What to ask a wedding photographer? 12 Questions to ask wedding photographers before you hire:
Whether it's a phone call or meeting over coffee, it's important to vet your wedding vendors before you hire. I've sat through plenty of meetings with prospective brides and grooms, and some come with lists of questions, others come hoping I'll lead the conversation. After all of my experiences as a wedding photographer, here are the questions I would ask:
Can you give us an example of how you communicate poses? Posing sets a good photographer apart from a great photographer. Being able to multitask between focusing on your camera settings, composition, and paying attention to posing is a real skill. Also, how a photographer communicates is essential; you'll be taking direction from them multiple times throughout the day unless your wedding is 100% candids.
I looked at your portfolio and loved your images. However, do you have experience posing a variety of body types, and may I see those images? I'm just going to say it: it's super easy to pose a trained model. It's not as easy to photograph someone who's camera shy. If a photographer's portfolio is full of styled wedding shoots with models, that does not mean they know how to pose a variety of body types. Different body types look better at different angles and different poses, so it's best to find someone who has experience posing with a variety of people.
Can I see a full album you've delivered? A full album tells a lot more than 3 or 4 highlight photos. If a wedding photographer didn't let me see an entire collection, I would hesitate to work with them. You can check out a few of my full galleries here.
Can we see your associate photographer's work as well? They might not show you until after you've hired them, paid, and signed a contract. However, I'd want to know the photographer has a plan and isn't searching for a random 2nd photographer off a facebook group three days before the wedding. I've seen it happen, and it could be either good or bad.
Can my family and friends download from your online gallery, or only me? Some will charge per high res picture; some give you everything. Just know what you want and make sure you understand what the end product you're receiving is. Your mom and mother-in-law will both want to download and print pictures, as well. Having a photographer that allows that is rare, but they're out there.
I understand it takes time to edit all of the photos. When can I expect sneak peeks? You're going to want photos right away (of course!). Asking for sneak peeks is a reasonable question beforehand.
How many images do you retouch in addition to edited photos? Retouched images and edited images are two different things. Retouched refers to skin editing, removing blemishes like acne, maybe some wrinkles, under-eye darkness, and that kind of stuff. Retouching is generally only done on headshot or closeup images. Ask if your package includes retouched pictures or if you'll have to pay extra.
Do you edit the images yourself, or do you outsource? Outsourcing is significant to me, but it might not be for everyone. If I'm paying a photographer for their artistry, the editing is half that magic. I would want to make sure they're at least acting as quality control over the editing process. I probably wouldn't want them to outsource them to a company that edits hundreds a week and gives less care.
How many weddings have you photographed solo? It's ok to hire a new photographer if that's what you'd like and have in the budget. However, a seasoned veteran knows how to handle stressful moments, curate special moments, and manage their time wisely. I don't need 300 weddings under my photographer's belt, but I'd be happy to hear they've photographed around 30 weddings.
What photos are most important to you? It's your day, and although your photographer will want to blog it and add it to their portfolio, it's the shots that you wish to have that matter the most. It's good to see you're on the same page before the wedding.
Are you willing to tweak your shooting or editing style to fit my taste? You're going to get a lot of no's with this question. But that's fine. It's also fine to know that you have a particular style, and you want that executed. While sometimes it's best to find a photographer who already matches your taste, I'll argue that it's ok to ask if they are flexible.
Do you have a backup camera and lenses? Instead of asking a photographer what gear they use, I think this is more important. Accidents happen. Things break.
Cassandra Vagher Creative LLC is a wedding and elopement photographer based out of Denver, Colorado; however, she is happy to travel anywhere.
See Cassandra's weddings here.
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