One of the biggest decisions you will make when planning your wedding is picking out a wedding photographer. With many different options and styles available, it is important to get exactly what you are looking for. The best way to do this is to be prepared when you meet a potential wedding photographer (in person or over the phone) for the first time. With my experience working with countless brides and grooms, I want to make a list in order for couples to be armed and ready to pick the best possible choice for them. Make sure to get your FREE printable worksheet that you can bring with you to all of your consultations below!
Not only do you need to like the style of photography, but you have to be comfortable with what that style means to you on your wedding day. If your photographer is strictly photojournalism in style, they may be a fly on the wall: busily capturing every moment of your day to make a perfectly real story. Or maybe you want someone more editorial, they are likely to be moving and posing and fluffing for most of the day. And if someone is more of a mix, that’s great too!
You just need to know what the flow of their day looks like to make sure you are comfortable with that! Personally, I am decently hands-on during different times throughout the day with the exception of the ceremony and the reception. It is really important for me to let my clients know this so they can decide if I am the right fit for them on their wedding day!
Do you offer digital images, prints, albums, etc.? If you do offer digital images, are there any print restrictions? It is extremely important to be completely educated on exactly what comes with your collection so any additional purchases can be included in your photography budget. Don’t assume that anything is included- always make sure to check with the photographer so that you aren’t stuck blowing your budget after the wedding is over.
I recently learned that some photographers have different idea of what “all day” packages means. Which is fine, but again, important that you know before booking the photographer! Make sure to ask the photographer if they have a set amount of time for each package (maybe they consider all day to be 8 hours and maybe they think its 12 – it can be a big difference!) And it is always good to know their policy on extending the time the day of the wedding. Just in case timing gets behind schedule, you want to make sure that the photographer is available to capture all the moments you want.
It is not abnormal for a wedding day timeline to not go exactly is planned. While it is not realistic for a photographer to cram a full day’s worth of pictures into a timeline that is running hours behind, they should have a few ideas to troubleshoot minor timeline setbacks. There is not a right or wrong answer to this question, but what you are looking for is a photographer who can brainstorm or give examples of ideas on how to manage and adapt to changes in the day as well as someone who is setting reasonable expectations.
Your photographer may prefer to communicate via emails only, some may communicate best by phone or in-person. Knowing a photographer’s best method of communication (and sharing yours!) will ensure that you are connecting with them in the most effective way! It will also help prepare you for the information that the photographer might need from you as a couple so that you are not scrambling to get all the information together a few weeks before the big day.
There are so many times that I have seen couples miss out on booking their dream photographer because they waited too long. Contact your favorites early and get an idea of how far in advance they book! Each photographer might be different and therefore they are the ones that are able to give you a pretty clear idea of when they will need to be booked by. The general rule-of-thumb is booking between 1-2 years in advance during the busy wedding seasons.
Many venues require this, so it is necessary! If they do not have it, simply ask if they are willing to purchase it. Having this information ready when your venue requests it will save you time (and stress!) later on.
Contracts are great to keep both parties secure. Make sure you always read it over before signing on the dotted line and double check name spellings, dates, and addresses!
In order to help stay within the budget, and plan accordingly, this information is a must-know. Most photographers either have a set amount or a percentage of the total package as their way of determining how much is required to put the deposit down.
After all your hard work, you finally get to experience the best day ever! I guarantee that you are going to be dying to see your photos the day after the wedding. Knowing how long you can expect to wait to view these can help you know when to expect the final products.
Now that you know what questions to ask, make sure to download your FREE question planning worksheet below!