Where do you start when looking for a wedding photographer?
This might be the first time you are in need of a professional wedding photographer. Do you meet your photographer first? Should you set up meetings with multiple photographers?Are there questions you should ask your photographer?
Yes,Yes, and 100% YES!
I always suggest meeting with your potential photographer before you book them. You need to make sure that they are the right photographer for you, and vice versa. This person is going to be with you all day at your wedding, and at some of the most intimate points. You must feel comfortable with them. If you can't meet with them then video call is the next best thing. You'll be able to gauge if you click better this way, than on a phone call, or over email.
Set up multiple meetings with the photographers you like (maybe 2-3) and have a list of questions ready, to ask them.
Questions to ask a Wedding Photographer
1. Have they seen your venue before?
I personally don't think that it is necessary for your photographer to have worked at your venue before. Photographers can get stuck doing the same photos again and again if they have worked at a venue multiple times. You want your images to be personal and unique. I do however, think it is very important that they have seen the venue before the wedding date. This will ensure they know all the best potential locations and where the light is best on your wedding day.
2. Do they work with a second shooter?
Having a second shooter at your wedding will ensure you get all the candid, behind the scenes shots that you might not know are happening. Your main photographer will focus on the key points of the wedding i.e Ceremony, group shots, couple shots. Your second shooter will capture all your guests reactions through the day as well as dancing, games and other candid moments.
3. Do they shoot to both cards in their camera?
This one is a little complex but is crucial! Professional cameras have TWO memory cards slots. Many photographers will shoot with one card filling up with photos, then when full, the next card will fill up.
I'd strongly suggest they set their camera so both cards are recording simultaneously. This ensures that you have 2 copies of every photo.
Memory cards these days are pretty reliable and very rarely corrupt. But it does happen, so best not to take the chance.
4. Where will the photos be stored after the wedding?
After I have photographed a wedding, I copy everything over to two external hard drives. Once I have edited the wedding, the photos go onto an online gallery which is where they stay for the bride and groom to access them.
5. How long will it take for the photos be ready after wedding?
Every photographer will have a different time frame. My galleries are normally ready within 4-6 weeks from the wedding date. I will always send my clients a little preview of 10-15 images after the wedding, so they have something to use as an announcement or a thank you card.
6. What happens if our wedding day is running late?
It's not uncommon for weddings to run 1-1.5 hours behind time. Ask your photographer if they will be able to stay later if this happens and what the charge might be.
7. Do We Need to Provide You with Food?
It’s completely up to you whether you provide your photographer with food, but it’s the polite thing to do. They’ll be working 10+ hours for you and will need sustenance.
Ask your photographer what they’d like: you can arrange for them to have a plate and sit in the bar or somewhere close by. They'll likely want to back up their images in peace. You can put money behind the bar or give them a meal allowance if they’d prefer to cater for themselves. They’re unlikely to be taking lots of photos during the meal anyway, as no one wants the moment they've stuffed half a chicken supreme in their mouth caught on camera.
8. Do I Need to Cover Travel Costs?
All this information should be clearly laid out in your contract to avoid unexpected charges. You’ll want to know if petrol or overnight accommodation need to be covered by you. Always expect that a destination photographer will require you to pay for travel and accommodation.
9. What Is Your Back-up Plan If You Can’t Attend on the Day?
In the very unlikely circumstance that your photographer is unwell, or for whatever reason cannot photograph your wedding day, then its nice to know they they will have an alternative for you. People get ill and family emergencies happen. Your photographer will likely have a network of fellow professionals they can call upon if circumstances change unexpectedly. Listen to your gut if they ignore the question – you’re only going to have one chance at this day and you need to trust they have you covered.
10. Do You have Back-up Equipment?
Accidents happen: cameras break, lenses smash. Photographers are running around with a lot of heavy equipment, all of the time. Ask what they have to hand in these situations – a professional photographer will often carry two- three cameras, as well as back up lenses. If you're employing a student photographer then you might not be getting back up equipment.