You know you want amazing photos but what else do you need to know?
A Guide of What You Need to Ask and Some of What You Don't
Good God it can be overwhelming to start planning a wedding. If you've never done it before it can be so difficult putting together your thoughts about what you need from different vendors. During an initial consultation you know to get a vibe from a vendor. You know to ask the standard questions that tell you who they are and what they do. You know to ask about their experience and the price point... but where do you go from there? I have had so many brides inquire with me and after asking very general information questions they kind of look stumped at a certain point. I do my best to fill in the blanks and answer questions they don't know they have but not every vendor will be as obnoxiously transparent as I can be. Here's some questions you don't know you should ask when you first speak to a photographer you're considering for your big day.
1. "Do you have a portfolio of your work?"
You should absolutely be viewing a photographer's past work before choosing one. It's
super easy to see a few good photos on an ad and fall in love but make sure you're seeing
more than just a few examples they post because trust me we know our best work and we
share it... often. Ask if they have a dedicated Facebook page or a separate website showing
what they can do on a more consistent basis.
2. "Can I see a full wedding gallery?"
Seeing all the amazing photos on a photographer's portfolio is great! It gives you a view of
their consistent style and overall skill. BUT as stated above, we don't post everything from
each wedding. It would be impossible and take up too much space. You should ask to see a
start to finish wedding (I'm not saying weed through 1000 images but see sections of each
part of just one wedding) That way you can preview the types of shots they favor for
different parts of the day.
3. "Do you always bring backup equipment?"
You really don't need to know if they shoot 'Canon or Nikon', what lenses they have, or
what equipment they use as a whole. It's a foreign language to most people when it comes
to camera equipment. Unless you're a hardcore photographer as well all you really need
to worry about is if they bring extras. Will they have enough memory cards if they shoot
digital? Do they have an extra camera body in case theirs *God forbid* fails in any way?
Knowing they have an extra set of what they'll need for your big day is a huge factor in
knowing they're prepared for the work load. (as a fun note here's whats in my bag)
4. "Do you have business insurance?"
Ok, this is one most people wouldn't think to ask. Having insurance on not just equipment
insures they will be covered if anything happens to themselves, you, your guests, or
in the event of any type of camera disaster. Say if a child is running around your reception
and they fall into a light stand and get hurt (looking at worst case scenario) are they covered?
5. "Do you have a contingency plan in place if you can't attend for whatever reason?"
I guarantee their contracts cover their own butts if they can't make it. Do they cover yours?
You want to make sure your photographer has backup photographers in line to pick up the date
if something happens and they can't make it. Personally I have a huge list of girls ready to jump
in if I get into a wreck on my way to a wedding and they're all fabulous enough to be trusted.
Anyone you hire should absolutely have a "what if" clause in their contract letting you know
you need not worry about anything leaving you high and dry.
6. "What style of shooting do you typically focus on?"
This part is a bit trickier. You first need to know what types of shots you're looking for during
your wedding. Do you want more posed formals? Candid? Documentary style? Staged documentary?
Know what you like before you ask this. But ask so you know what to expect your big day to
look like in the photos. If you are wanting a lot of raw emotions in your memories make sure your
photographer KNOWS that is what you want. We don't know what we don't know.
7. "What is included in your package?"
You will see a lot of set packages listed on websites. That's not to say we're not flexible with what
we offer... at least most of us are. Talk substitutions if they aren't readily offering a
perfect package for what you're looking for. A lot of us are pretty good about getting you what you really want.
If you're getting sticker shock just by asking for suggestions... talk to your favorites and see if they take
payment plans! It helps to be spread out when you're spread thin. Trust me on this one.
8. "What would you do if..."
Throw a random scenario at them and see how they think on their feet. That will give you a true
vision of their overall personality and problem solving skills. Yeah, its an interview in all reality.
Try "so my uncle is kind of a flirt when he drinks...*finish sentence however you like* and see what their
reaction is. If you're looking for someone very professional and to the point they'll react formally and
directly. Me... I would tell you I can hang with the best of them and don't get offended easily.
So, if you're looking for someone super flexible that can roll with the punches no matter what comes
at them you're looking for a more easy going and humorous response. *Just an example*
9. "What is your favorite part of the wedding day?"
What does that matter in a photographer? I'm crazy right? That's a lame question they'll just say
everything! Wrong! This question tells you what they are going to be very passionate about.
If the most important part of your day matches theirs it'll make for a great and exciting relationship
working together because you'll already be on the same page from day one.
10. "Is there anything special you do that sets you apart?"
Yeah, that's a loaded and open ended question. It may stump some photographers and others may
scramble for an answer they think you're going to want to hear. In all reality this can help you
open up a conversation that very well may be a deciding factor. You're not looking for freebies here
you're looking for someone who puts their hearts into making sure you have the most perfect day.
Know of any you think I missed? Need advice on how someone answered one of your questions? Comment below!! I'm always up for helping and suggestions are always amazing!!