Choosing your wedding or elopement photographer is a BIG task and one that is often so challenging! When I went through the wedding planning process, I felt overwhelmed with each task and vendor and didn’t know the right questions to ask. How could I possibly be an expert in every area and know what to ask these important people to know who would be the best for my unique day? Over the years I have had the privilege to work with so many couples and this list of questions is a great starting point to get to know what your photographer can do and if they could be a good fit for you on your special day.
1. What is your experience shooting weddings? How many weddings do you shoot a year?
This is a great two-part question that is important! You want to know that you are choosing someone with experience related to photographing weddings AND that they will not treat you like a number in the hundreds and can really take the time needed to get to know you and your partner. For me, I started in this industry about 4 years ago now and I have done dozens of weddings and elopements plus have had the privilege of shooting hundreds of couple and family sessions that help to make me confident in what a do and what I can offer to my future clients. In addition to paid work, I also seek out creative work to showcase and hone my skills. In addition to experience, I would also ask how many weddings they take on in one year typically- I personally only take on 12 or less each year to make sure I don’t burn out and I am available to serve all the couples who I book to the fullest. Collaboration and high-quality product takes time and does require a bit more investment, but I invest in each of my couples as much as they invest in me!
2. What is your approach to capturing candid moments vs. posed shots?
Every wedding day is going to be made up of posed and candid shot opportunities and you want to make sure that your photographer can do both skillfully and deliver exactly what you hope in the gallery. If one versus the other is more important to you then really listen to how they answer! It is also important that you communicate your dream gallery so that whomever you hire has a clear picture of what you are looking for at the end of the process. For me, I am an observer first and foremost and love getting the chance to capture the true and authentically candid moments of your day as they unfold. I am also a former educator and can engage a room or large group of people to capture all the posed photos you desire. I will work closely with my couples to get all the combinations of posed shots and offer ideas and do my research to find exactly what will work with your design aesthetics the best.
3. What is your photography and editing style?
Hopefully, you have found your photographer prospects from a visual image search and done your homework to look through their social media and website portfolios before you reach out, but it doesn’t hurt to ask a little more about their style to make sure it aligns with what you are hoping to receive in your gallery. You are not a photography expert, and it is easy to get confused about the terms and nuances to style. Some common phrases are below to help you talk confidently and be able to narrow down a little more detail about what you like: Light and Airy, dark and moody, natural/true to life, warm, editorial, traditional, and photojournalistic. I would say that I tend to be a natural, true-to-life photographer who tends to edit warmer and vintage. I shoot with a photojournalistic mindset but offer some prompts as needed (and lots of encouragement!) to keep us moving and flowing.
4. Do you offer any additional services, such as engagement sessions or photo albums?
It is hard to compare apples to oranges! One photographer may be WAY cheaper, but they don’t have the experience or skills you desire. Another may have limited items in their package that is included, so you think you are getting a great deal only to learn that the service and products are lacking. This is an important question to be certain you are getting everything you desire from your wedding photographer. I think I am unique in that I offer a completely customizable photography package for each of my clients. It can include just your hours of coverage and digital images at the basic level all the way up to drone footage, analog film photos, prints and albums. I even have a 1971 VW Bus you can add on as a photo prop for your celebration! The one thing that always comes with any of my packages is a high level of SERVICE. I take time to build our relationship and offer support and guidance from booking all the way to gallery delivery and beyond! I believe that when I get to know my clients, we can start to create those true to life images of exactly what matters most to you. All of that takes time, but I promise the results we get when we are connected is AMAZING!
5. What equipment do you use, and will you have backups?
This sounds like a no-brainer- you are hiring a professional so they should have what they need to shoot your wedding. But I have heard some scary stories of photographers who shoot on one camera and one SD card and something goes wrong. Either the camera malfunctions or the images are lost forever and there is nothing you can do to fix that situation after your day. While I always like to say that the camera doesn’t take the photo because the artist behind is looking for the angles, documenting what they see, and editing in a style that showcases your day. But it is necessary to have proper cameras and backups in case technology fails. I also always shoot weddings and elopements on two cameras with two SD cards in each so that I already have a backup as I take your photos and if one camera fails I have another (plus I love to use more than one lens to get a better variety). If I am shooting film for you, I also bring multiple cameras and have tons of extra rolls perfect for all lighting conditions, so I am prepared. When photographers are just starting out, they do not have all the right equipment because it costs a lot to build up your cameras and lenses, so if you feel your photographer is new, please ask them what they will bring with them that day to ensure your memories are safe.
There are many other questions to ask your photographer before booking, but these 5 questions are a great place to start to get an overview of what your wedding or elopement photographer can do for you and to make sure you are aligned with your vision. What other questions do you think are important to ask your wedding or elopement photographer? Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to chat or send me an inquiry on my website here to learn more about how I can serve you!