50 years from now, you will reminisce upon your wedding, paging through your photo album with pride and gratitude for having first pulled off a memorable wedding, then a lifetime of happiness. Selecting the team who pieces your day together in the form of photographs is a vital part of preserving that moment in your life, and luckily, with a few considerations, it isn’t too tough a task to find a team perfect for you.
1. Just the facts, ma’am. What’s this really going to cost me?
Once you’ve narrowed down your area photographers by style and personality, let’s talk budget. Have your potential artist clearly define their fees and what is included, because hidden charges will get ya every time. Some key details to address before signing on the dotted line:
- How many hours are included with this price?
- What if we celebrate into overtime? Are you firm on your end time?
- Are there additional travel fees if we’re marrying out of the area?
- Often times engagement shoots are included. Is this the case with you?
- Is there an additional fee for assistant photographers? In the industry these are known as “second shooters.”
- Will we receive a file of all images? Are any prints included?
- Are you able to put together a wedding album and if so, what are the additional costs?
2. Let’s talk experience.
Nothing sells your photographer like past experience, so don’t be afraid to ask about their career history, how long they have been in the biz, and even a time when a wedding didn’t go as planned. How did they handle that? Having an honest conversation with a previous client, addressing with the photographer any less than stellar reviews, and getting a count of weddings he or she has captured will go a long way toward feeling some confidence in hiring them.
When in doubt, ask to see a complete wedding album, not just the photographer’s selected favorites. Knowing previous couples came away with a wide range of great images to compile, instead of a small handful of lucky gems, will illustrate your potential photographer’s skills.
3. I’m getting married today. What can I expect?
Generally quite a bit of time passes between booking your photographer and your wedding day. A lot can happen. Weather, illness, and personal family issues can affect their performance the day of, so it is okay to ask about contingency plans in the event of any unforeseen disasters.
- Will a contract be provided?
- Are you insured? If so, what for?
- Is there a back-up plan should my original photographer fall ill?
Understanding how they have prepared for all the what-ifs ensures the time between booking and marrying is secure, and you need not worry about them yourself.
Additionally, providing in advance a tentative timeline, discussing guest count, and formality or informality of the wedding helps your photographer know when to arrive, what type of equipment to bring along, and how to dress. If they aren’t able to provide your needed services or insist on wearing overalls, they might not be the photographer for you.
4. Party’s over. Now what?
Your wedding ends, you are living blissfully with the spouse of your dreamiest dreams, and all that exists so far is a blurry and unflattering photo your aunt posted of you inhaling a mouthful of cake. When are the good ones coming back already?! Avoid this panic by setting clear expectations in advance of when you will be receiving your images. Depending on workload, initial images can be provided anywhere between two and nine weeks. If you are employing them for portrait and album services, additional time will be needed for image selection and editing.
It is also necessary in this digital age to know in advance who will hold the rights to your photographs, whether a complete file with the original images will be provided, and how freely you are able to share them yourself. Communicate clearly from the start, set clear expectations, and all that’s left for you to do is smile and pop a leg.
To see a full list of photography questions to ask you photographer, download the guide below.