Choosing your wedding photographer is one of the most important wedding day decisions a bride can make. These images, only capturable one time, will commemorate this day forever and are therefore some of the most precious belongings a newly married couple possesses. But how do your choose YOUR photographer? There are just so many out there who seem produce such good work? And all their prices vary so much! Should you go with the cheapest one? And if not, what questions should I be asking a photographer to make sure they are the right fit for me?
All these questions can QUICKLY become overwhelming in light of how many OTHER details you have to take care of before you can walk down the aisle. So, here is are eight questions that you can ask a photographer to more easily help you make the big decision for your VERY big day:
1. Can I see examples of your work?
The primary thing you should care about from your wedding photographer is there final product. What do their pictures look like when everything is finished? So, ask if the photographer has an online portfolio with a FULL wedding they have done.
Then, when you have found the site, here are some a couple tips for what you should look for. A great technical photographer demonstrates himself in two ways. First, he can take crisp, clean images. If you zoom into the pictures on his website and they are blurry, it is guaranteed that these images will be blurry when blown up to print in an 8×10 format. Second, can does he capture the relationship a couple shared when they first said the “I Do’s?” It is one thing to get great photos, but a great photographer wants more.
Personally, whenever I shoot any wedding or engagement, one of the first questions I ask my couple is this: How do you relate to one another and would you like me to capture this with formal images, posed images, or a mixture of both? This way I know EXACTLY what emotions I need to photograph and I know precisely what the couple expects the end product to look like.
2. What relationship do you typically have with your clients?
I have met very few people that enjoy working with difficult people. If you have have the option, wouldn’t you much rather work with someone pleasant?
When I get married, I will not settle for a photographer who doesn’t obviously care about me and my bride. I want my photographer to love marriage and my soon-to-be wife almost as much as I do! Yes, you can find a photographer who is strictly professional that will give you what you pay for, but what if you left your wedding wishing you could take more pictures simply because the person behind the lens was just so much fun to hang out with?!
3. How do you normally dress on a wedding day and do you have any reviews from previous weddings you’ve done?
If someone can take great pictures, that’s wonderful! And if they make you laugh, two thumbs up! But if it takes them four months to deliver the product, is it really worth it? Further, there is a large difference between someone who is fun and obscene. Make sure you KNOW the kind of person you are hiring.
4. What comes in your wedding package?
The average price for a professional wedding photographer is currently hovering somewhere around $2,500. You do not want to spend that much money on someone without nailing down EXACTLY what they are going to be giving you at the end of your wedding. For example, let’s say Geoph the photo guy tells you, “I’ll give you 10 printed photos for $50.” That doesn’t sound too bad! 5 dollars an image? Pretty good. BUT, what size are we talking here? Are those 8×10’s or 4×6’s? [Big difference]. Then, is the photographer going to allow you choose which ones you want or will be choosing for you?
Likewise, when a photographer offers a bridal session, what will this look like? How many hours?
But every photographer will offer different things based on what their clients’ needs are. So, don’t just assume every photographer will carry the same things. Check.
5. How long after the weddings am I guaranteed to see my images and how will my pictures be delivered?
A very great question! In fact, I’d say this is one of the most missed questions of them all. The largest complaint I hear about wedding photographers is the incredible amount of time it sometimes takes for them to get photos to their couples. The photos look fantastic but the brides aren’t getting these photos for sometimes as long as eight months after the wedding. WHAT?! I honestly don’t even understand WHY it would ever take that long.
Make sure it’s in your CONTRACT that photos will be given to you within a timely manner. As to what this time is, discuss it with your photographer but make sure you have it in writing.
Obviously, there is an inevitable question then follows: “Well what’s reasonable?” I mean, most bride’s don’t WANT to be bridezilla but this is something that you will greatly regret if you don’t solidify your expectation. Let me put it this way by telling what I do. I guarantee to my brides that I will have their photos to them NO LATER than four weeks after the wedding and I put that down in writing. Then, I personally guarantee to myself that I will take no longer than TWO to actually get it done. There are very few reasons in my mind as to why it would ever take longer than that, but I would consider any time over two months for standard editing to be crazy.
6. How can I get in touch with you?
I personally try very hard to keep my work away from my weekends. Therefore, I ask my clients to keep their communication with me during these times to a minimum. Make sure you talk to your photographer about this so that you know what to expect. Does Joe the Photo Dude only answer his emails once a month? Well… you may not want to hire him. You can expect that someone who has trouble keeping their email life organized probably has trouble with other areas as well.
7. What style do you go for when you are taking pictures? More candid or posed?
It is important to study the person who you want to create your wedding day images. Some photographers don’t really like to do the candid moments but instead prefer a more classic, posed look. Some photographers go for the opposite approach and really don’t pose much, preferring instead to simply capture the emotions couples naturally give off! Then, the third category where I prefer is the mix, creating poses when needed but mostly capturing what automatically happens.
8. What is your rainy/cloudy day plan?
Every bride fears the terrible “ugly day.” What will the pictures look like if it rains? Will they be hideous?! Well, no. They don’t have to be! Just like Picasso practiced and studied painting, professional photographers STUDY their craft, constantly learning new techniques to continually improve their product. So don’t be shy about the rainy day question.
I sometimes plan fun photoshoots on rainy days SPECIFICALLY so I can practice handling it. It’s a unique challenge and in may ways actually makes photos EASIER to take. Direct sunlight can create really deep, annoying shadows sometimes and cloudy days help to diffuse light to pretty much everywhere!
And with that you are hopefully a LITTLE closer to being prepared to start hiring your photographer! Just remember, you can do this! Take your wedding planning one day at a time, looking at one piece at a time, and you will be fine.