Booking a photographer to capture your wedding is a huge deal, and sometimes you aren’t sure what questions to ask (And that’s totally okay! This is probably your first time planning a wedding). Below is a shortlist of important things you should be asking any photographer you’re inquiring with to make sure your wedding day will be in the best hands.
Can I see a few full galleries?
This is the first question because a seasoned photographer should be willing to show you at least a few wedding galleries. Further, I recommend asking for galleries that are similar to your wedding day so you can have an idea of how your wedding day will look in front of their lens. Don’t be turned off if your photographer has never been to your venue. This is rarely an issue, and most of the time we’ve photographed somewhere similar.
What do I do? After you inquire I like to send over a minimum of two galleries that are tailored to you. I prefer to send galleries that will help you envision how your wedding day will photograph, so if your wedding is in a barn I’ll show you weddings that have similar venues.
Are you insured? Do you have backup equipment?
INSURANCE IS SUPER FREAKING IMPORTANT and this is something you should be asking all of your vendors, not just your photographer. Many venues will not allow your photographer to step foot on their premises without insurance. You should also be making sure photographers, videographers, etc. are bringing backup equipment in case of an emergency.
Am I insured? You better believe it! I am fully insured, and my second photographer and I bring a literal arsenal of gear. I never go to a wedding with less than two cameras and I will always have a myriad of lenses and other equipment.
How will you keep my photos safe?
Its the digital age, anything can happen, but we also have so many ways to keep your files safe at our fingertips. Make sure you ask how your vendor is making sure your files are safe during the editing process and beyond!
How do I keep your photos safe? My team shoots with two cameras on a wedding day, and all of our cameras record to two memory cards at the same time. Once I get home from your wedding I’ll back your images up in multiple locations, both on and off the cloud. Your delivered gallery is live on my server for forever, but I always recommend downloading your gallery and storing on a dropbox or google drive, AND an external hard drive or flash drive. The more copies you have saved, the safer your files are. Want to know the best way to keep your photos safe off of the computer? Print them or make an album!
Do you have a backup plan in case of an emergency?
This is so important. What happens if your photographer is super sick and can’t make it to your wedding? You’ll want to make sure you’re covered in the event of an emergency.
What do I do? I have a super tight knit group of photographer colleagues that I can enlist should something happen to me. If you have a second photographer, they will take over in my place and we will find a suitable second to fill her spot. I will never assign a second photographer to your wedding that I don’t fully trust to take over if I am unable to photograph (but in 10 years and 300+ weddings, I’ve never had to worry about this!)
Can I read some reviews from past couples?
Most photographers have reviews available in at least one spot off of their website: The Knot, Google, or Yelp are good places to check out. Have a look around and see what folks have said about their experience.
Can we have a call or quick facetime?
On a typical wedding day with a first look I can spend up to 5 hours with you before your ceremony, so I feel like vibe and personality are a huge factor in choosing a photographer. I absolutely love setting up a chat with my couples before booking whenever I can. Sometimes in person meetings aren’t possible, but I feel like it’s so important to get a feel for each other since we’ll be spending so much time together on your wedding day.
Will all of my final images be fully edited?
Everyone is different. Most photographers will give you final galleries that are fully edited: this means your images are color balanced, toned, straightened, etc. Make sure you know what to expect when you receive your final product so you aren’t surprised down the road.
What do I do? I edit every single image that will be in your final gallery.
When can I expect my photos to be finished?
You should have a clear understanding of when you’ll receive your photos after your wedding. I personally deliver full galleries between 3-5 weeks, usually closer to the 3 week mark. Some folks take 6-12 weeks, others can take longer. Film processing can take longer than digital. Make sure to ask this question if the photographer does not outwardly address it (and make sure it’s in your contract, too).
What do I do? I deliver wedding galleries within 3-5 weeks, with engagement session galleries back within 1-2 weeks depending on the time of year.