If you’ve ever picked up a copy of the knot magazine or been on their website you may have run across a list of questions to ask your photographer before you book them for your wedding. I’ve read so many of these lists that it inspired me to write my own, from our perspective as wedding photographers.
We’ve all heard the stories… I’ve had nothing but trouble with my photographer… he won’t get back to me… it’s been a year and I still don’t have my wedding album. So what can you do to be sure you choose the best photographer possible, someone who provides you with great customer service and takes great pictures at your wedding? To help you out we’ve put together this list of 10 ways to tell if who you’re considering for your wedding photographer is right for you.
1. How quickly do they get back to you?
Phone, email, fax. (ok, maybe not fax) I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been chosen over another photographer simply because we got back to our clients. This is the number one thing you should look at when looking for your wedding photographer. How quickly do they get back to you? Yes you want them to take great pictures, and they may be a great photographer, but if you never hear from them are they really worth the headache? 24 hrs is a good test. If you don’t’ hear back within 24 hrs after emailing or calling, take that as a sign that they don’t really want your business or they’re just too busy to take care of you.
2. What are other people saying?
There is no substitute for word of mouth. Go on the interweb and check the reviews. Most likely you’ll be able to find what other brides have written about their experiences. Most good photographers will make this easy to find. If you want to read what people are saying about us, check out theknot.com, weddingwire.com and our own reviews section.
3. Go with your gut. Who makes you feel most comfortable?
If you’re meeting with multiple photographers and you’re not sure who to choose. Go with the one you click with the most. It will help your pictures if you feel relaxed in front of the camera. The best way to have real smiles in your photos is to actually enjoy hanging out with your photographer. It’s also a safe bet you’ll have a blast during the photo shoot and get some great real life pictures. An engagement session is the best way to remove any apprehension about what it’s going to be like working together.
4. Full time or part time.
Is your photographer full time or a weekend warrior? Photographers who are “all in” so to speak have much more to lose than those with day jobs. They have a lot more riding on keeping you happy and also a lot more time to do it. If customer service is important to you then choose a photographer who has made wedding photography their full time career.
5. Why do they do it?
Are they excited about your wedding? We love weddings so much we sometimes have to watch how much we talk about them. Everyone on the planet doesn’t care what colors and details are coming up in this weekends wedding, but we do. But wedding photographers should be this excited. When meeting, try to gauge if they are doing this for some extra cash, or if it’s their passion.
6. Look at all their work, you’ll get the same stuff.
Don’t just look at their best work. Ask to see sample albums that clients have ordered. You may love one picture but if you see 10 that you don’t, then you may want to reconsider.
7. Are they nice people?
This one may be a little hard to judge until you see them under pressure, but do they make you feel good about you? You want your photographer to be a nice person who is going to get along with your guests and ensure everyone is having a good time. You don’t want a pushy or rude photographer that is going to yell at your guests and bark orders during portrait times.
8. How well do they know their second shooter?
If they’re bringing a second shooter, how well do they know him/her? Sometimes photographers bring along second shooters they haven’t met until the wedding day. I can’t imagine taking that kind of risk. Then again, I’m spoiled with a spouse that’s just as good or better than me. Find out about the working relationship between all the photographers at your wedding.
9. What can I do with the negatives?
Find out what you’re allowed to do with your proofs. Some photographers won’t give them to you and thus force you to buy prints through them. Others will sell you the digital negatives or include them in their packages. Find out so you know what you’re looking at when it’s your 30 year anniversary and you want to get some prints. Will you have to locate your photographer and hope he’s still in business?
10. Do they specialize in weddings?
What do they specialize in? I crack up when I see something to the effect of, “Lancaster photographers specializing in weddings, portraits, infants, kids, dogs, underwater, commercial and architectural photography.” I wonder if they know what specialize means. Different types of photography are very much that, different. Book a photographer who specializes in photographing weddings. You won’t be disappointed.
I hope this list of questions was helpful. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
I’ll leave you with a sneak peak of our friends Courtney & Andrew. They were not totally satisfied with the photography they received for their wedding so they booked us for an Anytime Session. Andrew rented a tux, Courtney got back into her dress and we spent a few hours together. Watch for the full post soon.