Planning a wedding? Hate to break it to you, but you’re asking the wrong questions at those vendor consults. I’ll get to the right questions to ask, but first let’s explore alllll the wrong questions I get asked as a wedding photographer:
”How many photos will we get?”
”What’s your editing style?”
”Do we get a USB?”
”Have you worked at our venue before?”
And I can’t blame you – planning a wedding is exhausting, sometimes a little scary, and something you’ve probably never done before! So naturally you’re leaning on the advice of your friends or generic “how to plan a wedding” articles you found on Google. And since you’re meeting with your photographer, your questions are centered around the delivery of your sweet sweet wedding photos.
So while the answers to the questions above can be found in my FAQ’s, I hope this article gives you some clarity on which questions to ask so you’ll actually get you the answers you need.
WHAT TO ASK: ”What does your post-wedding workflow look like? How are you taking care of our images in the weeks that follow the wedding day?”
I can count on ONE hand the number of times I’ve been asked this. A true professional will light up at the sound of this question, and will go into detail on their process post-wedding.
Things to listen for:
- Dual card camera slots/shooting on two cards per camera
- How the second photographer’s images get back to the lead photographer
- For destination weddings: do they use a travel hard-drive? How will they keep backups in multiple places?
- How many back-ups are created during post-processing
- What happens to those files once your gallery link is shared
- What happens if a memory card is lost or corrupted
- DO THEY HAVE INSURANCE – And not just equipment insurance – general and professional liability as well
You pickin’ up what I’m putting down? These are tough questions, but they need to be asked. Let’s continue!
WHAT TO ASK: ”What happens if you get sick?”
Another great question to ask your wedding photographer! Personally, I’ve never missed a wedding. I’ve tripped, smashed lenses, been elbows deep in DayQuil, and had a sprained pinkie finger. BUT, I also have a plan of attack in case I’m hooked up to machines at the hospital.
Part of being a professional in any industry is networking. And luckily, South Florida has the best professionals in the biz – and I’m friends with lots of them! We’re pretty tight, and I’ve dropped everything on a non-booked Saturday to help a few, and I know they’d do the same for me. (As I write this, a photographer friend texted me in a panic asking to borrow a flash. Shit happens, and we’re all here to support each other.)
- Is your photographer well-connected? Or are they fairly new to the industry and looking to portfolio build?
- Will you get to approve of any replacements in case your photographer is unable to work?
- Are you subject to any refunds or credits in the event your photographer doesn’t make it?
WHAT TO ASK: “If we book your company, are YOU photographing our wedding?”
Whether it’s a volume or boutique studio, this question is an important one! I’ve seen too many horror stories on the internets about this subject. Imagine being surprised the morning of your wedding when a total stranger walks in and introduces themselves as your photographer – yikes.
- Do you know who is photographing your wedding? Or will it be an associate?
- Does your photographer even have an associate team?
WHAT TO ASK “Can we see a couple FULL galleries from wedding days similar to ours?”
You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but I’ve found that a small percentage of couples actually ask for this. Maybe it’s because I show a good variety of images from different parts of the wedding day on my Instagram – but I also try to scroll through a couple galleries during consults as well.
Why? Because you know what does well on Instagram and keeps feeds looking cohesive? PORTRAITS.
Sure, portraits are beautiful, but portrait time is also the LEAST STRESSFUL part of the wedding day. The light is just right, the wedding planner isn’t chasing us around, and c’mon now, it’s sweet and romantic and easy and YAY PORTRAITS!
But portraits are just a tiny percentage of your wedding day. During a typical 8 hour day, I’ll have maybe 30 minutes for those photos. Don’t judge your photographer’s skill on such a small percentage of the schedule.
Things to consider:
- Does their Instagram and website show a good mix of wedding moments throughout the day? How do they handle prep, formals, wedding party photos, and lighting a reception?
- How your photographer handles family formals INDOORS
- Can your photographer photograph you in a space with limited outside options?
- How will your partner’s prep be photographed? (Weddings are more than just brides!)
- How do they handle venues similar to yours? Low-light?
- Are details being photographed as well, or are they an after-thought? (I love this because admittedly, I don’t show a ton of details on my website/blog, but I do show clients that they are documented properly.)
WHAT TO ASK: ”What happens AFTER the wedding?”
You already know their importing/backup system (because you’re asking the right questions!) but what about the rest of the process? After the wedding, you’re probably only going to be in communication with ONE vendor from your event – your photographer. Listen for these things so you’re no stressing on your honeymoon:
Will you get any sneak peeks?
Do they offer printed goods like wall art or albums? How does that work?
When will the full gallery be available for download? Can you share that link with family, friends, and guests?
Will you have access to full resolution digital files? Or are they limited to a certain size?
Will you have a personal print release? Or are you obligated to order through your photographer?
Will they share images with vendors?
How does your photographer handle privacy requests? And how does that differ from a full copyright buyout (NDA)?
Do they offer “Day-After” sessions in case there isn’t a ton of time for portraits, or if weather threatens the timeline of the day?
I don’t share these tips to scare you – I want you to be prepared! Now tell me, what questions do you wish you asked your photographer? I’d love to hear from you!
And if you’re looking for more advice from yours truly, check out some of the other articles I’ve written by clicking the link below:
Help Me, Sonj