I always think of January and February as being some of the busiest months to book wedding vendors. Lots of couples are recently engaged after the holiday and ready to start planning the wedding of their dreams.
It can definitely be overwhelming with so many amazing and talented vendors to know who you should reach out to and hire.
I always suggest setting up a time to chat either on the phone, zoom, or in person to make sure you vibe well with them. I believe it’s really important to have a photographer that you connect and get along with. Out of all of your wedding vendors you are likely going to be spending the most time with your photographer on your wedding day, they’re basically going to follow you around all day lol
So while you’re talking to all these amazing photographers here’s 11 questions you should ask, I’ll include why you should ask these questions and I’ll include my answers just for fun 🙃:
1. How long have you been doing photography?
Now you can be a newer photographer and still take amazing photos. But I think it’s important to know how much experience your photographer has.
Part of the experience my clients have is because of my expertise, I have captured 150+ weddings and elopements and have been a photographer for 8 years.
2. Are you insured?
The only acceptable answer to this question is yes. A reputable professional photographer will have some sort of general liability insurance.
Yes we are insured.
3. What is your backup system?
A wedding photographer should minimally have a camera that dual records to two memory cards. They should have a back up camera body and lens in case anything goes wrong. They should back up the images to an external hard drive and ideally the cloud as well.
When I photograph a wedding I always have two cameras on me at all times, each camera is recording to two memory cards, when I get home all images are backed up to two hard drives and the cloud. When we’re recording video we have typically have 3 cameras recording during a ceremony and 5 different audio sources. My motto is hope for the best but plan for the worst, backups on backups on backups.
**example of dual camera harness I pretty much always wear
4. Do you use flash?
As much as we may try, a photographer cannot control every lighting scenario. Having some form of artificial light (either continuous or flash) is needed, even if they end up not having to use it.
I try to utilize as much natural light as possible, but I always have flashes with me in case the lighting is tough (not many windows, after dark, etc). I personally don’t like flashes in wedding videos, so I also have some battery powered continuous lights that we use.
5. What is your delivery timeframe?
You just want to make sure you’re on the same page with your photographer for when you will receive your images. Some photographers don’t include sneak peaks, or deliver in 2 weeks or 4 months. You don’t want to have to guess and be wondering when you will receive your images.
We deliver teaser photos usually the next day, then full gallery is delivered within 6-8 weeks.
6. How do we get our photos?
Most photographers have some sort of online gallery system or deliver a USB drive with the files.
We utilize an online gallery that is password protected so it’s easy to share with family and friends or you can keep the gallery private for just the two of you.
7. What would happen if you were sick?
Making sure your photographer has some sort of protocol for emergencies is so important. If they’re sick, hurt, or a family member is sick or hurt do they have someone they can send in their place?
I’m lucky enough to work with my husband John, so in certain scenarios he will associate shoot for me (like when I broke my wrist and couldn’t take photos for 2 months 🙃). I’ve also developed some solid relationships with other local photographers, so if in the case myself or John couldn’t capture a wedding day we have trusted colleagues we could have cover the event. It’s also our policy that the couple gets to approve the associate.
8. What is your refund/reschedule policy?
If dates or plans change it’s important to know if you’re due a refund. Most photographers require some amount of a nonrefundable retainer/deposit to save a date. Some photographers may require an additional retainer/deposit if the date is changed.
We require a $1000 nonrefundable retainer to save a wedding date. If a couple pays anything additional to the retainer that amount is refundable if the event is cancelled. Our big thing is communication, so if something comes up and a date has to be rescheduled just communicating with us to make sure we’re still available is the biggest thing. We don’t charge an additional retainer for reschedules.
9. What is your policy for re-edits?
Some photographers charge per edit, some photographers have a window in which you can request edits and then outside of the window they charge, some charge based on the complexity of the request (removing someone from group photos, removing blemishes, etc).
We do not do any body modifications in our photos, so no we will not make you look skinnier (I’m sure you look fabulous ❤️). We do not charge for re-edits or touch ups if requested. We do not have a timeline for when requests have to be made.
10. Do we have to order our prints and albums through you?
There’s not a right or wrong answer to this question, some photographers have it worked into their pricing that prints are required to be ordered through them. Other photographers account for the fact that couples may print their photos somewhere else. Some photographers just really want to make sure their couples get high quality prints.
We offer printing services but also include a print release so our couples can choose to have their photos printed wherever they choose.
11. Do you charge for the digital files?
Again, not really a right or wrong answer just different styles of business. Some photographers charge for the digital images, or maybe only include a select number that you can download then anything additional costs extra. Some only charge for high resolution downloads.
We do not charge anything for our digital files.
I think it’s important to note that not every photographer or couple is a great fit together. We all have different personalities, editing styles, services offered etc. I’m fairly introverted (not shy, just not loud lol), I’m super calm, I’m usually told I have a relaxing presence, my editing is pretty true to life, so if you were looking for a super outgoing “Yass girl” sort of personality with a bright and airy style I would politely say we’re probably not a good fit. There’s nothing wrong with either style, you just have to vibe well together.
Hope these questions help you on your search for finding the perfect wedding or elopement photographer for you ❤️