And 1 You Shouldn’t
One of the most important vendors you’ll hire for your wedding day is your photographer. They are the ones in charge of telling the story of your wedding day, choosing which moments get to live on forever. And which ones will fade with your memories. To find the perfect photographer, you may need to meet with a few different ones. But knowing what questions to ask a wedding photographer when you meet with them can be daunting.
Which questions from that list of ’50 Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer’ actually matter? I’ve narrowed the list to 4 questions you should ask before booking your photographer. And the 1 question you shouldn’t (and what you should ask instead).
1. Can I see a full wedding gallery?
This is one of the most important questions to ask your wedding photographer! Most of the pictures you online are part of one giant highlight reel. And, while there’s nothing wrong with that, it doesn’t give you a proper idea of how they handle the whole wedding day.
What do those moments that didn’t make the highlight reel look like? A photographer may excel at photographing certain parts of the wedding day. They take beautiful pictures when they have complete control over the moment, including lighting and posing. But can they handle the ever changing light during the ceremony? What do they do when faced with a dreary getting ready space? These are things you need to know before booking!
And asking to see a recent full wedding gallery (or two) will answer these questions. It’ll give you and idea of what you can expect from them during moments when the lighting isn’t perfect. Or when they have no control over the situation. That way, when you receive your wedding gallery, there will be no surprises!
2. How would you describe your working style?
Usually you’ll have a pretty good idea of the photographer’s style of work from their Instagram and website. But one thing that isn’t always obvious is how they approach a wedding day. What is their working style? Do they take a photojournalistic approach, hanging back and capturing moments as they happen? Or do they take a more editorial approach: stepping in, directing, and styling moments? And, more important, which approach would you prefer on your wedding day?
For me, capturing wedding days is all about the natural emotions, radiant light, and beautiful portraits. And I find the best way to get those results is through a hybrid approach. This means I will clean up spaces so they’re free of clutter. I will choose intentional portrait locations. I will guide you into poses during your portrait time. And I will style details like it’s my job (because it is) but I let natural moments happen without interference. First looks, the ceremony, and the reception are all captured with a photo journalistic style. My goal during this time is to capture the genuine emotion of the moment and that can’t happen if I’m interfering.
There is nothing wrong with any of these approaches. The most important thing is to decide which style is best for you. If you want your photographer to blend in to the crowd, completely unseen, one with a photojournalistic style is perfect you you.
But if you prefer your wedding day look like it belongs in a magazine, a photographer with an editorial or hybrid approach will be the better choice. Now all that’s left to do is to choose.
3. What is the back-up plan if you’re unable to shoot our wedding for some unexpected reason?
This is also something that’s so important to know before booking your photographer. Plans will vary from photographer to photographer. But whatever their plan is, make sure it’s one you’re okay with. Their contract should also cover whatever plan this is. And if it doesn’t, or they don’t have a contract, you should consider that a red flag!
4. How long after our wedding should we expect to receive our gallery?
The waiting game isn’t fun, especially when it comes to your wedding pictures. And having a clear idea of when you’ll receive your images helps to manage your expectations. This is also something that the photographer’s contract should outline. If it doesn’t, that’s another red flag!
Now that we’ve covered the 4 must ask questions before saying yes to a photographer, here is the 1 question that you should never ask your photographer (and what to ask instead!)
1. What equipment do you use?
Some websites put it out there that this is a question you should ask before hiring a photographer. I disagree with that. Big time. Why? Because asking this question isn’t going to give you insight into the quality of the photographer’s work. Also, most people won’t know the difference between a 1.4 lens or a 3.5-5.6 lens (gibberish, right?!)
There have been guests at weddings with better cameras than I have. And I’m okay with that. Knowing how to use your equipment, understanding lighting, and knowing how to pose your subjects matters so much more than what you’re shooting with.
A diverse portfolio, as well as seeing full galleries, should give you an adequate idea of what to expect from your photographer.
What to ask instead: Do you carry back up equipment? The answer to this question should be yes. Your photographer should have back up equipment available to, and with them, on your wedding day. And know this will give you peace of mind that even if something happens to their main camera, they’ll have another one ready to go.
I know the list of questions to ask your wedding photographer is short, and you likely have so many more on your mind. But as long as you ask these 4 questions, you should be able to narrow down who you want to photograph your wedding. And any other questions you have for them are bonus questions 🙂
I hope this article helps you find your dream photographer!
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