I was meeting with a couple recently and after my usual spiel, I asked if they had any questions. Drew, the groom-to-be said, "What SHOULD we be asking you?" Dang dude. That is the best question I've ever been asked in a pre-wedding meeting.
I sort of stumbled through my response: “You should ask me about my gear.” “You should ask me how long I’ve been doing this.” Blah blah blah.
Here’s the thing. You don’t really care about gear. If you have seen their images and you like them, does it matter what they took them with? And (hate to break it to us high and mighty industry veterans) it doesn’t matter how long a photographer been shooting if someone has seen at least a couple weddings the photographer has shot and (again) likes the images. Sometimes a newbie photographer comes on the scene and KILLS IT.
So, I took some time to put together a list of questions that matter:
1. How do you get to know your clients?
I have found that people like photography that captures true emotion. That kind of authenticity requires connection. It is a conscious choice to be real in front of your photographer. Frankly, if you do not feel comfortable with your photographer, letting them into your space is nearly impossible.
2. How will you direct us for photos?
“Say cheese!” can die. The “prom pose” can also die. If you are looking for something different, ask the photographer how they achieve it. For us, we often play music and lead couples through feelings rather than poses. If creates more natural and genuine moments.
3. How would you describe your editing style?
A ton of photographers (us included) have things called “presets” which are kind of like way more nuanced Instagram filters that we use in our professional editing software. The way a photographer edits images is their artistic fingerprint. We edit vibrant and clean, but there are people who love the moody film look or vintage yellow thing. Know what you are getting. You will have the images forever, and trends come and go.
The best way to ask these questions is in person. If you live super far away, skype. Do your best to see their face and hear their voice. Communicating only through email is just too impersonal for a person who will be with you almost every second of your wedding day. It’s a big deal.
Shout out to Drew for asking me the best question of all. I think it’s going to help people be smart while navigating an intense planning process. You’re a good dude, and I’m glad you ultimately choose me to be your wedding photographer.