You have been planning for this day for the past few months. Your wedding gown looks exquisite and your whole bridal party looks like it was picked straight from a catalogue sent from heaven. The decor team has done an outstanding job and even as the ceremony takes place you are sure that people will be talking about your wedding for the next couple of months. You feel like you have it all, your dream guy, your perfect wedding and as you dance the day away you are sure that nothing can dampen this awesome mood.
Fast forward to a month after your wedding, you have just arrived from your fabulous honeymoon and are settling down in your new home. As you redecorate your house together as a couple, you feel that some of your wedding shots should be gracing your walls but you have not heard a peep from your wedding photographer. You try calling him up but his phone is always busy or off. You visit his offices and you are told that the guy moved offices a couple of days ago and he did not leave his new address.
You can feel yourself panicking but you calm yourself down and continue hunting for the guy through the sources that introduced you to him. When you finally get a hold of him, he remorsefully tells you that his shooting interns bungled up your photos and that the few that can be salvaged are not worth the effort. You can slowly feel your world crashing around you. Were all your efforts at creating a perfect wedding in vain? You now have no evidence of one of the most memorable days in your life! The cheeky photographer even goes on to a point of suggesting that you and your bridal party can dress up and stage a mock wedding and have a photoshoot done!! ‘WHAT??’ You scream at him as you walk out in an attempt to avoid being a murderer.
This is one of the issues that can arise from getting a wedding photographer who is not fully qualified. So how do you avoid this kind of scenario and get yourself the best photographer for your wedding? Here are some questions that you should ask your wedding photographer before you make your decision.
- Do you have my date available? NOTE: Obviously, if the answer is NO and you’re not willing or able to change your date, don’t bother asking the rest of these questions.
- How far in advance do I need to book with you?
- How long have you been in business?
- How many weddings have you shot? Have you done many that were similar to mine in size and style?
- How would you describe your photography style (e.g. traditional, photojournalistic, creative)? NOTE: It’s helpful to know the differences between wedding photography styles so that you can discuss your preferences with your photographer.
- How would you describe your working style? NOTE: The answer should help you determine whether this is a photographer who blends into the background and shoots what unfolds naturally, or creates a more visible presence by taking charge and choreographing shots.
- What do you think distinguishes your work from that of other photographers?
- Do you have a portfolio I can review? Are all of the images yours, and is the work recent?
- What type of equipment do you use?
- Are you shooting in digital or film format or both?
- Do you shoot in color and black & white? Infrared? NOTE: Photographers who shoot in a digital format can make black & white or sepia versions of color photos.
- Can I give you a list of specific shots we would like?
- Can you put together a slideshow of the engagement session (along with other photos the couple provides) and show it during the cocktail hour? What about an “instant” slideshow of the ceremony?
- What information do you need from me before the wedding day?
- May I have a list of references? NOTE: The photographer should not hesitate to provide this.
- Are you the photographer who will shoot my wedding? If so, will you have any assistants with you on that day? If not, who will be taking the pictures and can I meet them before my wedding? NOTE: You should ask the questions on this list of whoever is going to be the primary photographer at your event, and that photographer’s name should be on your contract.
- Do you have backup equipment? What about a backup plan if you (or my scheduled photographer) are unable to shoot my wedding for some reason?
- If my wedding site is out of your area, do you charge a travel fee and what does that cover?
- How will you (and your assistants) be dressed? NOTE: The photographer and his/her staff should look professional and fit in with the style of your event.
- Is it okay if other people take photos while you’re taking photos?
- Have you ever worked at my wedding site before? If not, do you plan to check it out in advance? NOTE: Photographers who familiarize themselves with a location ahead of time will be prepared for any lighting issues or restrictions, and will know how best to incorporate the site’s architectural elements into the photos.
- What time will you arrive at the site and for how long will you shoot?
- If my event lasts longer than expected, will you stay? Is there an additional charge?
Packages, Proofs and Prints
- What packages do you offer?
- Can you customize a package based on my needs?
- Do you include engagement photos in your packages?
- What type of album designs do you offer? Do you provide any assistance in creating an album?
- Do you provide retouching, color adjustment or other corrective services?
- How long after the wedding will I get the proofs? Will they be viewable online? On a CD?
- How long after I order my photos/album will I get them?
- Will you give me the negatives or the digital images, and is there a fee for that?
Contracts and Policies
- When will I receive a written contract? TIP: Don’t book a photographer—or any vendor—who won’t provide a written contract.
- How much of a deposit do you require and when is it due? Do you offer a payment plan?
- What is your refund/cancellation policy?
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- Do I feel a connection with this photographer as well as his/her photos? Are our personalities a good match?
- Am I comfortable with this person’s work and communication style?
- Has this photographer listened well and addressed all my concerns?
My best advice to you is let the photographer who is shooting at your wedding be the same one to do your engagement shoot. This will help you see the kind of work that they do and you can make any changes that you want before the big day arrives.
P.S. Sorry for the long post.
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