So, you are getting married, congratulations! What to Ask Your Wedding Photographer – our ever-so handy, but slightly long article
All of a sudden you need to become an expert in all things weddings; and you will. I promise, it’s not as daunting as it seems. Our little guide will tell you all you what to ask your wedding photographer before you book them.
You’ll be meeting suppliers, trying cake… trying on dresses, arguing about colour schemes/flowers/favours and wondering if you really do need the two dressed up Lamas attending your day. Seriously, this is a thing now, or if you have the budget for a Magician (you do, and you won’t regret it – forget the Lamas).
But the chances are you’ve never had to speak to a professional wedding photographer before. I’ve often said, wedding photographers can be the weirdest of all your wedding suppliers.
And, because they tend to be with you from the start of your wedding day to at least the first dance (although I stay on until your last dance. That way I get to photograph all that terrible ‘ties around your head, air guitarists’ drunken, yager bombed fuelled dancing), getting the right wedding photographer is crucial. And it’s not just about the pictures.
Of course, they need to be able to capture your wedding day the way YOU want them to (not the way they want to). But also they need to be able to either disappear into the background of your wedding or at the very least get on with you, your family and the wannaby ‘moves like Jagger’ revellers at the end of your celebrations.
So, what’s next?
You need a wedding photographer with experience, who knows what the running order of a day will be, and who has the confidence to persuade people that they really ought to be in a photograph, rather than getting another glass of champagne.
So, here are my top ten things you should know, do and ask your potential wedding photographer – before you book them.
No: 1. Meet your wedding photographer. Actually, meet at least four!
You may have found your photographer online, via recommendation or attended a wedding fair. That’s great, but before you decide to book, go and meet them and have an initial consultation.
I always insist we meet, away from a wedding fair, usually in my studio. So we have a proper chance to chat and to see if we are the right fit for each other. We’ll also look through albums and examples of my work. And during my initial meetings, I always encourage my clients to go and meet other photographers. It’s not that I don’t want to work with you, it’s just that I would be doing you a disservice if I insisted that I am the ONLY photographer you should look at.
Be wary of photographers who insist you sign up there and then. Trust your gut feeling on this one.
No: 2. Tell your photographer what you want, what you really, really want!
This is your day and your wedding. And although your photographer can advise, they should also take into account what you want. Whether that be the style of photography, the coverage or the way you’d like the images presented.
During our meeting (tip no: 1), I’ll get an idea of the style of wedding you’ll be having and how I would ideally approach it. However, I welcome you to show me Pinterest boards, and I love it when a couple have a clear idea of the images they like and want.
Photographers shouldn’t be put off by demanding brides or grooms, and how ever lovely you both are, this is your wedding so please unleash your inner BrideZilla or Groomonster! We only get to photograph YOUR wedding once, so it has to be perfect!
No: 3. Look through complete client galleries.
This will bore you both senseless as they feature other peoples’ wedding. But this is a crucial step to deciding if your wedding photographer has not only photographed a full wedding (some photographers set up a business having just attended portfolio building courses), but if they’ve photographed at your venue. Tiny hint / plug – visit my venue portfolio page and look through some of thee most stunning venues in and around Cambridgeshire.
If your photographer isn’t able to let you look through some complete galleries, then perhaps look for another photographer.
Don’t get me wrong, if they are just starting out and they can demonstrate to you they have the confidence to shoot your special day the way YOU want it photographed, then ok… But they must be honest about the lack of complete galleries. That way, it’s up to you to decide.
No: 4 Check their credentials – What To Ask Your Wedding Photographer
Testimonials should link to real weddings or real shoots featured throughout their site. That way you limit the chances that the testimonial isn’t real.
Make sure your photographer is insured. Not only will this protect you and your guests, but some venues simply will not allow uninsured suppliers through their door. Finding out that your photographer isn’t insured on the morning of your wedding is too late.
Personally, I don’t really hang out on Facebook, and don’t promote my business page as much as I should. But if that’s your thing, then look at the reviews but don’t rely completely on the reviews (good or bad), trust top tip no: 10!
No: 5. Get a contract
Get a contract, signed by both parties from ALL your wedding suppliers, but especially your wedding photographer.
Contracts are tedious, I get that, but they are in place to not only protect both parties, but they also list all that you will receive and ensure your expectations are met.
If your ‘professional’ photographer doesn’t do or have a contract, then that would set some alarm bells ringing. Also, if you take out wedding insurance (which you should as it’s so inexpensive), and your photographer didn’t have a contract in place (or insurance), then your wedding insurance could become void if you claim against your photographer.
Wow… I almost bored myself on this one. Yes, this tip is a boring one, but an essential one.
No: 6. Walk away from the ‘Diva Photog’… Choose someone you’d be happy to have at your wedding day.
Remember when I said that wedding photographers can be the weirdest of all your suppliers. Sadly, I meant it.There’s only room for one diva on your wedding day. And that’s YOU, and possibly the person you are marrying.
