Questions for your Photographer
Choosing a photographer for your wedding is a big deal. There are roughly 4 wedding photographers for every person in the UK*. So how the hell do you find the one that's right for you?
(*don’t believe all stats you find online).
Obviously, the internet is great for getting a sense of what kind of style and approach you're after and what you think will work well for you as a couple. The good thing about the vast choice, is that there is almost certainly somebody out there to suit you.
When you know what you're after, and have narrowed the search to a few options, it's a good time to start geting in touch. The internet is rife with lists of questions to ask your photographer (I've been on the receiving end of some of these inquisition lists in the past) but for the most part, they tend to head down a path that doesn't offer up much useful information.
Like, do you really care what I'm going to be wearing? I'll probably leave the band t-shirts at home, and I won’t get in too many pictures!
So, the questions that I, as a photographer, would ask my potential wedding photographer…
1. Are You Insured?
I know this is kind of boring chat, but it's important. Any reputable photographer (or any of your wedding suppliers for that matter) will be properly insured so if anything bad happens, they, and you, are covered. This doesn't just cover their kit, but compensation for lost images, a guest falling over bags (not if they're steaming!), or emergency cover if they fall ill. This is also a good time to say that you should probably look into wedding insurance as well. Most suppliers will take fees to reserve your date, which usually aren't refundable. If you cancel, or need to move date for any reason, you don't want to be out of all that money. It's fairly cheap, and really easy to take out.
2. What Happens If...
You fall off a ladder?
You get stuck in an Icelandic volcano smokestorm?
Ok, so things happen. Sometimes unavoidable things. It sucks, but it’s an unfortunate reality. The key thing to know is that you’re wedding will be photographed (just as expertly) as it would have been otherwise. I’ve (fortunately, touch wood!) never been in this situation, but I’m relaxed in the knowledge that I’m part of a close community of photographers who have an incredible track record of helping each other out in emergency (as I said, sometimes it happens). So please make sure your photographer has some kind of contingency plan in place.
3. Can We Skype / Facetime / Meet up?
I feel like I’ve harped on about this loads in the past, but it really is so important that you get on with your photographer. Negative stories about wedding photographers are usually less about images and more about having somebody who just didn’t fit in on the day. I’ve lost count of how many times somebody at a wedding has told me about photographers shouting at people and bossing everyone around. If that’s your vibe, cool, there’s someone for you. But you need to know that in advance so you’re not shocked on the day at how big a D-bag your photographer is. It doesn’t need to be a formal Q&A session. Just have a chat and make sure you’re going to be fine hanging out with this person for a day.
4. Can we see some full wedding galleries?
This should maybe be number 1. This is really important. Instagram is great, it’s good for getting a sense of style. But please remember it’s a highlight reel. For you and for me. People show their best bits, I show my best photos. If a photographer isn’t willing to share some full galleries with you, this is a HUGE red flag for me. Don’t feel like you need to scrutinise them, but make sure they know what they’re doing over the course of the day and not just pulling a handful of cool shots off and leaving the rest of the in the bin. You can check out galleries from my previous weddings here.
5. Take my money?
Know where you stand with deposits, balances, what’s included etc. This should all be covered in a contract (also important for covering both you and the photographer). It’s fairly standard practice that you’ll pay a deposit to secure a booking and pay the balance at some point in advance of the wedding (4 weeks in my case). You should also make sure you know how you’re getting your photos & when to expect them after the wedding. It’s generally just a good idea to make sure you’re all on the same page to avoid any potential disappointment. It can take longer to get your photos during high season that it will over Winter months, for example.