Today’s blog post has ten questions you should ask your potential wedding photographer during your consultation! Your wedding photographer is one of the most important vendors you will book for your day, and this decision should not be taken lightly. There are things you must know the answer to before booking your dream photographer. Loving their work is just a small part of choosing the photographer that is best for you!
1. Are you licensed and insured?
Your photographer should have a business license and pay their taxes. Having a commercial insurance policy is also SO important. It will help a photographer replace their gear if it gets stolen, AND many venues require all vendors to be insured anyway.
2. How many memory cards does your camera hold? Do you shoot on both cards at the same time?
This is SO IMPORTANT. Any wedding photographer should be shooting on cameras that have two memory card slots, and the images should be recording on both memory cards at the same time. Memory cards corrupt all the time, so having two copies of your images is the best way to make sure that your photographer doesn’t lose your wedding photos! My camera does have the capability to fill up one card first before starting on the second card, but I don’t do that. Instead, I make sure that every image is going on both cards simultaneously so that I have two copies by the time I get home.
3. How do you back up your photos?
I’ve heard horror stories of images being lost because the wedding photographer did not back up images after the wedding. This makes me so sad and is completely preventable! Your images should not only be on your photographer’s memory cards. Make sure they have a backup system in place! I back up wedding images in three places after a wedding, including the cloud.
4. When do we pay?
My clients pay a non-refundable retainer fee, and then the balance is due thirty days before the wedding. However, I offer payment plans so that clients can pay their balance in monthly payments leading up to the wedding! Some photographers require payments to be made throughout the wedding planning process. Make sure you know when you will be required to pay your balance!
5. How many hours do we need?
Every wedding is different. Not every wedding can fit into a six hour timeline, and many weddings don’t need a twelve hour timeline either. Telling your photographer about your day, your guest count, your wedding party size, and whether or not you want a first look will give them the information they need to guide you towards a specific package! Your wedding photographer is a pro, and they can give you the best advice on how much time you’ll need them there on your wedding day.
6. Do you have a second shooter? What do they do?
Each of my wedding packages include a second shooter! We are apart during the getting ready portion of the day so that you and your partner can get ready at the same time in two different locations. During portraits, my second shooter will shoot different angles and also act as an assistant by fluffing your veil/dress, gathering family members for portraits, and helping to corral the wedding party. During the ceremony and reception, my second is shooting as well! I’ve written a blog post on the importance of a second shooter – you can read that here!
7. How do you work on the wedding day?
Is your wedding photographer more vocal, or do they stay in the background? Do they like working with wedding videographers, or do they prefer to be solo? Do they do more traditional posing, or are they a documentary-style photographer?
8. How many images will we get? How will we receive those?
My wedding clients on average receive 100 images per hour, but it can be more or less depending on several factors. Your guest count, wedding party size, amount of reception events (like special dances, speeches, etc.), and many other things can impact how many photos you will receive. My clients receive their edited full-resolution images on both a USB drive and via an online gallery.
9. Can we see a full gallery?
Every wedding photographer shares their favorite images on their social media and websites, but it is so important for you to see a full gallery of their work! If they have worked at your venue before, ask if you can see a wedding gallery from that location. If they haven’t, they can still send you galleries similar to the style of your day for you to view! Pay attention to their editing style, how they shoot in various lighting scenarios, and their posing style to make sure that those are all things you are happy with! If you don’t like their editing style, keep in mind that they won’t change that just for your wedding day. A wedding photographer’s style is something they have worked on for a long time, so if you aren’t happy with it then you don’t want to hire them! (Side note – it never hurts my feelings if an inquiry chooses someone else based on editing style. Everyone’s preferences are different, and that’s okay!)
10. How involved are you in our planning process?
I love serving my couples throughout their planning journey! After booking, I send my couples a welcome guide and list of recommended vendors for their day. I also send a detailed questionnaire four months before their wedding day to help me create a photography timeline that is specific to their wedding. My goal is not to just show up and shoot – I want to get to know you both, know your plans for your day, and help you have the happiest and calmest wedding experience possible!
I’m a wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Knoxville, Tennessee but available anywhere. If you have questions about booking me for a session or wedding, click here! To follow me on social media, check out my Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.