So now you’ve had a chance to ask yourself some important questions about the photography on your day, here’s a list of 10 things to look for or ask of a potential wedding photographer!
1. Take a look at their portfolio.
The first thing that you should look at is the photographer’s portfolio. Do you like their style? This is of course one of the most important points to keep in mind. Don’t forget that your wedding day is about you – the couple! However, if you see a style that you like and you have a photographer in mind, don’t hesitate to ask the photographer you’re looking at if they can create images with that style in mind – the best photographers will know how to shoot something, even if it doesn’t fall in their own personal “style”.
2. Find out what products they offer.
Photographers offer different products, ranging anywhere from 40-image handcrafted albums to high-resolution print-it-yourself digital files. Ask what your photographer offers and how much it costs. Some photographers will not offer digital files, or will just offer low-resolution social-media sized images.
3. Find some reviews or ask for written references.
Ask the photographer for references and/or reviews. Often, photographers will have a testimonials page right on their website. This will give you a great insight into the photographer themselves, as well as the overall level or quality of service they provide. You can usually search the web for the studio or business name and find some background information as well.
4. Check with the photographer to see if your date is available.
Remember, it may not always be – be sure to ask if there is a second photographer who might be able to fill your request if the principle photographer can’t. Often, they have been extensively trained in the style you’re looking for, and will be able to deliver great quality at a reduced price.
5. Does the photographer always bring an assistant? Does it cost extra if you want a second photographer?
Not all photographers will have an assistant or second photographer. However, in certain cultures, with certain guest numbers, and with complicated weddings, it is essential that the main photographer have someone there to help organize the group photos as well as capture the candids of your guests. This way, you also get a second angle on all the most important parts of your day – the ceremony, for example. Some photographers will charge extra for a second photographer who has been trained and mentored by the main photographer. You can ask the main photographer how long the second photographer has been working with them, and/or how many weddings they’ve done together. This will give you a good idea of how smoothly your day will go thanks to the experience of a team working together.
6. What process is required to book them and sign the contract?
Having a contract with your wedding vendors is important, but one of the essential contracts is with your photographer. This is the person with whom you trust the memories of some of the best hours of your life. The contract gives you ease of mind in the form of a back up plan if anything prevents the photographer from being able to cover your day.
7. Does the photographer have liability and/or equipment insurance?
Liability insurance protects the photographer from liability resulting in injuries of themselves or others, and equipment insurance protects the photographer from loss of gear resulting from several different factors. Both of these are important to know as a client because it means that your photographer is thinking about the possibilities – good and bad – of what might happen on a shoot, even if it’s not your wedding.
8. How long will after the wedding will the images be ready?
Everyone wants to have their images as soon as possible! Knowing this upfront will allow you to relax until the images are ready. If you purchase extra products (such as a wedding album or canvas print), the turn-around time may be longer than if you’re just purchasing the files. Images might be ready as soon as two weeks after the wedding, but prints and/or albums may take an additional four to six weeks.
9. How much of a deposit is required and what is the payment schedule?
A deposit will let you secure your wedding day in the photographer’s schedule, and the deposit can depend on the full cost of the coverage – but some photographers have a flat deposit across the board. In the planning stages of your wedding, budgeting is important, and being able to know how much upfront cost there will be, as well as when the rest of the invoice is due, will help you stay organized.
10. Is there a refund or cancellation policy? If so, how does it work?
What if a family emergency comes up and you have to change your date? Unfortunately, life happens. Make sure you know the photographer’s policy up front, just in case something bad happens. This way you can be prepared and know how the photographer will react if you’re faced with a difficult situation where you have to cancel.