There’s no denying that your wedding pictures are just as important as every other aspect of your big day. When it comes to capturing all those precious magical moments and preserving them the questions is: How do you make them picture perfect? Well, whether you already have a photographer in mind, or whether you’re still interviewing, we’ve got the top 5 topics to cover to help you get the best professional who will take the best photos for your best day: Your wedding!
Probably the most important thing you need to do when looking for a photographer is to meet in person. You can get a general idea over the phone, but until you sit down face to face, you won’t know exactly what he or she can and will do for you.
So set that meeting and then take this list—more like a checklist, really—and write down the answers for every single photographer you meet with so that you can compare notes later on and choose the perfect pro for your wedding.
Topic #1: Personal Availability
When you first meet, shake hands, sit down, tell the photographer your wedding date, and if you get a firm “Yes, I’m available!” then it’s time to dig into the nitty-gritty with these questions:
- Do you have any other weddings on the same day?
- Do you have any other weddings in the same week?
- Will you bring any additional assistants?
- Will you personally shoot our wedding?
- If not, who will?
- If someone else will do the job, when can we meet this person?
- If someone else, can we see his or her portfolio work?
Whether this photographer will do the work personally, or whether a partner or someone else will do the job, ask to see no less than three portfolios of other couples’ weddings as well as any untouched proofs he or she has in the studio. Then you can gauge the quality for yourself.
The reason you need to know how many assistants will come along is for your vendor food headcount. You have to provide something for everyone to eat and if your photographer is bringing 1 or 2 assistants, you need to plan for 1 or 2 more vendor meals.
Topic #2: Background in the Business
Tell the photographer the general style and feel of your wedding then ask what essentially amounts to a layman’s version of a background check.
- How long have you been a photographer?
- Where did you get your training?
- How long have you been doing weddings?
- How many weddings have you covered?
- How many weddings have you covered that are similar in style to ours?
- Have you shot any weddings at our particular ceremony and/or reception venue?
- Do you have any in-house vendors or are you partnered with any outside suppliers—videographer, florist, DJ, etc.?
This last piece of information can be extremely valuable to you for two reasons.
- You’ll be able to ask the other vendors questions about the photographer’s professionalism.
- You just might get a better deal on a package either by bundling services or getting a referral discount.
Topic #3: Personal Photography Style
This is where you get to know the artist behind the lens.
- What would you call your photography style?
- How do you like to work?
- What makes your work distinct from other wedding photographers?
Topic #4: Technical Questions
From the technical end, it would be good to know some details.
- What type of equipment do you use?
- If digital equipment, can we see the photos periodically during the day?
- Also if digital, will the digital images be high resolution?
- Do you shoot only in color, only in black and white, or in a combination of both?
- Are you willing to shoot only our color preference? (for instance, you might not want black and white)
- Do you have a list of standard shots?
- Are you willing to include a list of specific poses we’d like to have?
Topic #5: Packages and Payment Options
Now we come to the vital part, which involves your budget. Every couple wants to get the best bang for their buck, but you don’t want to sacrifice quality.
- What packages do you offer?
- Can we customize a package?
- Are engagement photos included in the package?
- Do you have a photo booth available for the reception?
- Can you do a digital slideshow for the cocktail or dinner hour?
- Can you do same-day video edit?
- Do you offer specific album designs?
- Do you offer retouching, color adjustment or other editing and/or corrective services?
Topic # 6: Money Matters and Timeframe
You definitely need to know all about delivery and payment options before you sign that contract.
- How long before can we see proofs?
- What’s your deposit policy?
- Do you offer a payment plan?
- What’s your refund/cancellation policy?
- Do you have liability insurance?
This last will protect you in case the camera breaks, the image or print processor malfunctions and your prints are damaged, and if so, will he or she rerun the prints at no charge to you.
Also, you might want to ask what happens if you ask for specific shots that aren’t taken, and if the photographer will offer a “do-over” shoot of portrait after the wedding if his or her equipment malfunctions.
Topic #6: Logistics
You’re just about ready to wrap up your questions, but don’t forget these last technical details:
- Will you bring backup equipment?
- Is it okay for other people to take photos as well?
- What time will you arrive at the different sites? (e.g. the bride’s home for getting-ready pictures, the groom and groomsmen portraits, and the ceremony venue for pre-ceremony shots.)
- Is there an upcharge if we run a little late?
- Do you have any travel limitations?
- If so, what’s the upcharge per mile?
- How far in advance do you need to be booked?
- Are there any other details we need to know that we didn’t ask about?
One final note: Communication is the Key!
If for any reason the pro you’re interviewing seems reluctant to answer all of your questions, you might want to choose someone else. Also, if you feel rushed during the interview, take that into consideration.
The more comfortable you feel with your photographer, the better your photos will be. You also want to get a sense that the photographer wants to do your wedding, and maybe even compliments some of your ideas.
Lastly, if either you or your groom don’t feel comfortable with this pro, move on and interview someone else. A big part of getting excellent wedding pictures is feeling “safe” with this person, so make sure you “rank” each photographer on a scale of how comfortable you were in the interview. Then when it comes to the final selection, if you have two photographers that are really close in price but one has a higher “trust rating” than the other, pay the little bit extra.
Because when it comes to wedding photography, trust wins over price every day!