Hiring a wedding photographer is one of those things that seems like it should be easy, but when you get right down to it, for most couples this is...
- the first time they have planned a wedding,
- the first time they have even really thought about professional photography
- and potentially the first time they are making such a large investment for activities that take place on one day in their lives.
That's a lot of FIRSTS!
Sooooo often couples have a hard time even knowing what to ask a photographer outside of price because, well...what sorts of things DO you ask? I don't necessarily think that knowing the perfect questions is common sense to most people in the market for a photographer. Sure you want to look at their images and see if you like what you see, but there has to be more to it than that right? Especially if you are investing upwards of a few thousand dollars into this one vendor's service.
I appreciate it when I get asked questions by couples. I do try to do as much education upfront as possible so that they will feel comfortable with me and what I offer as a business, but questions are where its at. Questions allow you to really determine if this person can really take care of you the way you want to be taken care of on arguably one of the most important day of your lives!
To help you out and take some of the pressure off of trying to figure out if you are asking the right questions, I've compiled a list of awesome questions to ask potential wedding photographers you are looking at hiring. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you determine if this person is a good fit for what you want done on your day!
1 // How would you describe your style?
I loooove when I get this question from potential clients. To me this question communicates that the client is not necessarily just looking for someone to snap photos during they day, they care about the WAY in which those photos are captured. There are MANY different styles of wedding photography and to general consumers who are not completely obsessed with all things photography sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate the differences.
Understanding the thought process your photographer goes through as they are looking to capture images on your day will only give you as the client a better picture of exactly how your day will play out and the types of images you will receive on the back end.
If your photographer describes themselves as more traditional, putting more importance on the key points during the day you may end up getting more posed or set-up shots. If they describe themselves as fully photojournalistic, you may not get specific shots you might be wanting because they are capturing the day as it happens as opposed to intervening to set up specific shots. If they describe themselves as a combination of both, then you will better understand the types of images you will receive afterward.
2 // How do you deliver the images to us?
Although this information should already be listed out in their information that they provide to you regarding pricing, its always good to get a really good understanding of exactly how images will be dealt with.
Will they be in an online gallery or mailed in a USB? Will you receive the digital negatives or do they offer print sales? If you do get the digitals will you be able to make prints yourself?
All of these are great questions to ask so you can get a full and complete understanding of where your images will be, for how long and how you will get them to have forever.
3 // How are you different from other photographers?
Another great question that should get you a great understanding of how the photographer views their business and the clients that they serve. Being able to verbalize what makes you different from the rest is something that only comes with some thought put into it.
Personally, I prefer this question over "how long have you been in business, or how many weddings have you shot?" because neither of those answers will tell you HOW that photographer views their own business and customer service. Getting a good picture of how they choose to take care of YOU on your day should always trump any sort of arbitrary number that doesn't necessarily communicate anything else.
4 // What is your backup plan in case you can't be at the wedding?
This should absolutely be addressed in every photographer's contract, but knowing the information sooner than later is never a bad thing. Photographers are people and things happen to people all the time. Your wedding date takes place on a very specific day and time and if a life event occurs and the photographer is not able to make it to the wedding, you need to know their back up plan to get you taken care of. I know for myself, as a bride, this was one of my main concerns with all of my personal vendors because if someone doesn't show up, it can have a huge impact on the day. I think this is a a great question to ask off the bat so you can get a good understanding of how the photographer might deal with this situation!