Glad to see you’re back! Today I’d like to talk with you about questions to consider asking your wedding photographer and why these might be important enough for you to consider. As a photographer who has shot over hundreds of weddings and private/corporate events, I get asked a lot of questions, but some of them seem less directed. I’m hoping this post can help a few of you find the direction you need so that wedding photography is the LAST thing you should worry about on your wedding day. (Because, it shouldn’t.) Due to the overwhelming amount of great questions and advice online regarding these (like this one), I thought I’d take a more offbeat take on these questions – ones I think are important enough to cover that get little attention elsewhere.
Would you be willing to meet in person/speak on the phone/skype with me?
- Most couples today are savvy enough to know what they want to see in their wedding albums 30 years from now and can discern between a good photographer and a bad one. So the choice of a wedding photographer usually always come down to price because that’s the easiest way to mark something off a list. What couples should really consider prior to marking us off the list by price is – do we get along, how are our personalities, do they mesh well with the majority of the wedding guests/the couple themselves?
- It’s just as important to find a photographer who gets along well with you, understands your family and guests dynamics, and you would feel comfortable to have around your family and friends. If you know your wedding is going to be loud, crazy, and boisterous – why would you want to hire a quiet/timid photographer? The same can be said about a quiet couple hiring a more excitable wedding photographer.
Can you briefly describe your methods of handling family formals?
- Oh, the family formals. I know we touched upon this in our Wedding Formals List post a while back, but these can be quite stressful for most couples, especially with split and extended families. Couples should ask their photographer if they are comfortable with posing family formals, how they would organize them, how they would group family members who hate each other/don’t get along, and how long they would need to finish a list of portraits. If family formals are important to you, but you know you have a limited time allocation during cocktail hour, you don’t want to spend the entire time rallying your family or having family members (You know who they are) pressuring your photographer into adding new shots and extending the time you will be spending standing next to Aunt Mae (We know you love her, but you’d rather be having some time alone with each other during your own portraits or enjoying a conversation WITH Aunt Mae, most likely with drink in hand).
I’m having a (insert religious/cultural) wedding/ceremony, are you familiar/have you shot these types of celebrations before?
- It’s very important to know if a photographer will respect the special rituals and traditions for your celebration, and just because they have never shot your type of ceremony before, doesn’t mean they can’t, or are not willing to learn, ask questions, and take precautions to make sure it goes off without a hitch on the photography end.
My venue has these restrictions (insert restrictions) on photography, can you describe a way you would still be able to photograph my wedding?
- Any professional photographer will be able to answer these questions and provide solutions and choices or help you understand the limitations this places on your wedding photography – no matter who you may hire. They should be able to articulate the choices you have within the limitations to help you understand and manage your expectations.
I don’t want to see each other before the ceremony – what other photography options do I have?
- There is a LOT of benefit to having a first look, but it’s not right for everyone and you shouldn’t feel pressured by your friends/family/other wedding vendors into thinking you should have one. No one wants to be forced into doing something they don’t want to do. So if you don’t want a first look – your photographer should be able to explain to you the pros and cons of not having one – explain different options on how to get around the cons, and suggest the right coverage time to make that happen.
But in the end, the best questions are always the ones that worry you the most about wedding photography on your wedding day. Your wedding photographer should be able to answer all your questions to quiet your wedding fears so that wedding photography is the LAST thing you should worry about.
Some examples to help you narrow down your worries:
- If you are afraid they are going to be late/traffic/accident/whatever – ask about their back up plans.
- If you are worried your mother or other relative will take over the family formals – ask about how they handle someone or a situation like that.
- If your reception falls right at sunset, but you know you WANT sunset portraits – ask about how they would solve that problem.
- If you are unsure about other wedding vendors – ask your wedding photographer for referrals.
Your wedding photographer is an expert at what they do. They’ve shot many weddings to know the ins and outs of them and the best ways to make life easiest for all. Do not be afraid of us, even if you think it’s a stupid question – ask anyways! We are here to advise you, not force you to do something you don’t want to do.
I hope this post helps with all your planning!
From one wedding photographer/bride to her couples <3