So you’ve booked your wedding photographer! Congrats!! I bet that’s a huge weight off your mind hey? How was the meeting – did you ask if they’re insured, how long they’ll be photographing for, what happens if they fall ill? No??
These may not seem worth asking at the time but I’ve composed a list below of what I think are the most important questions to ask before you think to sign on the dotted line and hand over that booking fee!!
Ask every photographer you meet everything you possibly can, after all you’re paying for a once-in-a-lifetime day so you deserve to know exactly what’s included!
—— 1. ARE YOU INSURED?——
May seem like a daft question to some, but this may bite you in the butt (excuse the cheek 😉 ) but in all seriousness ask it!! Everyone is human and mistakes can be made whether it’s down to technology failing us or little JoJo falling over the off-camera flashgun or even Uncle Bob walking in front of the camera just as they’re taking that vital photo that you really wanted, it’s always worth double checking.
I appreciate that things can happen which are out of our control, but personally I always try to be prepared for those moments. Shooting with two cameras has its benefits of not just being able to use different lenses quickly, but also as a fall-back in case one camera body fails half way through the day. I also bring along a bag of back-up lenses, spare flashguns and memory cards to keep me sane when I’m shooting my clients’ weddings.
To top it off, I also came across a couple of my clients’ venues last year where I was personally contacted by them and asked to see proof of my insurance, so cracking down on fully insured photographers seems to be something that is becoming an essential for certain wedding venues now.
—— 2. WHAT ARE THE HOURS WE’RE PAYING FOR? ——
The amount of coverage is obviously down to what package you choose but most photographers have different ways of advertising their services and what they include so make sure you are aware before you exchange any money.
Some photographers offer their wedding package services based on hours;
4 hours – Essentials | 8 hours – Bridal Prep to Breakfast | 10 hours – All day
Whereas other photographers may choose to offer services between key moments on the day;
Ceremony to Wedding Breakfast | Bridal prep to Wedding Breakfast | Bridal Prep to First Dance | All Day & Night
Discuss everything you want to be covered on your Wedding and your photographer should be able to help guide you on the package they would recommend should you book with them.
If you’re after those comical photos of Aunt Sal catching the bouquet of flowers, or your best friend Tim shaking his hips whilst attempting to impress the Bridesmaids, or the beautiful evening sunset shots of just the two of you; keep it in mind you may have to book an extra hour or two, or even a different package.
—— 3. WHAT IS INCLUDED WITHIN YOUR PACKAGES? ——
Ensure you do your shopping around and make notes of what each photographer that you meet with has to offer.
I’ve had meetings with couples where their parents have also been present and they have claimed they were stung by their wedding photographer years ago because they were unaware they were paying x-amount for their photographer to shoot the wedding, and then y-amount to purchase the photos after. They just assumed it would all be included in the first amount.
Similarly I’ve also been told of others who thought they were getting a Wedding Album, only to be handed a sample-viewing book to which every photo was watermarked and the couple had to choose which images they wanted and then pay more!
Most photographers nowadays tend to include digital files on USB for their clients to print themselves. Personally I prefer this way as I like my clients to be able to take everything away that I produce instead of making them choose, so all my packages include fully edited digital files on USB. Some of my packages even include a Storybook or Wedding Album for you aswell, or these can be added on as an extra, but again just make sure you’re aware of what you will be receiving in the long run from your chosen photographer.
—— 4. WHAT IS COPYRIGHT? ——
Ok so I get this a lot, and why wouldn’t I? It’s technical jargon that photographers moan about (guilty!!) on social networking sites in particular when you see an image you’ve shot but the person displaying it has no rights to use it. It’s the legal right to use the photo(s) and although most wedding photographers with digital file packages include the copyright of your images (so you can use them), some do not state this so you make sure you check it out!
—— 5. HOW MUCH IS THE PACKAGE & WHEN DO WE HAVE TO PAY? ——
Money is always a tricky subject to bring up but once you’re feeling content that you’ve found THE Wedding Photographer for you, they should be professional enough to handle this well and make you feel at ease. Most photographers will ask for a booking fee of a certain amount or a percentage of the final amount in order to secure the date for you with the rest usually payable nearer the time of your wedding. Whether it be a month before, a week before, or sometimes even at the very latest on the morning of…however I would try to avoid this as it means extra hassle of carrying their money on the day. Other photographers may even ask for everything up front so be prepared just in case!
—— 6. HOW LONG UNTIL OUR PHOTOS ARE READY FOR VIEWING? ——
Being that it is a very important day, and everyone has photos on their phones but all you’re interested in is seeing the professional images don’t be upset if you have to wait a while. The reason Wedding Photographers are expensive is because their job doesn’t just end when they go home after your wedding, they still have weeks of work with editing, designing, printing, packaging, organising etc but it’s still worth talking to your photographer and having an approximate completion date.
As social media is so above & beyond now, chances are most photographers would’ve asked if they can share a few images from your wedding on their social media or blog to show you a little sneak peek and to promote themselves. Some will even email over a select few images for you to see privately if you ask. Typically it will take around 2-6 weeks (depending on length of time shot on your day) to have your wedding fully edited and ready for viewing but just make yourself aware of how long your photographer thinks it will take them.
—— 7. WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU’RE ILL ON OUR WEDDING DAY? ——
This is important and should probably be put to all your vendors when booking each of them. Your photographer should already have a backup plan in place, but you should also be aware of it too.
I’m not talking about a cough or a cold, heck I’ve managed to work with these whilst dealing with a full day wedding before! I’m talking about serious problems… a broken leg, appendicitis etc. Most will have a list of back up photographers they can call on but it is still worth asking as others may leave you in the lurch and offer a refund… Not very good if it’s the day before you say “I do”! Some photographers may not even offer a refund in this situation so this kind of touches back on the insurance question as it’s totally beyond anyone’s control and can happen at anytime.
—— 8. HOW MANY WEDDINGS HAVE YOU PHOTOGRAPHED? ——
Although not majorly important, it still gives you a good idea on how well this photographer knows their stuff. You wouldn’t want to ask a photographer who specialises in landscape photography to shoot a wedding, and visa versa.
As a Wedding Photographer you need to be aware of the rough timings that happen throughout the day. What to expect in the ceremony, when the key moments happen, what angles work best, how to handle a white floaty dress etc, so if it’s important for you to get these photos right (and let’s face it ladies…it really is 😉 ), then you will need to book someone who works well under pressure and knows how to handle your wedding day.
—— 9. CAN WE SEE A FULL WEDDING YOU’VE PHOTOGRAPHED? ——
Although most people are guilty of looking at one or two photos from a photographer and instantly deciding ‘yep that’s the one!’ make sure you’re happy with their style of photography throughout the whole wedding day. Ask to see a full wedding they’ve shot…even better if it’s at the venue you’re getting married at! This will give you an idea of the photos you’ll expect to receive back and whether you’d be happy with them or prefer someone with a different photographic approach.
—–10. HAVE YOU EVER SHOT AT MY VENUE? IF NOT WILL YOU VISIT?——
Following on from the question above (bonus points if they show you one from your venue) however, if they haven’t then ask if they’ll be taking the time to visit beforehand to check it out. Always worth asking as this will determine how much time they spend familiarising themselves with the areas to create those special shots at your wedding and I also find it helps when checking out places to park the car if there is limited space at the venue etc.
Now there are obviously more questions you can ask your photographer, however I personally would make a note of these ones next time you’re having a meeting as well.
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