13 Questions to ask your WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
Today, I’m talking about 13 questions to ask your potential wedding photographer to make sure he/she is a perfect fit for your wedding day. This article is more intended for engaged couples rather than apprentice photographers. But that’s Okay! You have the right to be apprentice photographers and still be interested in my article. The important point to remember is, be firm and direct on what you want the photographer to achieve. They must understand your needs and wants for your wedding day, so that they can deliver the perfect result. Do you want to be completely satisfied by the work of your photographer or just be happy your wedding day has been captured in photos?
Do you feel relaxed and at ease with this photographer? Remember, you will be spending many intense and intimate moments with this person who will be capturing one of the most important days of your lives. You want to look fresh, vibrant and beautiful in your photos!
Ask to see previous wedding photos, wedding albums, wedding blogs from other married couples, this is important as you need to trust his /her feeling and have confidence in this person.
I Have 13 important questions to raise.
Here we will ask some questions that may seem a little simple and at some point silly, but they can be easily overlooked for this exact reason! We can become completely consumed by the stresses that entail an organisation of a wedding day.
I have classified the questions into two categories:
Category 1 : The photo shoot and sequence of the events during the Wedding day including; Engagement photos; Preperation of the bride and groom; The first look; Wedding ceremony; Couple photos; Family photos; Group photos; Throwing the wedding bouquet; Wedding reception; Cutting the wedding cake; Toasting the Bride and Groom; The first dance as Husband and Wife; Dance floor party time; Photo booth and most importantly, Trash the dress.
Category 2 : Wedding contract; this should outline all the financial and legal requirements between the photographer and the wedding couple. This important document protects the couple and the photographer and cements the contract between the two parties and leaves no question unanswered. Making a contract is a very important service that outlines the photographers’ committement to the importance of the wedding day and sorts out the amateur and proffesional phtographers’. The contract should include; Pricing, (this should be defined with the price of photographer, retouch and a construction of an album); Quality of photographs (HD, LD use for social media); Quantity of photos (this ofcourse depends on the length of time the photographer is shooting your wedding and the number of photos requested); Quality of the photos (the photographer can promise a number of photos taken but he must deliver quality not just 10 times the same photo!);Delivery of photos (USB key, Dvd, online gallery, with or without a logo); Timing, time to deliver the photos (when will you recieve your photos, between 1 – 2 months is reasonable); Use of photographs (by the couple and the photographer); the life of the photos(how long will they be saved and where)
Trust that making a contract is very important for any service, a contract with your caterer or wedding venue is just as important as the photographer. In short, you must be happy with the contract and if it doesn’t fit all the criteria you are looking for, ask if it can be changed to suit both parties.
So let’s get down to the questions!
Q1) What type of style are you looking for in a wedding photographer?
This can be defined before you meet a photographer, so think about it carefully, don’t waste your time or the photographers’ time. Are you looking for an experienced and professional photographer? I have over 15 years experience as a wedding photographer from France to Mexico to Australia.
Are you having a Classic wedding, Bohemian wedding, Rustic wedding, Modern wedding or even an elopement, this will effect the style and choice of your photographer.
Q2) What price range are looking at? Give yourselves are reasonable budget. Don’t choose a photographer that is way over your price range and think, “I can cut some corners by only having the photographer until a certain time, meaning you could miss out on photo opportunities like throwing the wedding bouquet, cutting the wedding cake, the first dance or the photo booth. Also you don’t want to choose a photographer well below your budget to save on costs and be disappointed at the end result because a cheap photographer is not always a professional photographer. Remember, “once your day is passed you cannot turn back time”!
Q3) Be explicit. Tell your photographer how your day will be planned. Timing is of the essence! Please communicate with your photographer, he/she needs a timetable of your wedding day to help your day run smoothly. Are there any themes, important guests, family, anything in particular you would like the photographer to shoot. Is it a Beach wedding, Garden wedding, Nautical wedding? Is it a morning wedding, afternoon wedding or evening wedding to capture the different details of the natural light. Is it a summer wedding or winter wedding? You must think about the climate and possiblity of rain and cyclones in Far North Queensland. Do you have a colour theme? Like my own wedding on the beach in Mexico, everyone including the bride and groom were dressed in white, it was a Boho Chic White wedding! These are all details you must converse with your photographer. Does he/she have the experience?
Q4) I personally have two important photo opportunities I like to use at all weddings. The first is to set up a Photo Booth at the wedding reception.
“Why would you choose to have a photo booth at your wedding reception?”
This is a wedding studio with accessories where the bride and groom plus all of the wedding guests’ can interact and put on some crazy outfits and have some fun. It firstly creates a fun addition to any wedding for everyone by creating some entertainment and secondly gives the bride and groom a gift at the end of the wedding reception with photos from the photo booth printed directly into an album signed by the guests. The guests’ can also take home a photo too! “What a lovely gift at the end of the day.”
