to be with someone you don’t like for whatever reason. We help you plan out photography (and in essence, your day) with multiple goodies, such as questionnaires, shot lists, preparation guides, and more.
BONUS TIP – CHECK OUT REVIEWS!!!
It’s funny seeing our reviews build up because we get to know what people like best about us. The biggest things our past clients have said about us was how fun we were to work with, how much we helped out with planning, our transparency, and how much they loved our photography. Reviews immediately will tell you who you are looking at because they are from past clients.
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