When it comes to wedding photography, I’ve heard it all. From brides who were elated at how their special day was captured to the horror of hiring a ‘family friend’ at a steeply discounted rate to snap a few pics that came out…...less than desirable. After chatting with countless brides in person and in forums about their wedding photography experiences, I’ve gathered seven questions that you should absolutely ask your potential photographer before you hire. There’s a bonus tip at the end too so stick around!
Listen to the audio version of this post below if you're having a busy day or just prefer to listen!
When is payment due and do you require a deposit?
Please do not be afraid to discuss money with your vendors. They’re a business and I’m guessing sticking to your wedding budget is important to you. Everyone benefits from having open lines of communication when it comes to deposits and payments. Just ask.
What are your additional fees?
I’m not a wedding photographer so I’m not going to pretend to know the inner workings of a photography business. That said, I do know the wedding business and there can be fees that come as a surprise to brides and grooms because they forgot to ask or didn’t understand the contract. Don’t let that be you! Will your photographer charge more for special equipment they have to rent based on your unique request? Do they charge if you ask them to stay extra hours to capture more reception footage? These are all good things to know.
Do they have a second shooter?
Some wedding photographers bring along ‘second shooters’ to weddings in order to capture additional angles and play with their lighting strategy. This is awesome for brides because it provides a lot more variety in your wedding photos. I’ve read that many photographers who specialize in weddings choose to ONLY shoot weddings with a second shooter. Just confirm whether or not your chosen wedding photographer has a second shooter. If you’re all about the variety it could be the deciding factor for you if you hire that photographer or not.
Do they have a backup plan?
Ask your photographer if they have a backup plan for your wedding should an issue arise for them. Hey, we’re all human and things happen. If you’re hired photographer has an emergency and can’t make your wedding last minute, make sure they have a backup plan in place.
Do you have the rights to ALL of the photos?
This will be in the contract you sign with your photographer so make sure you read carefully. Sometimes photographers don’t give you all of the rights to your photos and that puts limits on how you can use them. If you want total control over your pictures, make sure you request to have all of the rights. You may need to pay an additional fee for this but it’s probably worth it. Additionally, make sure you understand how your photographer will use your photos for marketing. If you’d prefer not to have your photos used in marketing collateral, on social media for example, see if you can negotiate that with the photographer.
How many photos will you get?
Your wedding photographer should have a good idea of how many pictures he/she will be able to shoot in your allotted time. This is good to know so that you’re not expecting to get 200 photos to choose from and only end up with 75.
How long will it take to get the proofs?
Again, just good information to know so you don’t have the wrong expectation. You’ll be basking in your newlywed glory so waiting a few weeks for proofs isn’t going to seem like a big deal.
Remember at the beginning of this blog post I promised you a bonus tip? Here it is: Do let Pinterest give you ideas about wedding photos and inspire how you’d like your own photos to look. Don’t become married to the EXACT ideas you see on Pinterest thinking your photographer has super-human skills and can replicate those Pinterest details exactly. Why? Two reasons: number one, 70% of what you see on Pinterest is probably a styled shoot and not a real wedding. The details are literally picture perfect because nobody is there to mess them up. Number two, give your photographer some creative freedom to do what they do best! Don’t trap them into a box by shoving a bunch of “Pinspiration” their way. This will only lead to disappointment for you and for your photographer. You’ve hired a professional and I can guarantee they want stunning, unique photos of your happy day just as much as you do!
Let’s talk more about your wedding photographer! Have you already chosen yours? If you’re a photographer, what do you wish more brides knew?