Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer
Shopping for a wedding photographer is one of the most overwhelming parts when planning a wedding, especially if you’re going about it on your own. Google can be both a boon and a bane because you’ll get pages and pages of results, with no inkling on where to begin.
With that in mind, here’s our quick guide on Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer during your first interview:
Are you good with challenging lighting conditions?
When considering your wedding photographer, the first thing to do is to look at the venue you’ve chosen (and yes, you HAVE to pick your venue before you pick a photographer – or be sure that your photographer is THAT good that you know they’re going to ace it no matter the location – and you’ll see why in a minute).
If you’re having a wedding that’s mostly indoors, it is critical to hire a photographer who’s skilled at what’s known as off-camera flash. While they may decide not to use their flash equipment the whole time (for a more naturally-lit, moody look), having professional flash skills in their back pocket is critical to making well-lit photographs of your indoor wedding.
Ask to see at least two full galleries of indoor weddings from your shortlist of photographers to make sure you are getting what you expect. If you see that most indoor photos are next to a window, or in black-and-white, or a little too orange or noisy/grainy – and that’s not what you’re wanting – you might need to consider someone more adept at indoor lighting.
Alternatively, ask for lighting specialists – companies that rent out equipment for better room lighting. Your photographer can help you shop for one should you not like the flash look for your ceremony or reception lighting.
Another challenging lighting condition is shooting a wedding ceremony mid-day when the sun is still high up. This causes harsh shadows on people’s faces that can be unflattering when there’s no tent or shade.
Again, flash is needed to fix this problem. I know, it sounds strange. Add light to fix too much light? It’s a thing. Check out the photo below.
You’ll see that couple is lit with what’s called “fill-flash”. This is a simple technique most photographers should be familiar with when shooting in harsh sunlight so the scenery isn’t blown out. Magic? No. Physics, friends.
Are you insured?
This gets missed a lot when shopping for a wedding photographer.
Every business should be insured, and the same goes for professional wedding photography. We should be insured to cover any damage that might occur in the course of doing our work to our gear or any injury caused to our photographers. This should be one of the terms stipulated on your contract. It reads something like:
“The Photographer maintains business liability insurance with [name of insurance company]. The Photographer will provide the Clients a copy of a certificate of insurance with not less than five (5) business days’ notice. Specific requirements by venues to list venue as an additional insured on the Photographer’s insurance policy must be requested in writing at least 30 days prior to the Session.”
What’s your data backup process?
Technology has been wonderful to photographers these last few years. Cameras now come with dual slots for backing up, storage is getting more mobile.
Ask your photographer what their process is to make sure your photos are safe, at least until the high res digitals are delivered to you. For us, our photographers have dual-slot cameras, with photos always backed up the moment we arrive home. Our best practices ensure our cards never leave our bodies even when we visit the bathroom so a copy of your photos are ALWAYS on us. Additionally, we back digital negatives up to a cloud storage service over the next few days as well as a local copy (which is the copy we work on the next few weeks).
Can you give us a wedding-day photo timeline?
Most wedding photographers should be able to whip this out in their sleep and at least prep one up for you after your consult. This gives you an idea how your coverage looks like throughout the day and is VERY helpful in pacing the day. While weddings shouldn’t be ALL about photography (that would be horrid), anything before your ceremony is pretty much driven by the photo timeline since we want to be respectful of your day and make sure you get the photos you need. All timelines should take into account time spent scouting, setting up if there’s setup needed, travel and so on. Hours booked are ALWAYS to be used consecutively (unless your photographer allows breaks in the coverage, which is rare).
Who are your favorite videographers?
It is critical that your photo and video team work together well so if you’re shopping for a wedding photographer before a videographer, ask for a list of their favorite video peeps (if they’re not doing video themselves) – and vice versa.
We love these guys!
Other questions that are nice to ask:
Have you shot at our venue?
While we get asked this a lot, we feel that this isn’t a top priority as any wedding photographer worth their salt should be able to shoot anywhere, and as part of their best practices, scout beforehand to set themselves up for success. In fact, there is a plus side to not having shot at a venue – fresh eyes! One may be able to go at a location from a different perspective that’s not been photographed a thousand times. We are creatives after all!
Do you have an assistant?
Most wedding photographers are able to work alone really nicely. Yes, having an assistant makes things a lot easier (they carry bags, help set lights up, keep our gear together, keep us on time and make sure we’re hydrated!) but whether or not an assistant is there, the photos still get made. It’s a nice plus if a photographer is able to bring one both for the clients and the photographer.
Do you have a question we did not cover? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you.
Still looking for a photographer? Hit us up! We’ve been shooting since 2007 so we know things.
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