February 16, 2021
With engagement season officially wrapping up and a whole new group of couples starting their wedding planning I know many brides and grooms are starting to Google “Questions to ask a wedding photographer” in preparation for their inquiry calls. You’re likely to find a whole long list of things that wedding planning websites suggest you talk about with your potential vendors, but today’s blog is all about focusing on the ones that I think are key to helping you make a decision.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that there are hundreds of wedding photographers to choose from, but finding the perfect one for you is vital! Your wedding photographer is with you on your day from start to finish and is providing one of the few pieces of your wedding day that will live on once the flowers have died and the cake has been eaten. In order to make sure you make the right decision, make sure you’re bringing up these questions to ask a wedding photographer when going through the inquiry process.
Some photographers will just show up on the wedding day, photograph everything and leave. You might not hear from them in between booking and the big day. However, I recommend hiring someone who is a little more hands on. Your wedding day isn’t something that happens often – it’s a big event! Just like with every vendor you book, you want a wedding photographer who is going to guide you through the wedding planning process and help with logistics. Once a couple books with me I immediately start things with a short questionnaire to get to know them better and send a magazine with all of my wedding planning tips as they pertain to photography. Throughout our time working together I help with engagement session location and outfit recommendations, help you draft a photo timeline, suggest vendors and check-in whenever possible. It lets us get to know each other better and make sure we’re not strangers come the wedding day!
Every photographer is going to approach the wedding day differently. Some will be laidback and focus on candids while other step in to give more direction and pose you throughout each moment. Personally I tend to mix up my approach depending on the part of the day. For your portraits and photos with your wedding party and family I’ll make sure that everyone is posed perfectly. For moments like getting ready and the first look I tend to provide suggestions on where and how to stand, but don’t like to interrupt those moments if possible. Then for pieces of the day like the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception you shouldn’t even know I’m there! At that point I like to fade into the background and make sure your memories are captured candidly.
Also on the wedding day, I like to keep your overall experience in mind – not just your photos. While taking your pictures is my top priority I also want to make sure you know I’m there to help with whatever you need. Whether you need me to pin bouts and tie bowties, bustle a dress, fetch water, or steal you away for a moment alone I’m here to do that!
This is a question I never hear, but I wish more people asked! Before your images are delivered there are probably a few weeks where your photographer will be processing and editing the photos from your day. It’s important to know how your memories are being protected during this time. I shoot only on cameras with two memory card slots and have one card set to be an automatic back-up through the day. That means before I even leave your wedding there are already two copies of every photo I’ve taken! As soon as I get home, no matter how late it is I immediately backup the files so they’re stored somewhere else as well. I always wait to clear the cards until all of your images are delivered and uploaded into your gallery. I even go as far as keeping one set of cards in a fireproof safe just in case. It may extreme to take so many precautions, but if those files are lost or damaged your wedding images are at stake. An extra amount of backups and precautions is important for keeping your memories from your big day safe!
As much as none of us want to think about it emergencies do happen. The best wedding photographers are going to strive to be there no matter what on your wedding day. But sometimes sickness, accidents or other unpreventable circumstances arise and despite all odds we may not be able to make it. Your photographer should have an emergency plan in case something unavoidable does happen and they can no longer be there. Since all of my wedding packages include a second photographer for at least part of the day, there is already another photographer lined up and ready to take the lead if necessary. They receive your timeline, family formal list and important details at the latest a week out from your wedding so they are coming to your big day with all the information they need. Knowing the photographer’s backup plan is crucial so you’re prepared for any unexpected situation that may arise.
Please if you do nothing else take this advice – as your wedding photographer to see multiple full galleries! This is such an important detail! As great as Instagram is for seeing the pretty highlights most of the time photographers are showing off the very best of their work and the most photogenic moments. You’ll rarely see photos from the longest part of the day – the reception! Receptions are often inside and after dark so you want to make sure that photographer understands flash so they can capture your reception decor, special dances, toasts, friends breaking it down on the dance floor and the exit. Make sure that you’re happy with how a photographer documents the day from start to finish before signing any contract. I always provide wedding galleries up front one you inquire, but if you don’t get them from someone just ask! You want to be confident your photographer will capture all parts of your day wonderfully.
I hope these questions to ask a wedding photographer have helped. The beginning of the wedding planning process always seems like the most overwhelming, but once you get going everything gets easier! If you’re looking for more advice click here to read more For Couples blogs. I love working with newly engaged couples and if you have any specific questions please send me a message. You’ve got this!
I'm a Virginia wedding photographer serving the DMV and worldwide. I strive to balance the composed with the candid and capture vibrant, timeless images for my couples.
Six years of wedding industry has taught me a lot! This quick guide is designed for you two to get your wedding experience started with just a few easy steps!