Q5) The second important photo opportunity is to shoot Trash the Dress.
“Why would you choose to make a Trash the Dress photo session?”
This is a photo shoot taken after your big day. It is a chance to have a bit of fun and to really enjoy a second couples’ photo shoot after the wedding day, when there are no limits on timing, no guests’ waiting for you, no stress and no problem about getting your wedding dress dirty, your day is over, let’s let loose! Take those beautiful shots you only see in magazines of newlyweds enjoying a plunge in the swimming pool or in the ocean. There are plenty of fantastic opportunites waiting for you here in Far north QLD. Beautiful beaches along the coast from Mission beach, through to Cairns and Port Douglas and even up further to the Daintree and Cape Tribulation. We could try a shoot at Crystal Cascades, enjoying the fresh cool rivers and waterfalls or down to the Babinda Boulders. Several freshwater lakes on the Atherton Tablelands such as Lake Barrine, Lake Etcham or Lake Tinaroo. Why not combine your photo shoot with a trip on Down Under Dive Evolution to the Great Barrier Reef (Saxon reef, Norman reef or Hastings reef) in my opinion the “best reef boat” in all of the Cairns Marina! Plenty of swimming pools within some of the hotels and resorts like The Shangri-la Hotel, Cairns, The Reef Hotel Casino, Peppers Beach club and Spa Palm Cove, The Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple, Cayman Villas and Niramaya Villas, Port Douglas to name but a few. We can even shoot in a private swimming pool if you are a little shy! This really is your chance to do something unique and special that you will talk about for a lifetime.
Q6) How many wedding photographs will we receive? This is an important question because we all know the saying “Quantity does not mean Quality”. When I shoot a wedding, I must take into account the amount of time I have to shoot the wedding and the explication of what is requested by the bride and groom. I could not make a promise of giving my customer 3000 photos if I only have a 2 hour shoot and I would not make a promise of 100 photos if I have a 6 hour shoot. It all has to be relative, however a good guide would be between a shoot of 3-4 hours 1000 photos and a shoot between 5-6 hours 2000 photos. This should always be cosidered for each individual.
Q7) How will my photos be delivered? It is important to know if you will receive your photos in High Definition or Low definition. It impacts greatly on how you want to have your photos presented. If you are wanting to have a large wall print mounted in your home, you must make it clear with your photographer that the photos must be rendered in HD. If you are wanting an album then it is not so important. If you need for media usage such as Instagram or Facebook then they are better in LD.
Q8) How will I receive the photos?
Your photos can be given to you on Dvd, on a USB key, online photo gallery or via an internet transfer. Also ask whether they will be with a company logo/signature or without. It is important because like the previous question if you want to have a poster size print on your wall, you don’t want to have a large logo advertising the photography company!
Q9) When will we receive the photos?
It largly depends on the amount of photos, retouching and the sheer size of the wedding and the season. A general estimation is about 1 month you could expect the return of wedding photos, ready to be printed and retouched.
Q10) Will our wedding photos be ours?
This is a very important question because in some countries like the U.S.A there are some photographers that deliver the wedding photographs to their customers’ with a clause stating the photographs will be under the ownership of the photographer and the customer only has the rights to use for personal printing and may not be used on social media. The customer has no rights to use their own photographs for advertising or commercial use. The photographer has the rights to use the photos for advertising and social media.
I always ask my customers’ if they are ok with me using their photographs for advertising and social media and if YES, I ask them to sign a clause. The customers’ photographs will always belong to the customer.
Q11) How long will the photographer keep a hard copy of our wedding photos?
This is important for the customer because in the chance of a cyclone or flood which happens quite often in FNQ the customer may not have time to take their precious memories with them in an emergency situation. There is also the possibility of theft or fire. Even just a hard drive or USB no longer functioning. I as a photographer keep a hard back up of all my customers’ wedding photographs for up to 5 years.
Q12) What happens if the wedding is not running to schedule?
As we all know, weddings are usually late. If a photographer has a timetable where it states 11pm cutting of the wedding cake and it is now 11:30pm and the wedding cake will commence at 11:45pm, it is common courtesy for the photographer to hold that promise and shoot the cutting of the cake even if it is one hour late.
In short, it’s interesting to talk about beforehand with the photographer and that’s what I do. Generally the customer will pay a certain amount to reserve the date. This is called a deposit, and this is what makes the final reservation and then later I ask to be paid just before the ceremony.
Sometimes it is a little difficult to chase after the bride and groom to collect the money once the wedding is over.
Q14) What happens in the even of a cancellation?
The customer decides to cancel their marriage. Are we getting our money back? Are we not getting our money back? It is to be discussed with the photographer in general, usually the deposit is not refundable, but hey that’s to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
What happens if the photographer cancels ? Imagine the photographer has a serious illness or he/she may not be able to arrive for other reasons. There could be a natural disaster> The photographer should have all these systems in place to deal with any situation.