Weddings are the ultimate social event, they are extremely complex and they are not forgiving when it comes to photography. From the tremendous logistics to the mixed emotions, everything is risky, and all the people must work together at their best, like the finest tuned clockwork for the wedding to be a success. We as wedding photographers have a high level of pressure on our shoulders and having good communication and intelligent planning, result in amazing memories that will last forever. Both parties can do an excellent job prior the wedding, and even when clients put their trust on wedding planners, it is extremely important that for this special element of the wedding, they get holistically involved as well.The wedding photography market behaves like many other services market. There are extremely good suppliers and there are others that are just not the right choice for a wedding. This market behavior results in an overwhelming yet still growing offer of wedding photographers to pick. Due to this dynamics, many photographers have decided to specialize themselves in small branches that center on engagement pictures, bridal portraits, and trash the dress sessions. The following list’s aim is to give you some questions that will help you narrow the flood of wedding photography options.
1. Ask for a self-definition of their style
Ok, this one is the first question, or it should be one of the first questions you should ask any potential wedding photographer because it works like a very effective quality filter. The reason for this is because a solid statement defining a style is a key indicator of a truly committed and serious photographer. The statement should not be written in stone, but it should be for sure something that they can express with confidence. If you see that the photographer starts mumbling and just improvising stuff, you may need to be aware of them. I’m not saying that if a photographer doesn’t have a solid expression of their style is a sign that they are poor in quality, but it would be more likely that they will deliver a non-consistent work, and you’ll have a lot of random shots that will not tell the wedding story in the most pleasant way.
2. Ask to see a complete wedding after watching the portfolio
Portfolios are an important asset of any creative, but when it comes to Wedding Photography, you should ask the photographer that is trying to provide their service to you to see a complete wedding as well as the portfolio. The reason behind this request is that by doing so, you’ll get a better glimpse of the way they treat an average wedding. A portfolio may just show one or two images of each wedding, and here you’ll get a broader view of a complete wedding. From engagement sessions to the big day, you’ll find a rich story with a complete wedding photo album.
3. Anything could go wrong, what is your backup plan?
Chances are low but, hey, we need to be realistic, anything could go wrong, so it is important to have a solid contingency plan from your photographer. Ask them about the backup plan at all levels, from medical emergencies that will lead the main photographer or even photographers to have themselves being covered at the big day, to data accidental loss. Don’t be afraid to ask them about their backup plan, but be afraid if they are not afraid of something going wrong and taking chances for granted.
4. Our venue is special, do you have any experience working in a place like this? How would you approach it?
Locations and daytimes have a strong influence on the quality of light. Every photographer is expected to know how to deal with any light situation, but as the first question, asking this could tell you about the real experience of the photographer. It doesn’t matter if you understand about photography, make sure to pay strong attention to the way the photographer answers this question. It is definitely not the same to shoot a wedding at daytime versus a wedding happening at night. It is also not the same in terms of light control to shoot a wedding at the outdoors than in a closed environment. Make sure to ask for images done at places similar to yours. It is likely that the wedding photographer has not ever shot a wedding at your special and symbolic location, but is highly likely that he or she has done some work at a similar venue.
5. Do you work with a staff of people or do you work alone?
Shooting a wedding requires a huge level of attention to special moments happening simultaneously. Personally, I think that is just madness to think that I’ll cover an entire wedding on my own. It is just crazy to think of. Working with a passionate crew is crucial to the success of the wedding. More eyes raise up the chances of capturing more meaningful moments happening around the wedding, beautiful things occurring in the crowds. Ask the photographer that is with you at the meeting if he or she works with a staff, and also ask them about the importance of having a crew instead of working alone. It is a good exercise to give credit to our staff partners.
6. How do you define the number of delivered images?
It all comes to this, the final delivery, the handover of the photographs, photo albums, prints and other related material a wedding photographer is willing to give. Many of these have a limited amount of pieces or units. For example, a wedding photographer delivers 400 digital files, 15 prints, 2 large prints, one printed photo album, etc.; for $x.xx price. There is not a standard when it comes to the quantity of material you’ll receive, and is usually related to a price tag. And it’s very odd when you don’t know how many of these you’ll receive, and the clients end up with a very short amount of stuff of their beloved day. I’ve known people that have had a bad experience because they were so excited, that they forgot to ask about the deliverables, so is important that you ask about the way or method a photographer defines the amount of material they are going to deliver. Be cautious when a photographer tells you a high number of images, like 1500 digital files(except when the wedding is 10 to 14 hours), because it will be very likely that he or she will do a poor selection of the material. It is just hard to achieve 1500 incredible images that could tell the loving story of a wedding.
7. Are you open to working with ideas for the engagement session?
Thanks to the Internet we are all available to access an endless stream of resources and references to craft infinite options of ideas. You are free to ask any wedding photographer about if they consider your own ideas for the engagement session. Passionate photographers will help you polish those ideas to make them shine, and run away from any photographer that refuses to do this. Come on, you are the client, you are not participating in a concept of the photographer, so if he or she is not willing to hear your ideas, back off.
8. On average, how many days does it take you to deliver the final images?
This is another valid question, and as many of the above, it will give you a better clue of the wedding photographer’s workflow. Be aware of super-fast deliveries, and also get away from long waiting.
9. Do you have a contract we can rely on?
When everything is formally written and signed, the chances of bad experiences get shorter. Ask about:
- Usage of the images
- Equipment to be on the actual day of the wedding
- Number and name of the people on staff
10. We are working on a budget, what can you offer for this amount?
The complex question, the question about money. It is likely that you’ll encounter with many photographers that will not give you a standard price right away, as well as some packages. Ask for a custom offer, and ask your photographer to be sincere, and to offer something that will fit your budget.
He currently also runs a wedding photography blog.