Choosing the right vendors for your wedding can be an overwhelming task. This is especially true when choosing a photographer. The images that your photographer captures are going to be the official visual documentation of your wedding. Those photos are the one thing that you’ll look back on over the years to remember your wedding, so you want to be sure that they capture the true essence and feel of the day!
Today, we’re talking about the most important questions to ask your potential wedding photographers when you interview them. Take a look:
Do you have insurance?
The answer you want is “YES.” Professionals carry insurance. Many wedding venues require that your photographer provides proof of at least $1 million dollars of insurance coverage. What if someone were to get injured? What if an expensive item at the venue is damaged? Insurance protects everyone from what could be an ugly situation.
Do you carry backup equipment?/Do you have a backup plan in the case of an emergency?
In the past decade + of shooting weddings, I’ve seen it all! Venue power outages in the middle of the wedding day, Equipment failure/damage, rainstorm so bad that we only had a dark barn (with no lights) to shoot in, COVID 19!…the list goes on. So how does the photographer you’re talking to prepare for and navigate these types of challenges?
If your photographer drops the camera and it becomes damaged, he/she will no longer be able to finish photographing your day without a backup camera, lenses, lighting gear, etc. What happens if it rains on your wedding day? What if the light is just plain bad because something unexpected caused a delay in your timeline? What if your photographer is too sick to work? Knowing the answers to these questions ahead of time is key to ensuring your wedding day runs smoothly, even if unexpected circumstances arise.
Can I see an entire wedding gallery?
A photographer’s portfolio and social media stream is oftentimes a highlight reel of their very best images. Viewing an entire gallery (or multiple galleries, even better!) can give you a better idea of what to expect. Not every photo may be as dramatic or glamorous as the bride and groom portraits in their portfolio- this is not uncommon, but having the right expectations set ahead of time can help you avoid miscommunication and disappointment.
As you look through the galleries you should be looking for consistency, well-lit imagery, all the key moments covered, variety of images/poses (For example they may show 12 photos of the groom, but are they all pretty much exactly the same? Or does the angle, pose, crop, scene, or lighting offer a wide variety to pick from?) Ask yourself “Can I picture myself/my wedding in photos like these?” If you feel like something is missing, don’t hesitate to talk to the photographer about your concerns and see what they have to say!
What is your cancellation policy?
No one wants to think it will happen to them, but it’s true, sometimes weddings have to be canceled or postponed. If that were to be the case, what happens to your retainer? Will the photographer be willing to reschedule for your new date? It’s important that you know the answer to this before you commit. Just in case.
A quick update: I wrote this article years before the COVID-19 pandemic, and now as I’m revisiting and refreshing this article I just wanna say that this is more important than ever! So many of my couples were affected by the pandemic and sadly, some lost out on their money to vendors who either didn’t explain the cancellation policy to them or didn’t have a proper plan in place. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE make sure all your vendors have a contract and clear terms for rescheduling and cancellation.
What exactly is included in the package I’m considering?
Collections, products, and services can vary greatly from photographer to photographer, so comparing price sheets from two or more different photographers can be confusing and misleading if they offer similar-sounding options that are actually not equal in value. Ask questions and take the time to meet with each prospective photographer in order to get a feel for their level of service, quality of products, and so on. The time spent on this will be so worth it!
Do you have an overtime policy or fee?
Some photographers will not work more than a certain amount of hours. Others have an overtime fee associated with their services. While this should all be addressed in the contract, don’t be afraid to ask about this ahead of time. You never know if you’ll need an extra hour of unexpected coverage and you wanna make sure you and your photographer are on the same page!
What’s your policy for protecting and storing my images? How long do you keep them?
Make sure you understand how your images are protected during the wedding day, after the wedding day, and beyond. Even experienced and meticulous photographers who keep their equipment and memory cards well maintained can still experience technical setbacks and card failure at times. Having a plan in place can significantly reduce the risk of losing images.
You should also ask long your photos are stored with your photographer so that if you have to come back for reprints, or if your copy of the files becomes corrupted, you know what to expect!
How I protect client images: My camera has two memory card slots so I’m creating an instant backup of all your photos right as I shoot. Once I get back to the office, I immediately copy the cards onto my computer, then onto a mirrored backup drive, and then that drive starts backing up to the cloud immediately. That means that as of the night of your wedding, there are at least SIX copies of your images!
Do you offer a second shooter?
Having a second photographer available can be an invaluable asset to your wedding photography coverage. The second photographer can cover alternate angles or different parts of the day that the primary photographer is unable to photograph. For example, the second photographer can cover cocktail hour while your lead is taking your bride and groom portraits and family pictures. Most of all, having a second photographer is kind of like having insurance. An unknowing guest may step out in front of your photographer during a key moment causing them to miss the shot, or equipment could fail. Having a second photographer is a great way to ensure that nothing important gets missed.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful!
Wanna know my answers to these questions? Inquire today to set up a quick call where we can discuss what’s most important to you on the big day and I can answer all of your questions!
Thanks for these important questions to ask a photographer. My cousin is getting married here soon, and I think she really cares about how well the wedding is photographed. I like your question about seeing a gallery, the thing about photography is that there is physical evidence of how good they are. I like these tips, thanks for the help!
Thanks for stopping by and reading Jeff! =) I hope your cousin’s wedding turns out amazing! =)
This is a great informative post for your bride to be! Great work!