Top 10 Questions to ask before Choosing a Wedding Photographer by Dave Lakins

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Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Questions are GOOD! The more questions you ask, the more involved you become, the more informed both you and your photographer are, the smoother the process will be.

I love it when I get ‘fussy’ brides. It means that I know exactly what they want, they feel assured I know what they want – the more demanding the bride before the day, the better I like it!

So here’s my top ten questions to ask:

1 – Will you adjust your style to suit what I want?

Answer – within reason. Any professional photographer would rather pass a non-fitting client on to a more-suited colleague than try and be something they are not, just to keep a job. But flexibility is of course essential, too! Be sure before you meet that the photographer’s style is what you are looking for – and if you change your mind whilst viewing more of their work, do not be afraid to say so. It saves everyone time!

2 – What is your method of working on the day?

Answer – there is no right answer to this, but your photographer should have a very clear and experienced idea of the layout of a wedding day, how they will cover each part, which parts they will control and which parts they will allow to flow around them. As long as they’re not hesitating and fudging over what actually will happen, it is down to your judgement to decide whether their answer matches your wishes.

3 – What is your back up plan?

Ask for details – its easy to say ‘oh, don’t worry, I have it covered’, but really, what will they do if they break their leg the day before your wedding? You need to believe they have genuine back up available. Working with other good local photographers also means they are respected professionally, which is a great testimonial in itself.

4 – How long does the photographer anticipate the family formals and the bridal formals will take?

Answer – Again, there is no right or wrong answer to this – just a matching of your own expectations. There is no point in hiring a photographer who takes the most beautiful bridal portrait images if it takes them over an hour of posing to get them, when you only want to leave your guests for 15 minutes. Equally, if those posed beautiful images are what you desire, don’t choose a pure photojournalist photographer who will only take 5 minutes.

5 – How many weddings have you shot?

There are no guarantees of course, but do a job often enough and you can’t help but learn it well. And how many as opposed to how long is a far better indicator – your photographer could have been a brilliant studio photographer for 20 years, but only shot 10 weddings in that time. Meaning they’re a great photographer, but very inexperienced at wedding photography.

There is also the practice of ‘second shooting’ which is where photographers gain experience by tagging along at a wedding and assisting a ‘main’ photographer. It’s a great way to create a fab portfolio of wedding images, but working your own wedding as a main photographer is an entirely different experience.

6 – Will there be a contract of the services to be provided?

Answer – should be an emphatic yes! You should require a contract from your photographer that details what services they will be providing, pricing, cancellation policy, delivery expectations etc. A contract is created for your protection, and for the wedding photographer’s protection. Be wary of investing your cash in photographers that “don’t usually bother with a formal contract.”

7 – Do you have insurance?

Answer – It may seem an insignificant thing now, but professional wedding photographers should have the proper insurance for their business. Insurance means that if anything hideous occurs, the photographer is insured to restage the photographs for you. It also protects the photographer against equipment theft, of course. But most importantly to you it provides liability protection in case Aunty Mildred trips over the photographer’s bag and breaks her hip. If a wedding photographer does not have insurance, chances are that they are either new to the industry, or simply aren’t taking their business seriously.

8 – How long do you work on the day?

Answer – again, no right or wrong answer, but one you need to weigh up in importance to you personally. Many photographers charge extra for the evening, some have strict hour limits, some will work on to their own discretion. It doesn’t really matter, you just need to know in advance.

9 – What about the pictures?

Answer – When you ask to see a sample of wedding albums, makes sure you see a complete album of photographs from one wedding, rather than a collection of good pictures from a selection of weddings. Look carefully at the photos to check how shots are set up – can you see a selection of tidy, well organised group shots, and are all of the group positioned in the shot, or have people been missed off at the edges? Do the people in the photographs look relaxed, happy and comfortable? It is helpful to check not only the bride and groom but also the friends and relations in the photos.

10 – Would you feel happy owning your version of the pictures you are shown?

A question that only you can answer. If the answer is “yes” then you have probably found your perfect wedding photographer.

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September 11, 2014 |

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