WELL HI FRIENDS.
I get a lot of questions from friends who've gotten married about the photography life and choosing a photographer. I hear horror stories from people who thought they were getting one thing and then ended up receiving another. Stories from same-sex couples who assumed their photographer knew how to pose them and ended up making them feel awkward the entire time. All sorts of stories and questions about how they could have known better.
So what should a couple look for when inquiring with photographers? Here's a list of 3 questions that, as a fellow wedding professional, I think are some of the most important questions to ask a photographer.
QUESTION: Do you have a recent gallery of a wedding that is anything like mine that I could see?
Ask for a link to a recent wedding that is similar to yours. I say recent because a lot of photographers have a favorite wedding that they like to send couples. You know the one-- the weather was ideal. The couple was #couplegoals. The venue was incredible and the bridal party picture-perfect. Portraits are a-plenty and the lighting set up for the reception was straight fire. BUT for most of us, this ideal wedding isn't always our typical work. It's the pinnacle of our work. So ask for a recent gallery to see how we're shooting this year, AND it'll give you an idea of what your gallery might look like.
WHAT I LIKE TO DO: Send the last full wedding gallery I delivered that has the same timeframe as yours. If you're booking a 6 hour wedding day, I am going to send you the most recent one I did that was also 6 hours. This way you can see how many photos I delivered, the way we got things done, and if there was anything we didn't get in that timeframe that you want captured at your own wedding. For same sex couples, I like to send same-sex galleries. This way you know what you're getting into when it comes to my posing and interactions with couples who are just like you.
QUESTION: Will your second shooter be with us the entire wedding day?
Ask about their second shooter. Is the second there for a full day? What does a full day mean for the main photographer? Does the lead photographer send the second shooter home during your reception? Does the lead photographer leave and assign their second shooter to finish shooting your reception? These are all situations that I have been in as a second shooter, and as a consumer paying a LOT OF MONEY for photography, you should know exactly what your coverage looks like. If you have a second shooter in your coverage, chances are you're paying $400-500 extra for that service and sending the second shooter home early doesn't change what you're paying. In fact, it probably only changes what the second shooter is being paid (which is never enough. Photographers take note-- pay your second shooters WHAT THEY'RE WORTH)
WHAT I LIKE TO DO: I typically keep my second shooter the entire day, however you may not see them shooting the entire time. Do I need 750 images of people dancing at your reception? Probably not. Do I want my second to experience with cool shutter drag and crystals while you're dancing? Totally! But not the entire time. If your package includes a second shooter and you're paying for that shooter to be there, you can assume that they will also be hugging you goodbye when we both leave at the end of your coverage. In the event that I send a second shooter home early, it is either because you and I agreed on a partial day second shooter, there is a family emergency, or because we've chatted and you're cool with them peacing out. At no time will I leave a second shooter at your wedding and I myself leave your wedding day.
QUESTION: Where can I find my full contract?
READ YOUR CONTRACT + ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT ANYTHING YOU MIGHT NOT UNDERSTAND. Know whether or not you get any refund if the photographer loses your entire wedding gallery. Absolutely know what happens if your photographer contracts COVID the week before your wedding and can't be there. KNOW YOUR CONTRACT.
WHAT I LIKE TO DO: Go over the contract with couples during our booking meeting. Whether on the phone or in person, I find it is VERY HELPFUL to itemize my contract with couples, explaining things as I go and making sure that it is airtight every time. This way, you can ask questions as we go. I've had things struck from the contract with clients during these meetings. I've had things added to contracts. I've even had fellow business owner couples tell me that my contract is wonderful! A photographer who knows their contract is a super important thing--- there are too many of us who run our own businesses yet don't really know what our contracts are saying. Ask us questions!
What kinds of questions did you ask your photographer? What kinds of information did your photographer go over with you when you first reached out? Did you feel like they knew their business or were just trying to get yours? And, did you feel like you had a good grasp on what you were signing up for with your photographer? Add your own questions below and maybe we'll do an updated post next month answering some of those questions, too!