I can’t be the only one here who started researching photographers the day after I got engaged. I love exploring all of the different approaches to wedding photography and envisioning what my day will look like. If I’m being totally honest, that’s how I ended up finding our photographer! I followed a photographer in Europe who posted the most magical wedding I had ever seen. It totally encapsulated everything I had pictured in my mind for what our perfect day would look like. More than just the portraits, there was a certain magic in all of the details captured. I knew immediately how I wanted my day to be captured. And in my search for our photographer, I found the most incredible team willing to travel halfway across the world with us to share in the adventure of our wedding week. I have to say – chatting with another photog made me realize just how many questions go unasked each time I meet with couples. There is so much involved in wedding planning and I’d be willing to guess that most couples aren’t super experienced in planning an event of this scale. In light of that, I’ve compiled a basic list of essential questions to bring with you next time you schedule an intro meeting with a potential photographer.
- Are you available for our date? Seems like a given but just make sure that the photographer knows well in advance the dates that you’re looking at. You don’t want to get so far down the rabbit hole only to find out they’re unavailable.
- Can we meet in person for coffee or a drink? Guys, it’s super important to meet in person or over FaceTime. You want to see if you jive well together. This person is going to be responsible for capturing some really special, intimate moments. You gotta make sure everyone’s got good chemistry together!
- Do you offer engagement sessions? The engagement session is a great opportunity to really test the waters and get comfortable with each other with a camera in the mix. You’ll learn how to take direction and your photographer will get a good feel for how to make sure everyone is super comfortable. *Make sure to check out some of my favorite shots from an engagement session below!
- How would you describe your style?Bright and airy? Dark and moody? Natural colors with minimal correction? There is no right or wrong here but you should try and have an idea of your preferences going into the conversation.
- What is your approach to wedding day photography? Everyone is looking for something different. Do you want the traditional posed photos or a more candid approach? Maybe what you’re really looking for is a photojournalistic approach where the photographer captures everything from afar instead of prompting or putting you in poses. Again, there is no wrong answer and this all comes down to personal preference but you should sign your contract with a clear understanding of what to expect.
- How can we be sure we get all of the shots we want? Every photographer is different, but if you were to ask me this in an intro meeting, I would tell you all about the questionnaire I send around a few weeks before the wedding where you detail your specific requests and get me familiar with family dynamics.
- Do you bring an assistant or second shooter? Sometimes this is an additional cost, sometimes not. It can also depend on the size of the wedding and how many hours you’re booking. Either way, you want to know for certain that you and your photog are comfortable with the number of people on the team.
- What kind of gear do you use? Do you bring your own lighting gear? Do you have backup gear in case something goes wrong? The camera does not make the photographer but, good lord, does it ever help to have quality gear. And hey, sometimes technology fails. You always want your photographer to carry a backup. Last but certainly not least: You want a photographer who knows how to work with light. Period. Full stop.
- Do you back up your photos? How many places are they backed up? The answer to that first question should ALWAYS be yes. If you ask my opinion, all RAW images should be backed up in at least three places. I personally back up my cards multiple times throughout the day. Ima say it again for the ladies and gents in the back: Technology fails. Always always always have backups.
- What’s your turnaround time? Be weary of photographers who promise a two-day turnaround time. You want your photographer to be able to work through the photos in multiple sittings with a fresh set of eyes each time. I know you want your photos ASAP but you also want quality work and it’s always worth the wait! Having said that, you should be able to expect a preview in the first week or so!
- What rights do I have to the photos? Most photographers are going to give you printing rights while retaining copyright. This is totally normal and basically allows the photographer to use select images to promote their business. You can always ask to own copyright but be prepared for an added cost.
- Can I see a full album? Don’t be shy here! You should be able to see a full wedding album to get an idea of what to expect for your own wedding!
These last three are for you! After meeting with a potential photographer, as yourself:
- Was the photographer able to comfortably answer all of my questions?
- Does it seem like the she/he is going to add to the fun of the day?
- Do I feel like this photographer going to go above and beyond to make sure the day goes smoothly?
If you answered yes to those, I’d recommend getting in touch with your photographer right away. Things book up super fast and you don’t want to go through all that only to lose out on your date!