Last week I talked about how to find a professional wedding photographer, this week I have listed the major questions you’ll want to ask the photographer when you meet with them. Make sure you speak with the wedding photographer who will be taking the pictures, not an assistant or business owner. You’ll want to know if you feel comfortable with and trust the person who will be taking the pictures on your wedding day.
1) Obviously you’ll want to know if they’re available to shoot your wedding on the date you’ve chosen. If they’re not available, you can do one of two things, change your wedding date to a day that the photographer is available, or ask the photographer to give you a reference.
Don’t feel awkward asking about another photographer, getting the professional opinion of one photographer on another is probably the best advice you’ll get on this matter.
2) Ask if the photographer can work with your budget. Be upfront about your photography budget and ask about the services they can provide. Some photographers will be willing to amend their prices, or give you a deal depending on your expectations for your money.
Don’t choose the cheapest photographer you can afford so you can free up money for something else. It’s better for you to have photos stored in an envelope waiting to be placed in a book, rather than have pictures you can’t stand. Remember you can’t reshoot your wedding photos.
3) Ask how many weddings they’ve worked and about their customer’s satisfaction. You’ll want to know if they’re a seasoned professional or just getting started. I’m not saying someone who’s starting out won’t be good, but you’ll know going in the type of experience they have. Also by asking about customer satisfaction you’ll get a feeling for how well the photographer works with their clients. And that’s most important!
4) This is the best time in the conversation for you to find out about the photographer’s style. There are three types of wedding photography, traditional, creative and photojournalistic. If you find a photographer who is adept at all three, then you’ve definitely found someone who is agile and knows their craft.
The difference in the styles can be deliberate or preferred. A traditionalist will be the type of photographer who has poses in mind and will position you, the wedding party and your family in order to take orderly photos. A creative photographer will play with colour and light, and use multiple lenses to craft beautiful and creative photographs. Photojournalistic is where the photographer blends in with the guests and takes pictures from a bird’s eye view to capture spontaneous memories of your wedding day.
5) This is a two-part question, first ask about the camera equipment, does the photographer work with an SLR or a 30mm camera. Secondly, ask about the proofs, what is their proof package and how is it presented to you. If the photographer only works in film, you should probably keep looking for a photographer. Anyone who isn’t willing to learn new technologies or techniques in their industry isn’t dedicated to their craft.
Have you heard about ‘Shoot and Burn’ packages? You may not like these at all, this is where the photographer sends you an unedited copy of your pictures, so there won’t be any touch ups or colour fixes, which means the photos are raw and less likely to impress you.
Instead, ask about the wait time for an edited copy of pictures with the photographer’s watermark complete with touch ups and different photo finishes, ie sepia tones, black and white, or infrared.
6) Lastly, ask if you can give the photographer a list of photographs you want and if they allow other guests to photograph as well. This question answers your question about their friendliness and professionalism. Most professional photographers will take your wants and needs into consideration and won’t feel threatened by guests taking pictures as well.
If the photographer says no, then ask them why not. After all it’s a service you’re paying for so you might as well get all the information you can to help you decide if this person is the right fit for the job.
You might have other questions you want to ask as well, so go ahead and ask, but be sure to track the information you get, otherwise you might feel pressure to book a photographer based on their availability and not on whether they feel right for your wedding.
Knowledge is power, so be sure to be knowledgeable when you talk to photographers, or you might wind up getting surprised when your pictures come in.
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