10 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

As every bride to be knows, planning a wedding takes a lot of hard work and effort. It’s an expensive business too. After your dress and the reception, the next biggest outlay is likely to be your photographer and you need to know what your getting for your money. To offer some advice, I’ve compiled this list of my top 10 questions to ask of your wedding photographer.

Ten Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Q1: Can we meet you for a chat before we book?

You absolutely must insist on this! You should never book a wedding photographer if they won’t meet you for a face-to-face discussion about your needs and what is important to you about your wedding images.

You’re the one getting married. It’s your wedding. They’re your memories being photographed, your story being told.

Q2: Can I see examples of the albums/products you offer?

The face-to-face consultation meeting discussed in question 1 above is a great opportunity to see examples of the products the wedding photographer is selling. If you can’t see examples of the products before you hand over the booking fee, I’d suggest you find another photographer.

Q3: Who will photograph my wedding and can I see examples of their wedding photography?

Don’t just take any images presented to you at face value. Always ask who will be photographing your wedding and make sure you see examples of their own work. This is really important to understand their particular style – how they compose and finish their images off.

Don’t accept excuses like “we use a number of photographers and it depends on their availability as to who you will get on the day.” It’s your wedding and you’re the one paying a resonable sum of money for a wedding photographer. Insist on knowing who will be covering it for you, meet them and make sure you see examples of their work before booking.

At all costs, make sure you don’t hire a company who will recruit someone from the internet a week or so before your wedding! If you look at some of the the photography job sites on the internet you’ll see what I mean. When the wedding season is in full flow they are littered with requests for “someone to cover a wedding this weekend.” The rates frequently range from £50 to £200. If I were paying £1,500 for my wedding photography I’d be very upset if I only had a £150 photographer turn up that I’d never met.

Q4: What is your backup plan?

A wedding photographer without a backup plan shouldn’t be trading in my opinion.

Your wedding is one of the biggest days of your life and you need to know your images are in safe hands. Cameras and lenses can be dropped, media cards can crash, people get ill.

If any of these were to happen on your wedding day, what would the person sitting in front of you do?

Q5: Do you have insurance?

Insurance for a professional photographer is not mandatory but highly advisable. I don’t mean equipment insurance either. The two types ask about are Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance.

You need peace of mind in the unlikely event that things go wrong and you’d be surprised how many people don’t have insurance.

BTW – Just in case you were wondering, I do.

Q6: Are you full time or part time?

A full time photographer lives or dies by making and selling photographs.

A part time photographer supplements their living by making and selling photographs.

There are a lot of very good part timers out there, after all it is one of the routes into professional photography but you need to be comfortable with whoever you hire. are they good enough for you?

Q7: When will my proofs be available?

This will vary from photographer to photographer but a good rule of thumb is within 2 weeks of your wedding. Ideally they should be available when you return from your honeymoon.

As the bride you should also be the first one to see your images unless you specifically tell your photographer otherwise.

Q8: Do you offer a free pre-wedding photo-shoot?

This is rapidly becoming the norm with mid- to high-end wedding photographers. It’s a great way to take some time out from the planning to enjoy a few quiet moments together, learn a few poses and break the ice so you’ll be more relaxed and natural on the big day.

Pre-wedding shots are also great for invitations, signature frames and personalised guest books.

Q9: What about copyright, can I get my own prints made?

Many photographers are reluctant to provide their images copyright free. My stance on this is to provide them with a lifelong, royalty-free license for non-commercial use. This allows the bride and groom to have their own prints made, post them on the internet, share them with family and friends but not to sell them.

Copyright buy-out can be a sticking point. It is a possibility but it isn’t really necessary in most cases. Remember though, if you buy the rights to an image, the photographer cannot use or post it anywhere without your written permission.

Q10: Will you visit the church/venue before my wedding?

The answer to this question needs to be yes, unless it’s a venue that’s very well known to the photographer. It is important to know where to get the best shots, the direction and quality of the light even something as fundamental as where to park and how to get there. It all comes down to planning and preparation.

Conclusion

There are of course many, many more questions that can be asked. The important thing is to make sure that you, the bride, are comfortable with whoever you choose to be your wedding photographer and that they are able to give you images that you’ll treasure. Get to know them. Build rapport. Familiarity will really help to overcome any nerves and ultimately give you much better images.

See also…

What happens in a Bridal Consultation?
Do I have to have a wedding album?
How to choose a wedding photographer?
Wedding Photography Packages for 2013

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