There is a LOT of information floating around about this topic! Just browse any wedding blogs, or anything related to weddings or photography on Pinterest, and you’re almost guaranteed to see this topic. While I wouldn’t say they’re all bad… I think there are some important ones that are often overlooked, and some that shouldn’t be a huge factor in your decision.
However, I think there are some questions that are more important than others, and can really help you gain insight into your photographer: how they work, what they’re capable of, and who they are. So, coming from a wedding photographer’s perspective (who has had consultations with countless couples), here are some questions I believe I really important to ask a wedding photographer at a consultation:
- Why should I choose you as my photographer? I have only been asked this question once so far in my business by a potential bride, and I think this can give you SO much insight! Ask them why you think they are unique, and why you should choose them over other photographers. For me personally, I believe I give an exceptional client experience to my couples. I love connecting with them all throughout wedding planning, being there for them to answer questions, and giving them little surprises along the way. I can say this with confidence, because of what my couples have to say after they are married! It brings me so much joy, and I love having a friendship with my couples past being their photographer.
- Can I see an entire gallery from a wedding you’ve shot? I think this question gives you insight into how well a photographer can cover EVERY part of a wedding day. There’s are so many factors that differ in every part. With portraits, you’re in control of everything… the posing, lighting, and directing. With receptions, you don’t have to pose… but you have to know how to light dark spaces well. Asking to see an entire gallery will give you an idea of exactly WHAT to expect from each part of the day when you receive your own wedding photos! :) I love showing my couples an entire gallery, because then I am certain they know what to expect and what my style is for every part of the day. I also love showing how I am capable of capturing every part in all different kinds of scenarios… from harsh sun to dark reception halls, I have them covered! Which leads me to the next question…
- What kind of lighting do you use? Going off from the previous question, it is VERY important that your photographer can capture beautifully lit photos in all kinds of lighting situations! I personally LOVE natural light, and use it EVERY chance I get. However, I am also aware that a lot of receptions are after the sun goes down… which means I don’t have that luxury. Although I consider myself a natural light photographer, I am also very good at using a flash setup in dark spaces, so I can achieve the same light and airy look all of my photos have. This came with practice, which means a photographer who is well prepared for every lighting situation likely has more experience.
- What is your story? Ask your photographer how they got started! Trust me, they will light up and love talking all about it. It’s so fun to reflect on where we started and how we got to where we are.
- What happens if you can’t make it to my wedding? First off, if a photographer takes their job very seriously, this should only happen if a true emergency were to arise! When a couple secures me for their wedding date, I have no other shoots or personal commitments happening that day. I am all theirs! However, if something were to happen where I absolutely could not make it, I have it in my contract that I am responsible for helping you to find another photographer for your day. I will never drop you and leave! :)
- What is your approach when you’re shooting a wedding? This can help you get an idea of how your photographer works during certain parts of the day. I always tell my couples that during the events throughout the day, I try to be as discreet as possible. I will typically give more direction while they’re getting ready, but during parts such as the ceremony and formal dances, I will try to be as unnoticeable as possible. However, this is the total opposite for portrait time! I love giving a lot of guidance during bride & groom, bridal party, and family photos. So you will definitely notice me then… but besides that, I will not get very close to you. I am definitely not afraid to jump in when needed, but I won’t stand right in front of you while you’re saying your vows. :)
- Do you shoot from a shot list? I actually wrote more about my thoughts on this HERE. But bottom line is, I LOVE using shot lists for family formals. In fact, I ALWAYS get one from my couples beforehand! I think this is fantastic for being on the same page and doing them efficiently. However, for ALL other parts of the day, I actually do WORSE working off a shot list. This is because if I’m so focused on a shot list, I tend to miss REAL moments right in front of me… I definitely do mind if my couples have a few special requests! But there are always the same photos I will be sure to capture at every wedding, and will do my very best to make sure I have you covered.
- How do you backup your photos? When I’m shooting a wedding, I shoot on TWO cards at the same time. If one card fails, I still have another copy. When I get home from a wedding, I back up ALL my photos and my second shooter’s photos on TWO different hard drives. I also back up all of your photos online. It’s SO important to choose a wedding photographer who takes backing up your photos seriously! I take a lot of measures to ensure that, if something were to happen to one source, I would be covered.
- Do you have backup equipment? The resounding answer for a professional photographer should be YES!! I actually have backups FOR my backups… ha. :)
- How long will it take to receive my images? Knowing what to expect after your wedding day is important. I promise all of my couples they will have their full gallery within 4 weeks after their wedding day. :)
- How many images will I receive based on each collection? Again, this goes along with the previous question! Knowing your expectations of what you’ll receive can ensure you are on the same page.
- What kind of editing is included? Some brides are looking for someone that does a little more retouching… and some like a more natural look. I know photographers who do both, and do it so well! I personally do little (if any) retouching, and usually only on particular photos. I think my style doesn’t really need it, so unless there’s something really distracting I want to remove… I don’t retouch my photos.
So that gives you a good start of some questions I think, as a wedding photographer, are GREAT questions to ask. I think they will two things: give you insight into who the person is, and give you an idea of what exactly what to expect if you book them! :)
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