11 Important Questions to Ask Potential Wedding Photographers
1. What’s included in your packages and are there any additional fees? When comparing wedding packages, you can’t always compare them by quoted prices alone. You’ll want to ask if a second photographer or wedding album is additional. Is there a fee for an engagement session or will there be additional travel fees. Also ask if tax is included in the price they quote you. If not, that can add a nice chunk of money to the overall quoted price.
2. Are you willing to stay longer if my event runs longer? Make sure your photographer is willing to stay longer if needed and know up front what those overtime fees are.
3. How many years have you been shooting weddings and how many have you captured? No wedding is perfect and things can get hectic at times. A good photographer doesn’t just show up and take pictures, but also has to manage large crowds with confidence, work with tight schedules and have the ability to work faster if they need to catch up on time. Photographers with little wedding experience can get overwhelmed and confused since they won’t always know what to do next. They can also become overly stressed which might ruin their ability to take great pictures. You want to make sure your photographer has enough experience to not only handle the pressure, but know how to put out fires and get the day back on schedule without being managed.
4. Will you be my actual photographer? Some photography studios have multiple photographers that work there. Make sure you are hiring the photographer who’s images and style has drawn you to their studio to begin with.
5. How many years experience does your second photographer have? It’s important to find out if the other photographer you are hiring is equally experienced and qualified. Some second photographers are just starting out in the business or have little wedding experience. Wedding photography is much different than capturing family portraits! Make sure he/she has been working with your photographer for a good amount of time, how many years experience they have and if you can see their portfolio. You should be confident in knowing that they will give you the same quality images.
6. What happens if you get sick or have an emergency on my wedding day? Make sure there is a backup plan and who exactly would be your photographer in case of an emergency. In most cases, the second photographer could end up being your main photographer. Even more a reason to make sure they are fully qualified and you also love their work.
7. How many weddings do you shoot per weekend? A wedding photographer’s job is physically, and at times, emotionally demanding. It’s important to know if they are shooting a wedding on the day before yours as this can affect their mood, energy, patience and ability to give 100%.
8. Do you work with Off Camera Lights? You’ll want to hire someone that not only has an Off Camera Light system, but is very comfortable working with it. Your reception photos should be as beautiful and important as pictures taken during the day, and most couples don’t think about the importance of lighting. If you’re looking through a photographer’s portfolio and don’t see a good amount of images taken at night, chances are they are not good at it. Always ask to see images from dark reception rooms when meeting with potential wedding photographers so you can see if those match the quality of images taken during the day.
9. Do you carry backup equipment? Life happens and at any moment, equipment can stop working. Make sure your photographers bring backup cameras, lenses and lights. It can be a disaster if they do not!
10. How long after the wedding will I receive my images? Some photographers take longer than others depending on the amount of weddings they have that time of year. Getting your images sooner than later should not be a deciding factor when choosing your photographer. But it’s good to know ahead of time so you have a reasonable expectation on the return time. Keep in mind faster is not always better! Quality editing takes time and I would probably second guess a photographer if they told me I’d have my pictures back in less than 2-3 weeks. (The average turn around time is 1-2 months for most photographers)
11. Will I be able to print my own images and is there a limit on the amount of photos I’ll receive? A) Ask if you can print your images where you choose and if you’ll receive large format digital copies so you don’t lose quality when printing. Some photographers send low resolution copies and/or want you to buy prints only through them. B) You’ll also want to ask if you’ll receive all your edited images or if there is a limit on the amount of photos you will receive. Some photographers will give you a limited number of photos and charge you for any additional photos you want. This especially holds true for engagement photos. These things can be additional fees down the road, so make sure you know up front!