Finding the right photographer for you isn’t all about style. Of course you should like the pictures of the person you hire, but that is just the starting point. At the end of any conversation with a couple who might hire me, I always ask if they have any additional questions. Most of the time, they say that they can’t think of any. I would like to think that is because I did such a good job telling them about me and how I work, but I also think that people can’t ask about what they don’t know. So, here are five questions you absolutely should be asking a wedding photographer before you hire them.
1. Are you insured and do you have back up equipment?
Legitimate photography businesses have insurance. You might be wondering why. Let’s say a guest spills their drink in your photographers wedding bag. Who is liable? Let’s say that your photographers camera is stolen the night before the wedding. How will they afford a new one? What if their gear malfunctions in the middle of your wedding ceremony? Do they have a back up camera? These things should be obvious to a professional, however, there are many photographers out there who take the risk because it’s easier and cheaper. You do not want to be around those people. They value themselves over you.
2. How long have you been shooting weddings, and how did you get started?
Everybody has to start somewhere, but experience is important. There is a lot more that goes into a wedding day other than just taking pictures. The photographer has to know where to be and when to be there. You should work together with them to plan a general schedule for the day, but I’m talking about the split second decision between photographing the bride coming down the aisle or the groom’s expression when he sees her. An experienced wedding photographer will notice things that someone just starting out would not.
3. How many weddings are you hoping to photograph this year?
Some photographers are volume photographers. They (usually) charge less, but they fill up every weekend with work. Depending on how many couples they have, you could be just a number to them. I know a wedding photographer who kept calling the bride by the wrong name on her wedding day, and I was horrified. Ummmmm… couples are paying me their hard earned money and trusting me with one of the most important events of their lives. The least I can do is know who they are. I personally cap the number of in-state weddings I do each year to 15. I do not book more than one wedding in a weekend unless there are special circumstances. It’s a big deal for someone to trust me to be by there side nearly every second of their wedding day, and it is my absolute privilege for which I am super grateful. I need to do my best for them, and that is why I do not overbook myself.
4. How will you be delivering images? Digitals? Prints? Are those included in the package price?
It is very common in 2019 for wedding photographers to deliver images digitally. Sometimes that is on a USB, sometimes that is via online gallery. However, In Person Sales (IPS) are making a comeback. That is when a photographer has you come into a studio and purchase physical products. Often times, those are not included in your package price. Just know exactly what you are paying for so that you can plan accordingly.
5. Is this your full-time job?
There are a ton of wedding photography hobbyists. More power to them! Just know that unless your photographer is working weddings full-time, they will have to prioritize other things before you. It might take you longer to get your images, and you may not receive as much personal attention.
Bonus: Have you ever had an unhappy client? If so, could you describe why they were unhappy and if the issue was resolved?
Oh BOY. I have never had someone ask me this question, but if I were getting married, it would definitely be on my list. You can tell a lot about a person‘s character by the way they respond. It might be uncomfortable, and it might take them a moment to consider, but damn! If you feel good about their answer, you will know that you can fully trust this person.