We do an important job, but we do that important job for you, not for our portfolios or our egos. And we should tailor our approach to your requirements.
We are not shooting for Vogue, we are shooting something more important, your wedding. And that Diva Photographer has to spend the day with you both as well as your friends and family. You don’t want an over excited diva at your wedding!
No: 7. Dot the ‘I’ and lower case ‘j’s’ – what’s included and when!
If their contract doesn’t stipulate what is included, and when it will ALL be delivered then get this in writing (email is fine), but make sure you have a list of all that you will receive and some form of timeline.
Clarify what is included regarding the digital files and their format and usage. Find out if you will be getting the high-resolution image files. I have heard of super cheap wedding photographers that will only supply low resolution files, unless you want to ‘upgrade’ to the full resolution images files at a later date and for a lot more money.
Personally, I include full resolution files as well as standard (slightly lower resolution) files and I never water mark (put a logo on) the files. So you can share, email and print to your hearts content.
No: 8. Let’s plan your wedding day photography together
Everything I do during your wedding day is planned, not because I am a control freak (but I am), but because I simply do not want you spending all of your day in front of the camera. Don’t get me wrong, I am very jovial during the day to ensure that I make everyone feel at ease in front of the camera, but behind the scenes everything is planned. I’ll banter with the groomsmen and flirt with the bridesmaids… But I work hard to ensure that everything is planned.
Which is why during our meetings I find out as much as I can about your day. I’ll ask you to send in a formal group shot list
Even if your photographer doesn’t ‘do plans’, it’s in your interest to share your timeline and maybe come up with your own list of the formal groups shots (have a look at this little article on wedding formal group shots). Seriously, it’s your wedding and you should be celebrating, not standing in front of an unorganised camera for three hours.
No: 9 – If in doubt, try a pre-wedding shoot
It’s always a great idea to book a pre-wedding shoot with your photographer. Look, I appreciate that everyone hates having their photo taken… But think of this more as an opportunity to go for a walk with your loved one (and an annoying photographer).
Typically, my clients get between 50 – 100 gorgeous images in their pre-wedding gallery. And you’ll also get a gorgeous signing mount for your wedding too. So, it’s totally worth it. AND you’ll get some helpful hints on posing which will help you and your partner shine in every photograph you appear in from now on.
Shameful plug alert: Visit our pre-wedding & engagement shoot portfolio, here.
No: 10 Trust your gut… It’s almost always right
So you’ve asked your questions and checked out the client galleries! Now, I’m going to ask you to trust your gut instinct.
Ask yourself is this photographer right for us? And trust your gut instinct. You may never book professional photography services, but that doesn’t matter. This is YOUR wedding, and everything has to be right. And if your photographer doesn’t seem as excited about your day as you, if they don’t seem to care, or if they seem ‘divarish’ or a little obnoxious, then book someone else for your day. The market is saturated with talented, happy friendly photographers who’d love the opportunity to shoot your day. You don’t need to settle, and you can have what you want. Trust me (and your gut) on this one.
Bonus Tip, you thought you’d reached the end, but I wanted to add my bonus, extra uber important tip.
Get the photographer to stay past the first dance, even if you have to pay them extra.
As part of my service (and because I don’t get out much), I stay almost until the end of your celebrations.
Most photographers stay until a milli-second after your first dance – this is fine, but your wedding doesn’t end the moment you first dance ends. So, my advice would be to ask/encourage/pay your wedding photographer to stay a while. That way they’ll capture some of the funniest shots of your wedding.
The feedback I’ve received from my amazing clients is that those images of people ‘trying’ to dance, the shots of blokes who should know better but insist on wearing their ties around their heads, and the images of the bridesmaids, who have found their inner dancing queen, are the best shots and the shots that they remember and are so glad that there was a mad, over excited photographer on the dance floor to capture the feeling, the emotion and the embarrassing dance moves.
What to Ask Your Wedding Photographer…It’s the end…
It’s the end of our little guide, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey.
So, you’ll look through the galleries, and be demanding and are maybe still thinking about dressed up lamas… but you have got it to the end of this guide, so thank you.
You’re almost an expert on choosing a wedding photographer! But you’ll still have a tonne of questions, so please do drop me an email and ask away, even if you decide not to book me, don’t let that stop you asking questions!
And as a tiny thank you for getting this far, I’d like to offer you a 50% discount on a pre-wedding shoot, whether or not you decide to book me or not. Simply use this code: Guide10.
Thank you for reading this guide, I wish you the very best for your wedding day and whoever you decide to have as your wedding photographer, I truly hope you’ll treasure those images for the rest of your lives.
Some handy Links…
Visit our supplier page to read and find out about the very best wedding suppliers in Cambridgeshire.
Fancy visiting a wedding fair? Visit our Cambridge Wedding Fair page to find out more details.
Still want the dressed up Lama’s? Seriously? Click here.