We met up with wedding photographer, Laura Farmer from Freeform Images, who has come up with a great set of questions to ask your potential wedding photographer!
Choosing between photographers is so difficult – there are lots of talented ones out there as you’ll have seen right here on WeddingVenues.com – but it’s not about who is “in” or popular! In the words of McFly: “It’s all about you”; and much like your dress and the Groom, it’s the feeling you get from them when you look at their work!
If you haven’t found your photographer yet, if you’re undecided, or even if you’ve booked yours already – we know you’ll find Laura’s guide really useful.
1. How far in advance do I need to book with you?
It’s never too early! It is best to book in and strike a relationship with your photographer. This is a really personal thing, and only you can make this decision. Don’t just pick someone who’ll rock up on the day. I have bookings for 2020 already and have plans in place to meet, and to shoot pre-wedding engagement photos.
2. How long have you been in business?
You want to be able to see a good portfolio and a wide range of photography from someone who’s experienced. However just because someone is new, it doesn’t automatically mean that they are no good – in fact they might be astounding and even offer you cheaper rates!
3. How many weddings have you shot? Have you done many that were similar to mine in size and style?
This is a great question to see how your photographer has engaged themselves in to a similar situation. Remember though its quality not quantity.
4. How would you describe your photography style (e.g. traditional, photojournalistic, creative)?
A helpful question to find out more about the photographer, their style, and if it will work for your wedding. You will be able to get a feel from their portfolio, but they should be able to talk passionately about their work too.
5. How would you describe your working style?
An important one to ask – you need them to be in the “zone” and playing to their strengths, not trying something new on your big day. It may be that the photographer likes to blend into the background to document your day as it unfolds, or they may want to get more involved to get “that shot” by choreographing you and your guests.
6. What do you think distinguishes your work from that of other photographers?
Oooh quite a tricky one, but it’s all about whether they can relate to you; or are they just trying to “sell” their product?
7. Can I give you a list of specific shots we would like?
This is VERY important! Remember it’s YOUR day and you are paying them a substantial sum of money – possibly a large chunk of your wedding budget – so make sure they get the shots that you want out of the wedding photography package they are offering.
However, group shots take time to organise! You don’t want to be waiting around for ages after your ceremony. Stick to 8-10 group shots max; then have a moment to yourselves – go for a walk around the grounds with your photographer to get more natural shots of you both.
8. What information do you need from me before the wedding day?
You photographer will need to know your timings for the day (check out our blog on The Perfect Schedule); whether there is a change of venue (e.g ceremony in church then on to a different place for your reception); and whether you have specific shots in mind (see Q7!).
9. Do you have backup equipment?
You need to know that they have a backup plan. Ask them what happens if the camera they are working with fails (which it won’t; but this is every photographer’s worst nightmare!), or if they have a second shooter in mind in case they are ill.
10. If my wedding venue is out of your area, do you charge a travel fee, if so what does that cover?
It is always necessary to ask if they charge mileage on top of their fee, so you don’t have the awkward hidden cost at the end added to your balance.
11. Are you photographing other events on the same day as mine?
The answer to this should be absolutely not! Photographers are not superhuman and being in two places should be impossible! (Repeat McFly lyrics!)
12. Is it okay if other people take photos while you’re taking photos?
This is my pet hate, especially when photos are uploaded on to social media before the couple have even said “I do”! But all of your relatives and friends want to celebrate with you and taking photos is part of that; they’re making memories too. I would simply ask your guests to refrain during the ceremony and the wedding breakfast.
13. Have you ever worked at my wedding venue before?
They may know your venue really well and all the best spots for some stunning photography. If not, find out if they plan to check it out in advance. Also, it’s best to meet with your photographer at your venue as you can discuss a plan B for inclement weather.
14. What time will you arrive and for how long will you shoot? If my event lasts longer than expected, will you stay? Is there an additional charge?
Some photographers do half day or full day shoots, so it’s best to ask. You may not want them to be there all day. Some photographers will say – like me – unlimited photography all day up to a certain point (like the cake cutting or your first dance) and then after that there’ll be an additional charge. Make sure this is clear as you don’t want to be charged for anything extra.
15. How long after I order my photos/album will I get them? Do you charge for additional prints and digital images?
Sometimes this question is like the old “how long is a piece of string?” but to be clear I always say 4-6 weeks, depending on whether you’re having a bespoke album and what their workload is at the time. Charging for additional prints is normal, but are they then going to sell you digital images too? It may work out better to get the digital images and print yourself. You own the rights then and can print as many off as you like.
16. How much of a deposit do you require and when is it due? Do you offer a payment plan?
This is important as you can plan your budget and spread your costs, especially if you have your heart set on their work.
17. Do you have liability insurance?
Most professional photographers do. It is essential that, in the event of something major happening, you can rest assured that you and the photographer are covered. Always read the Ts & Cs of your contract and check any policies that your photographer holds.
18. Finally – one to ask yourself about the photographer: Do you have a connection?
Remember they are there to photograph your intimate side – especially when you’re getting ready. They’ll be with you all day on the most incredible day of your life. It is essential that they understand your vision and that they put you at ease! No connection; no deal!
Do you think Laura has the essential questions covered? Let us know if there’s anything we’ve missed. Are you a newlywed who has any advice for couples in the process of choosing a photographer? Tweet us @WedVen using #weddingphotography
All Photos by Freeform Images unless otherwise stated.