Getting married isn’t cheap and there are many big ticket services you’ll need to buy. One of them being: hiring a wedding photographer. I see it all the time: overwhelmed newly engaged couples with no clue on what to ask a photographer.
But fret not – I’m here for you! I’ve been on both sides of the fence and I feel your pain! I may not know much about choosing a wedding dress, but I do know a thing or two about photography.
So be sure to take notes, bookmark this page or print it out and have it handy when you talk to a potential wedding photographer.
How many years experience do you have shooting specifically weddings?
There are some very talented landscape photographers. Google Peter Lik and prepared to be amazed! But shooting mountains is very different than shooting people.
Be sure to also ask if their years of experience was for pay or for experience (free). Sure someone may have 5 years experience shooting weddings – but it doesn’t mean someone was willing to pay for their services.
Do you use external lights?
If a photographer replies by saying they only use “natural light” – odds are they haven’t done all of their homework. Photography is all about lighting. And during the course of a wedding day a photographer will be shooting in many challenging shooting scenarios throughout the day:
A dark church with very high ceilings, a sunny park, a reception hall with various degrees of available light and perhaps the couple wants to take some outdoor shots in the night.
Many of these scenarios call for using external lights – yes even on sunny days. By using external lights a photographer will be able to shoot in any lighting scenario.
So why doesn’t every photographer use lighting? Some are intimidated by the perceived learning curve. Lighting isn’t cheap and perhaps some photographers aren’t willing to make the investment. As an example, did you know just one Nikon spdeedlight costs about $550?
Whatever the case is I can guarantee every professional photographer (not just wedding) use external lights.
What styles do you specialize in?
Essentially there’s two main styles of shooting, and that is traditional and photojournalistic. Traditional (or classic) wedding photography means time is taken to create the images.
Whereas photojournalistic is more of a candid style. Instead of taking time to pose people the photographer takes pictures as the action happens without intervening.
What is your cancellation / refund policy?
I’ll only speak about our policy and the reasoning behind it. We don’t offer refunds on the deposit. It may seem like a harsh policy, but look at it from our perspective. Let’s say we book the Smith couple for a particular date and we had to turn down other couples (perhaps for a higher cost package) because we were already booked for that date. Now if the Smith’s decide to cancel (for whatever reason) we lose out.
Just be sure to read the fine print so there are no surprises.
What type of camera will you use?
I wrote this question to annoy my fellow photographers reading this! At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what type of camera a photographer uses. It’s about how they use the camera.
It’s like building a wood desk. It doesn’t matter what kind of hammer is being used because all hammers essentially do the same thing.
Will there be backup equipment available?
What would happen if on your wedding day the photographer tells you they can’t continue shooting your wedding because they’re camera is malfunctioning? Be sure to ask if they have backup cameras, lenses and speedlights. If they don’t run for the hills!
What happens if the photographer is ill or there’s an unforeseen circumstance?
Things happen. Be sure they have a backup plan in place if an emergency comes up. The last thing you want to hear is your photographer can’t make it because they have the flu.
How long after my wedding will the pictures be ready?
This is a topic that always boggles my mind! Why some studios and photographers take months to deliver proofs is beyond me. Sadly, I’ve heard (multiple times) that a photographer never even delivered a couples photographs.
When we tell our couples 30 (typically 7) days to receive their proofs they are literally blown away. There’s no reason it should take more than a few weeks to professionally edit wedding pictures then send proofs.
Can other people take photos while you are taking photos?
This may seem like a silly question to as but some photographers get annoyed when they’re taking pictures and family members get in the way. I’ve seen photographers loose their minds over this.
For us we expect this to happen and we kindly ask family members to allow us to take our shots first. Be sure to ask your potential photographer just to get a sense of how they handle people when they’re working.
Do you have liability insurance?
Did you know some venues require photographers to have liability insurance? Some will even take it a step further and require disability insurance as well. Be sure to ask your photographer and find out all of the venue’s policies so everyone is covered.
And in here’s one off topic tidbit of advice…
Be sure that you like the photographer’s personality! You’re going to have to work with this guy or gal for at least 5-8 hours on one of the biggest days of your life: your wedding day. If you’re the conservative type, find a photographer that’s laid back and in line with your personality. On the flip side – if you’re the party type – be sure to hire a photographer that’s fun loving and easy going.
In closing – my advice is to find a photographer who’s style you like then ask them these questions. Consider yourself an educated consumer now when it comes to hiring a wedding photographer!
We hope you found this post helpful. If you haven’t done so already take a look at our wedding portfolio and if you’re looking for an outgoing and fun wedding photographer please give us a call and feel free to ask us these same questions!
Mikey Colon – Owner
Next Level Photo®