It’s been a while since I’ve done a Tips for Clients post, so here’s a good post for those of you looking to book your wedding photographer for next year.
If you’ve read through my Tips for Clients archive, you know I advocate finding a wedding photographer who fits your wedding style. Now that you’ve done that, and figured out what kind of photography package you’re looking for, it’s time to meet with your potential photographers.
But meeting with wedding vendors is a little like going on a blind date. You want to make sure you like them, and that they like you. So, it shouldn’t be a one-sided game of 20 questions. It should be a chat between
two three people, meeting for coffee or drinks, discussing one of the most exciting events you’ll ever plan — your wedding! It’s a chance to see if you’re a good fit for each other.
1. Who will be shooting my wedding? Most photographer businesses in the Pacific Northwest are single or dual employee businesses, but there are a lot of larger photography businesses out there too. Ask who will be shooting the wedding, and see if that is going to be the person you’re meeting with. Because the connection you make with a photographer at a meeting won’t matter if they’re not the one who will be with you on your wedding day.
2. Do you have insurance? This seems like a strange question, but there are venues who require all your wedding vendors to have liability insurance. I’ve never had a venue ask me for proof of it, but it’s important to know. Chance are, if your photographer doesn’t have insurance, they’re either really new to photography (which can be a red flag if you’re worried about consistency and professionalism) or are trying to do it all under the table. Obviously, this is a mostly ethical situation, but it can indicate that other things aren’t on the up and up either. And if someone gets injured, or a guest breaks your photographer’s camera, it’s best to know that there is insurance to take care of everything.
3. Can I see a sample contract? I personally bring a sample contract to all my consultations, but not all my couples want to see it. Every photographer has a different contract, and there might be issues in the contract that you will have questions about. Even if you don’t get to see a contract at the consultation, please please read it thoroughly before signing. A good contract should protect both the photographer and the clients (that’s you!) from anything going wrong. Contracts also will often have details like payment options, penalties, and delivery schedules that are important to know about too.
4. How do you approach shooting a wedding? This is a better way of asking What is your style? We often try to give a single word answer to the “style” question, but asking someone how they approach shooting a wedding is asking them to talk more about it. Maybe they won’t pose you at all. Maybe they like to set up a series of shots with off camera lighting. I tend to keep a low profile and shoot things as they happen, except when working directly with specific groups — the couple, the bridal party, the family formals — and then I pose the heck out of you and your people.
5. What gear do you bring? Do you have backup gear? I hesitated putting this question in here, but it is important. It doesn’t matter if they shoot Canon or Nikon, but it is good to know that a photographer knows their gear. And make sure they’re bringing more than one camera and one lens. What would they use to shoot your wedding if something broke?
Other Questions. There are other questions that might be important to you, including some of the ones I’ve been asked below.
— How do you handle low light situations?
— Do you have time requirements and/or limits on bridal party, family, or bride & groom portraits?
— Do you mind if my (insert relationship here) takes photos too?
— I’m having a (Jewish, Catholic, etc) wedding, are you comfortable shooting that?
— Do you shoot wedding alone? With an assistant? With a second shooter?
What questions are important to you? Feel free to add them in the comments below! If you’re interested in having Emily Wenzel Photography shoot your wedding or event, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the contact form above to schedule your consultation today.