First let me just extend a big congratulations on your recent engagement! I'm sure it was a beautiful surprise filled with laughter, tears and lot's of love! Now let's get to the wedding planning.
We are super excited to be able to share some insights that will help you plan your wedding better and take some of the guesswork out of your wedding photography research. In this installment we will be covering: Questions to Ask Your Photographer.
Planning your dream wedding can be an overwhelming task. From finding a venue to booking your dj, many meetings, decisions and lists have to be made and finding a photographer seems like a mountain of task all by itself. Our hope is that by reading these articles you will be better equipped to check some items off your list with confidence.
So let's begin by looking at 5 important questions you should have on your list when interviewing your wedding photographer.
#5: Do you have insurance?
All professional photographers should carry insurance. Most reputable venues will require it and you should too. Insurance is meant to protect you and the photographer should an accident occur at your ceremony or reception. This type of insurance is called Liability Insurance and most venues will require at least up to $1,000,000 of coverage. If a photographer does not have insurance, it does not make them a bad photographer, just a bad business person. As an example we carry up to $2,000,000 of Liability Insurance and we are also covered by an Indemnification Trust provided by the Professional Photographers of America - this is additional coverage which covers data recovery, equipment and other items. We do this to protect our business but also because we care about you and your wedding day. Should anything go wrong (and we hope nothing does) you should feel confident that your photographer is fully covered which is why this should be one of your questions.
#4: What kind of equipment do you use?
The type of camera a photographer uses says a lot about how serious they are about documenting weddings. While a good photographer can use entry-level cameras and lenses to capture beautiful images, it is unlikely he/she is not a very serious photographer if they are not investing in their craft by acquiring better gear. Crafting quality images that can be used in wedding albums and large signature wall art requires equipment that is high-quality, durable and can deliver results in the various complex lighting scenarios found at most weddings. For example we use full-frame camera bodies and professional quality lenses which can perform very well in bright or low light. We also carry backup camera bodies, flashes and lenses. Some photographers will tell you that gear does not matter but that simply is not true. It may not matter if they are a hobbyist without much on the line but it does matter because it is the most important day of your life - your wedding day.
#3: Will you be photographing my wedding?
This seems kind of obvious right? But it's important that the photographer you are interested in is the same person covering the most important day of your life. You should ask this because sometimes photographers use second shooters or assistants or in rare cases overbook the same day and end up having to send less experienced photographers to document a wedding. Each photographer has a different style and approach and you want to make sure that you are getting what you paid for.
#2: How long does it take to receive our images?
Who doesn’t want to see that funny picture of the bridesmaids or the amazing first look picture under the tree as soon as they can? It’s only natural to want to see them all right away. If a photographer can't tell you with somewhat precision when you will get your final images that should be a big red flag that they have not documented enough weddings. You want a photographer that specializes in wedding photography because this means they will have documented enough weddings to understand how long images will take to process, retouch and prepare for print and the web. For example we promise our brides that we will have previews of select images sent to them within 24-48 hours of their reception. Most times we are so excited we will do what is called a Same-Day-Edit so you can see some images as you board your plane to head to your romantic honeymoon. We also have a delivery date in our contract for the digital images and for the final heirloom album. Those are all spelled out clearly because we know how long each will take based on the size of your wedding and time of year we are photographing it.
#1 How much do you charge and what's included?
This is probably the most important question for most couples because they are all working with budgets for so many other items. Your photographer should have very specific details about what they will be providing you on and after your wedding day with pricing to match. When you leave your initial consultation you and your fiance should know exactly how much you will have to pay for each collection, what is included in that collection and what type of deposit or retainer is required to book the photographer. If your photographer cannot provide these details this is a huge red flag and we recommend you not book with that photographer regardless of how beautiful his or her images appear. For example we provide all of our prospective couples with a Wedding Information and Pricing guide that shows our collections, prices, what's included, what to expect before, during and after the wedding and more. This is all provided as a pdf and online link to make it easy to read and digest. When we formulate our contracts we use the exact same verbiage and details as our pricing guide to describe what the couple will be receiving and how much they will be paying. If your photographer provides you with anything less, that should send up some red flags as well.
Of course there are many more questions you could ask but these are some of the top questions you should have on your list as you interview prospective photographers.
We trust this article was helpful and insightful. If you have any other questions feel free to contact us.
In the next post we will be discussing how you should prepare for your Wedding Images.