Top 10 Questions to ask a photographer (and yourself)
So you've set the date, you've booked the venue - the next thing on your list is likely to be finding a photographer! Your photographs are likely to be the only thing left when your big day is over, so it's important to get this one right. (not that i'm biased...).
As your friendly neighbourhood wedding photographer I have the inside scoop to your most common questions, and decided to compile a handy list of important questions to ask a photographer before you book with them!
“The most important thing at a wedding is to photograph the bride. The second most important thing is not to forget the groom.”
1. How would you describe your style? (And is it what we want for our wedding?)
This is actually a big one - with so many different styles of photography flying round, it's easy to get confused. If you're after perfectly posed photographs with high fashion vibes, a documentary or reportage photographer probably isn't going to fit your vision. Check out their portfolio, and if you like what you see, ask how THEY describe their style and what you can expect from them. If what they describe fills you with relief and excitement - book them!
2. What's your cancellation/amendment policy?
We know your love is forever - but if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we can't predict the future. Ask about their cancellation and amendment policy and make sure the terms are fair. Ask to see copies of their terms & conditions and ask them to explain anything to you that you are unsure of - they will be pleasantly surprised you actually read them! A good photographer will have a contract that protects both you and them.
3. What happens if an SD card corrupts?
We've all had photos disappear from our old phones, or had our laptop mysterious turn off by itself. Technology fails all the time.This is a cold hard fact. The REAL question is, what does your photographer do to mitigate this risk? Hopefully they will tell you something along the lines of:
'I regularly replace SD cards, and use multiple SD cards during the day, so that if one does corrupt, there are still plenty of photos left.'
Photographer's aren't wizards, we can't predict if and when a card will fail; but you definitely DO want to know that your photographer takes precautions to minimise the risk and loss in the unlikely event an SD card does corrupt. Multiple cameras and multiple cards will minimise this risk and be considered reasonable risk management.
4. Do you have back-up equipment?
The only correct answer to this question is YES. As we established in question three - technology fails all the time, and you'll want to know that if their camera suddenly stops working for absolutely no preventable reason, that they have a back up and can continue the day as if nothing happened.
5. What happens if you're sick or can't make it?
Most photographers will have a network of photographers they keep in touch with in the event something catastrophic happens and they can't make it. Take this further by asking to see the portfolios of the photographers they use if they can't make it, and ask what happens if you aren't happy with any of the replacements.
6. Do you have insurance?
Again - the only correct answer to this should be YES. Specifically, equipment cover, professional indemnity and public liability insurance. They should also be happy to provide information regarding their policy, and your venue may also ask to see these documents.
7. Do we need to feed you?
This is a less important question - but a kind one. Some photographers may have it in their contract that a meal is to be provided - and others will prefer to cater for themselves. Now we know how expensive a wedding breakfast is without adding your suppliers to the list, so check with your venue to see if they offer supplier meal deals (these will often be cheaper options especially for your wedding suppliers). Remember, we work 10+ hour days and it can be quite physically challenging work, so even though you aren't obliged, we really appreciate it when you ask.
8. Have you shot at my venue before?
This one shouldn't be a deal breaker, as any photographer worth their salt will be able to think on the spot, analyse the environment and pick great spots for your 'mantle' photos. However - any professional should be happy to do a visit with you if they haven't already. This visit could be a general consultation to chat about your expectations and meet your coordinator, or you could use the occasion for an engagement shoot which makes for a great 'trial run' of the main event!
9. Can we see any reviews/full weddings?
I see lots of blogs that recommend a photographer should let you speak to previous couples - this isn't necessarily true as it's highly unethical for us to go chasing our previous couples a few times a week and also goes against GDPR requirements.
However, your photographer should be more than happy to share testimonials and reviews and will often have them published on their website. Double check these reviews against client galleries and their portfolio to make sure names match faces to ensure they are real people and real weddings captured by this photographer. Also check multiple websites (for example, i have reviews published on facebook, google, hitched and bridebook). Multiple reviews on multiple platforms increases validity and trust in a supplier.
I also see blogs recommending asking to see a full client gallery. This also depends on contractual limitations and privacy requested by couples (it's fully understandable if a couple doesn't want their gallery shared with strangers) so don't be put off if the answer is no. What you can reasonable expect, is that a photographer will be happy to show you a variety of shots from different parts of the day from multiple weddings.
10. Can I print/share my photos?
This will totally depend on the package you choose and what each photographer offers. Some (most in fact)will include digital downloads and others won't. Some will have policies on sharing these with friends and family, so it's worth asking exactly where you stand and what you are allowed to do with the package you choose.
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading! If you thought this blog was helpful give it a share! And if you think there's a question missing I'd love to hear from you! I wish you the very best of luck and fun with your wedding planning, and can't wait to see your photos!