August 15, 2012
This list is continued from Part One of “Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer”.
Your Artistic Preferences
- Why are you a photographer?
You’re looking to hear something about his or her passion and love for their work.
- Can you help me plan out how much time I need to devote to certain shots during the day?
Any photographer should be able to walk you through this and it’s important to let your photographer know which shots are most important to you so that the right amount of time is dedicated to those shots.
- How would you describe your photography style? Do you prefer to pose all of your shots or do you prefer to capture people as they do things naturally?
Some photographers stage and pose every shot, some photographers make every effort to capture the natural moments, and, many would argue the best photographers are those that do both well. The answer should help you determine whether this is a photographer who blends into the background and shoots what unfolds naturally, or creates a more visible presence by taking charge and choreographing shots. It requires a talented photographer to pose a bride and groom properly and in that same instant capture a real moment of laughter and love between them. Here’s the biggest tip! No matter what the photographer says their style should be consistent and visible in their portfolio. You should be able to tell whether or not they need to pose all of their shots in order to take a good picture.
- What distinguishes you from other photographers?
You should hear from the photographer things they take pride in and things they believe they do well. They may not consider themselves better than other professionals, yet can still speak to what makes them unique.
Sealing the deal
- When will I receive a written contract?
WARNING: Don’t book a photographer, or any vendor, who won’t provide a written contract.
- Is there anything in the contract that limits me or provides expectations of me?
Many contracts require you to feed the photographer and give them a break. Many photographers have a “Sole Photographer” clause which I’ve seen in the form of the photographer not being responsible for your guests and family members who act like a professional photographer, getting in the way of the real professional, and using up the valuable time you’ve paid for.
- Can I provide you list of specifics shots I want?
Most photographers will make every effort to work with you in making your list of shots happen, but what you really hope to get from a question like this is whether or not the photographer is going to make every effort to capture what is valuable to you. Shots are missed, it happens, and your list of photographs might have missing shots, but will they try.
- Is there any information I need to provide you before the wedding day?
- If my wedding lasts longer than expected, will you stay? Is there an additional charge?
Most photographers have an hourly rate if you decide at the last second you want to keep your photographer around longer.
- Will you give me the negatives or the digital images, and is there a fee for that?
Nearly every high end photographer only provides low-resolution proofs from which you can order your prints, but many offer a price for a copy of your high-resolution images. In fact, it’s becoming more common for photographers to offer you a high resolution disk with the price already factored into the package.
- How many photos will I receive?
This varies highly between photographers. Some will hand you thousands of photos and some will hand you a couple hundred. Here is a case where more isn’t more. Most of the highest paid photographers only give close to 200 photos for an entire wedding because they did the hard work of sorting through the photos and are giving you the best photos, spending a long, tiring, amount of time on each picture.
- How long after the wedding will I get the proofs? Will they be viewable online? On a CD?
Many turnaround times are between 2 to 4 months, which is considered normal. If a quick turnaround is important to you make sure you talk with the photographer about this and see if you can get it shorted.
- What is the ordering process? How long after I order my photos/album will I get them?
- What type of album designs do you offer? Do you provide any assistance in creating an album?
- How much of a deposit do you require and when is it due? Do you offer a payment plan?
You should expect to pay 50% of your total as a deposit, although some photographers require more.
- What is your refund/cancellation policy?
Things happen! And most of the time it is things you can’t plan on. You need to know what your options are.
- Is gratuity included in the price?
Yes, photographers should be tipped as well. Many photographers go out of their way, far beyond what should be expected, to make your special day go smoothly. This is a service and level of professionalism that you can’t put a price on.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Sometime you get tired of all the searching and all the effort, and then settle on a photographer instead of it being the one you really want. Ask yourself a few more questions before you make your final decision; it will be worth it in the end.
- Do I like the photographer as a person? Are our personalities a good match?
If you can already tell the photographer’s personality is going to clash with yours then that should be a sign to keep searching. When you have a photographer that is going to be following you around on such an important day, and be around you more than your family will be, you want to like the person so you can be yourself around them, because that is what you want to be captured in your images. Also keep in mind that you will have a long term relationship with your photographer, probably expanding to two or more years.
- Do I love the photographers photos?
Every photographer is a very unique person with their own unique artistry, and they should be viewed as such. One of the most important things for you to consider is “what do I want my wedding photos to look like”. Nearly every professional out there has a “look” and this “look” comes from both the kind of editing the photographer does and how they approach shooting.