So you research photographers, find the ones with a style that matches what you want with your wedding style. You email them or call them and schedule a consultation. Now what? What are good questions to ask when you actually sit down with them?
Before questions note their personality. Make sure they are someone you would want hanging around you all day on your wedding day. See if you guys are a good fit!
Where do you do your printing?
- This is important because some photographers out there print at drugstores or superstores or whatever else and it is very hard to get good image quality and consistency from a non professional printing source! They may not tell you what printing company they go through, but as long as they say that its a professional lab I would say your good. These are labs that consumers cannot use, you have to be approved by the lab in order to be able to print through them which makes you also know that your photographer really cares about her/his art. Cares enough to have it printed at the best location possible!
What would you say your photography style is?
- This might help you see if this photographer is a good match with your wedding style.
What do you use to edit?
- Photoshop (Cs3 and above IMHO) or Lightroom are good editing tools. Other things might work for other photographers but I honestly don’t know of any others that would work for me.
What type of albums do you offer?
- What are you going to do with the pictures after the wedding? Put them on facebook? The internet is an ever evolving thing and who knows what is going to change next. I would definitely look into a wedding album if I were you. Its a great way to showcase your photos in your home. One that would look good on your coffee table is a must. That way there is something for guests to look at when at your home and a great topic of conversation! Also ask if they offer parent albums. These are GREAT Christmas presents or something great for them to buy for themselves!
These next five questions were mentioned in the comment section below. I edited them a tiny bit as well as adding helpful points after. If you want to see the original please check out he comments!
1. Some photographers have plans for a set number of hours for various plans, packages, or commissions. Is there an overtime charge? If there is, is it calculated on the actual time or to the nearest what part of an hour?
- She also mentioned below to ask if there is split time. You can ask that but I do not know many wedding photographers that would offer it. The reason to that being is they still have to commit the day to you and cannot profit (or should not try to profit) on having a session in between time.
2. Are deposits refundable should the wedding be rescheduled on cancelled?
- Normally they are not, as a photographer will probably be turning down other brides after she books you, but there is always the possibility of using it for credit for a future session or wedding, so don’t be afraid to ask!
3. Is the initial money paid considered a deposit or a retainer?
- The difference usually is that a deposit is refundable and a retainer is not. However, a photographer may call it a “non-refundable deposit” to hold the date. Which technically makes it the same as a retainer but spells it out for you so there will be no miscommunications.
4. How soon will the images be ready for viewing?
- An average is anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Some wedding photographers take even longer, so it is good to ask instead of just assuming.
5. After we order our album and prints when might we expect to have them?
- I would say albums are one of the most important parts of your wedding photography. Will you be just putting your photos on facebook and getting a Snapfish album and calling it good after spending good money on a good wedding photographer? I hope you are at least considering an album to keep those memories in forever. Albums tend to take quite a bit of time as they are a specialized craft. Make sure to ask after you have picked the style of album you want. If you are ordering an album after it has been designed expect 2 – 8 weeks. If it has not been designed yet it may take longer especially because you should have the ability to approve of the design before it goes to print.
- Prints can take anywhere from a week to a month, so it is very good to ask.
Questions that are not important to ask:
How many megapixels does your camera have?
- This question is not as important as the size of the camera, types of lenses, and the sensor. Not all megapixels are created equally. Its like the 3 litre engine in a Porsche is a bit different to the 3 litre one in a work van. This is why your cell phone has an 8MP camera, but takes terrible pictures (print and size quality wise). Don’t get me wrong, I love taking photos with my iPhone and putting them into Instagram and throwing them on facebook, but I definitely wouldn’t call them archival quality. Also look at it as a size thing. The iPhone again hast a 3mm lens, a lens on a professional camera ranges a bit but for comparisons sake think 77mm. The camera’s sensor size is the most important factor in getting great image quality. You can get totally technical if you really want to. In my honest opinion the difference between a Canon and Nikon is not that much, its really how comfortable the photographer is with the camera in her/his hands. Let their work speak for itself. This also shows a tiny bit why wedding photography is a more expensive purchase in your wedding budget. A photographer has to maintain equipment, have a camera or two, and anywhere from 3-10 lenses. That doesn’t include lighting equipment and everything else in between as well.
How many pictures do you take during a wedding?
- The amount of photos given on average after a wedding range quite a bit. A good starting point is 50-100 photos an hour. However, it completely depends on how the day unfolds. You don’t want a disk of 3000 different images from your wedding, that would be completely overwhelming! Most photographers have a hard time answering this question because every wedding is special and unique. So you can totally ask this question if you want, but thats probably how I would answer it haha.
What kind of computer do you edit with?
- Doesn’t matter. I can easily say that there is no way I could edit on a PC because the format seems all wrong to me now that I’m used to a Mac. BUT, I know many a photographer that has a PC and they do great work.
Now one question that is not a fun one is “Why do you charge so much?”
- I know its a sticker shock problem when looking for a wedding photographer. But remember we are small businesses too. We only charge what we do because its the only way to make it work. As a photographer I log 100+ hours with each wedding I do from booking to wedding to editing and everything in between and after. I want to give you the absolute best experience, customer service and quality of product possible, which is why I’ve set my rates at a sustainable pace to be a full time photographer. I have a link below from a photographer that laid out her exact expenses with this business and why the cost is necessary so if your a numbers person feel free to check it out! Anything she says in there is not meant to upset anyone, just kind of laying out what being a boutique business owner (photographer) is all about. Her blog makes me double think man, why am I doing this? Oh yeah 🙂 Because its what I love :).
- and her follow up a couple days later:
And Since I don’t like to do any post without a picture here you go 🙂