10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Photographer
words by | Eve Green
Hiring the right wedding photographer should be a top priority for every bride. Not only will you be spending your entire wedding day with the photographer, you will spend the rest of your life with the photo memories of your special day. Once you have settled on your top wedding photographer contenders, consider asking the following questions to help you decide which photographer is the perfect fit for you and your fiancé.
1. Am I able to meet my photographer in person before booking?
Diana Clayton, owner of Swatch Studios, offered us this important tip for hiring the right wedding photographer. Diana says, “We highly suggest meeting the actual photographer who will shoot your wedding in person before booking a company. It’s not just about finding someone who can take nice photos. Your wedding photographer is there for 8, 10, 12 hours straight interacting with you, your friends and your family the whole day. You want to know that you have a good connection with that person and that you are not going to feel uncomfortable having them around on the most important day of your life. We find it extremely important that we build a relationship with our couples leading up to the big day so that they are that much more comfortable with us taking photos of them all day!"
2. What is your style of photography?
You will probably find yourself drawn to certain style of photography. Popular wedding photography styles include digital, film, documentary, classic, dramatic, and portraiture. Hiring a photographer whose style specialty you love is one of the most important factors to ensure you are pleased with your wedding photos.
3. How would you describe your working style?
Some brides want a photographer who is unobtrusive and will blend into the background on the day of their wedding. Other brides prefer a photographer who will take charge by helping corral the wedding party and staging many of the shots. There is no right or wrong working style, but you should choose a photographer who best fits your vision and needs.
4. What package options are available and what is included?
Before you hire a wedding photographer and choose a photography package, you need to know and understand what you are getting. To ensure you are getting the best deal when comparing package fees, determine whether prints, digital images, albums, or engagement photos are included. If engagement photos aren’t included, many photographers will offer a discount on the engagement photo session when you book your wedding.
5. Will the lead photographer or an associate be taking my wedding photos?
If a photographer has multiple employees on staff, it’s possible an associate could be the one taking your wedding photos instead of the lead photographer. When scheduling the interview make sure the photographer who will be taking your photos is there to meet with you because you want to ensure your personalities mesh. If having anyone but the lead photographer take your photos is a deal breaker, make sure this is added to your contract before you sign. Keep in mind however, if the lead photographer is not available to take your photos, you shouldn’t necessarily move onto another studio. The photographer has a standard to uphold and has most likely put a lot of time and effort into hiring qualified associates that fit their required level of professionalism and style.
6. How many hours does our package cover?
Knowing how long your photographer will be taking photos will help you plan your wedding day schedule. If you want the photographer to capture every moment of the day from hair and makeup to the end of the reception, you need to ensure the hours in your chosen package allow for full coverage of the day. If, however, you don’t care to have the fun “getting ready” moments captured, or perhaps the cake cutting is the last moment you want to be photographed, you may be able to hire the photographer for a shorter amount of time. Don’t forget to ask if the photographer charges overtime, and if so, what that cost would be.
7. Do you have any videographer recommendations?
If you hire a videographer, your photographer will undoubtedly be working closely with them. Experienced photographers will have worked with videographers many times before and will be able to provide recommendations upon request. As the photographer and videographer must coordinate, it should be a priority to find two professionals who are compatible.
8. Can I provide you with a list of specific shots we would like to have taken?
Many photographers welcome a list of specific images the couple would like to have taken, from bridal portraits and “first look” images to photos of each respective family. Keep in mind however, if you want photojournalistic or documentary style photos to keep the list of shots short, which will help preserve the candid nature of the photos you desire.
9. What rights will I have to the wedding images?
When it comes to your wedding photos, copyright can be tricky. This is a very important topic to cover before hiring your photographer. Don’t be surprised if your photographer retains the copyright, as it is an industry standard to do so. Provisional releases allow you as the bride to print copies of photos, post images to your social media accounts, and make your own photo books. Be sure your contract specifies that you will have personal use rights on the photos.
10. How long does post production take?
Once the happily married couple returns from their honeymoon, most newlyweds can’t help but begin to wonder, when their wedding images will be ready for viewing. As Jennifer Hamilton, owner of JH Photography Studio, points out, every photographer’s turn-around time varies. Jennifer says, “Luckily, the days of waiting a year before getting your images is nearly over! You should still ask this question in case you were expecting to get your images within weeks, and the studio takes several months. The average wedding image turn-around for photographers is 6 weeks, although some take up to 6 months. It also depends on what products you purchased with your wedding package. Did you purchase an album? Is there an online gallery? Are you also getting the digital images? We pride ourselves as one of the quickest image turnarounds for northwest Ohio.”
Wedding photographers are experts in capturing the beauty and romance of your special day. Taking care to find the right wedding photographer for you and your fiance will help ensure your wedding images are ones that will be enjoyed for a lifetime.