5 MUST ASK QUESTIONS FOR YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER.
but make them not basic or found on every wedding Pinterest board ever.
Your wedding day is a day you want to remember forever and share with the people that couldn't be there! YOU get to choose how it is captured and that is a big task. But, don't worry because this month for The Lillich Collective Blog I am giving you 5 questions to ask your wedding photographer BEFORE booking them that will help you decide if they're the right fit for the job. This is what I call the Who, What, When, Where, Why method. And I promise this is better than any other “questions for your wedding photographer” list you can find on Pinterest.
Oh and did I mention I am a wedding photographer? So…you can trust this advice. Ill also give you an example of my answer and what the RED FLAG answers are because even in the most sought after, best, most expensive photographers there are some.
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Let me preface this list by saying, obviously you should check if your date is available and of course you should check if they're in your price range. Assuming you have answered yes to both of those questions, these should be next on your list! Let's start with who…
Who will you be bringing with you during my day? Have you worked with them before? Do you work well together, can YOU (the photographer) trust them to do their job even if you're not there?
MY ANSWER: I will be bringing an assistant. Her name is Elaina, we have been bestfriends for 13+ years. She is me in another body. She knows what I want even when I don't sometimes. We work together very well and because that trust is there we can make it fun while doing it.
Now, there can be a million great answers. And this may not apply to you if your photographer is a lone rider. But this question is so important so you have full trust that your photographer is bringing someone they trust and can count on.
Hear me out. The “red flag” answers on this one are a little tricky because sometimes photographers will hire a second shooter that they haven't met before, whether that be to allow the 2nd to get experience or even to intern. And that's not a bad thing, it's totally by preference. So, if you get an answer like “ I have not worked with them, but they have beautiful work and great reviews” I would follow it up with the question “Are you going to inform them of YOUR rules and guidelines and what I (the bride/groom) am looking to have captured during my day beforehand?”
I will never discourage you from allowing your photographer to bring a new photographer with them as a second shooter because we all have to learn somewhere. But I will encourage you to be brave and ask questions to learn about the procedure they took when choosing their 2nd.
What does a “normal” wedding day look like for you? And what is your approach to the day?
MY ANSWER: *Describes my procedure* (I arrive 15-25 minutes early to familiarize myself with the venue and so on and so forth). I take a really detailed and aware approach to weddings. While capturing the moments you've asked for is my #1 priority, I also heavily rely on my naturally observant personality to capture the moments you never knew you needed.
And of course just like the “WHO” there are a million amazing answers. But here are a few things to pay attention to when listening to their answers. As they describe a “normal” wedding day (I put that in quotes because…there are no two weddings the same) be paying attention to how they are talking about all the moments you feel are the most important. If they are rushing over the morning time and saying things like “we will catch a few getting ready pictures when we can” that is obviously a red flag for what you're wanting. Your photographer should be somewhat familiar with how long it takes them to do what. And hopefully they will allot for buffer time. So nothing is “rushed” or skipped over.
When should I expect to hear from you along this process?
MY ANSWER: So because your wedding is on __/__/__ you can expect to hear from me in __ months/days/weeks about your contract.
__ months/days/weeks about your questionnaire and _months/weeks out from your wedding to finalize your timeline.
Answers will vary on this based on your photographer's procedure. But a personal recommendation, if your wedding is a year+ away. You should be hearing from your photographer once a month or once every 2 months. Whether that just be their email subscription or a check in to talk about investment dates or upcoming deadlines. Now obviously if your wedding is two years away it's going to be hard for your photographer to come up with something every month to “check in '' with, so give grace where it's needed. However, if your photographer plans to do everything like a questionnaire, finalizing the schedule, going over the day's plans all in the month of your wedding…say it with me, RED FLAG.
Where and how long will my pictures be stored with you?
MY ANSWER: The SD cards used during your wedding day will remain in my possession until the end of time they are unedited RAW images. They will be put on an external hard drive for up to 3 years. On my computer software for up to 2 years and on my website forever.
Shockingly, ;) there are a million answers to this. So many I couldn't even begin to narrow it down for another example. But I can tell you what you DON'T want to hear. “I will store them in your gallery, the others will be deleted and your SD card will be wiped. The only copy you will have is the one on my website that will expire in a year.”
And listen, If this is how a photographer does it there is no hate towards that. But with these being your WEDDING pictures im going to keep them as long as I possibly can. So that YOU can have peace of mind in catastrophes like a house fire, tornado etc. So, take number 4 as kind of a personal preference from a photographer.
Why should I choose you over another photographer with a similar style and price range?
MY ANSWER: This is my favorite question. While I will always encourage you to explore your options and see who you work best with because your day is all about you, I always hope and dream that it will be me. My client experience, my devotion, my attention to detail and my encouragement sets me apart from a photographer with similar style and price. When you become a bride or groom with Exalted Photography Co I will make it my priority to make your experience nothing short of helpful and encouraging. This is the business of love, therefore I will deliver nothing but.
As unbiased as this can be…There isnt a better answer than mine! Obviously I'm joking, there are competitors. With that being said the RED FLAG for this one is obvious. If they can't answer, don't answer, or won't answer…RUN FOR THE HILLS.
As a photographer I can tell you, this market is saturated with a million amazing photographers. But when you find a photographer that fits your personality it's like peanut butter and jelly on soft bread. It just works. If you ask your photographer these questions in the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY method. Not only will you get to know their answers but their personality will shine through and you'll be able to tell if yall will work well together.