You’ve been searching the internet for local wedding photographers, poured over photo galleries, talked to other couples who hired a professional, and have finally dwindled your potential photographers list down to two or three. Now it’s time to contact each one and schedule to meet.
An in-person meeting will do a couple of things: A) you’ll be able to see if you’re comfortable around him or her (super important since you’ll be spending a lot of time around this person, and the more comfortable you feel with the photographer, the more comfortable you’ll feel in front of the camera) and B) you’ll be able to ask important questions that will help you decide who is the best fit for you.
No doubt there are a plethora of questions you’ll want to ask your potential wedding photographer. You can find lists upon lists around the web, but I would like to offer you five crucial questions to ask right off the bat. These will guide you in the right direction and help you make a decision that you won’t regret.
1. Have you shot at our venue(s) or somewhere similar before, and can we see a full gallery? You’ve probably seen the photographer’s example galleries on his or her website and if he/she is on your shortlist, it’s safe to assume you like the photo style. But it’s important to know whether a photographer has had experience shooting in your chosen venue or one with similar lighting. You’ll want to know if the photographer has the skill level to produce quality images using a variety of lighting levels. If you can see a full gallery of a similar wedding, you’ll get a much better idea of how yours will look in the photos.
2. What is included in your photo packages? To get the best bang for your buck, you’ll want to compare package fees. Ask your potential photographers what’s included in their standard packages (prints, albums, proofs, etc.) and if there are add-ons like engagement sessions and rehearsal dinners. You’ll also want to inquire about how many hours are included in each package and what the overtime costs are.
3. How much editing will be done on the photos? Does the photographer offer color adjustment, retouching (removing distracting items from the background, blemish removal, etc.), or other corrective services, and are these included in the package or will there be an additional charge? Different photographers have different editing processes, so it’s important to know what that process is and how many photos it covers (for example, basic edits only on images you order as prints or within an album).
4. What is the process and turnaround time for images and products? You’ll be chomping at the bits to see your photos, but it can often take months before you receive the full package. Ask your photographer to give you a general idea of when you’ll see your first photos and how you’ll see them (in person, online gallery?). Also, you can’t assume that you’ll be able to plaster your images on social media as soon as you get them, so ask your photographer what the restrictions are for sharing photos online and if you own the copyrights.
5. How much do you want to be kept in the loop? Some photographers enjoy being a part of the wedding planning and will want to hear from you throughout the process, while others would rather remain in the background and get all the details just before the big day. It depends on his or her personality, what their schedules are like, etc. Asking up front will ensure that you and your wedding photographer have a positive and productive working relationship.
The most important thing to remember, even after all of your questions are answered, is whether you have a connection with the photographer. He or she may check all the other boxes, but if you don’t have a connection, you won’t feel comfortable with that person, which will result in not feeling comfortable in front of the camera. And if that’s the case, what’s the point? Your wedding day is one of the most special days of your life, so make sure it’s captured with love.