Things to Ask {Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer}

Another weekend come and gone. They never last as long as we hope, especially not when you spend it in Indianapolis. Over this past weekend, I had several meetings with prospective brides(who were mostly from Indy), and as we enjoyed coffee and chatted together over wedding details(my fav!), eventually the same question rolled around with each couple that I spoke to.

Me(while cuddling my warm Americano): “So what can I help you with? Are there any questions that I can answer for you?”

Bride(shuffling through her very stuffed wedding planner): “Hmm…Well. I’m not really sure. What questions do you usually get asked?”

What DO clients usually ask me when they are in search of the perfect wedding photog? I get this question all the time, so often so, that I thought it might be beneficial to write up a few of the most popular questions that I have been asked, as well as important questions that I think should be asked. These can help you get to know me a little bit better though and also help answer those pending questions on your wedding day checklist.

Here’s a list of the top 10 things to ask when hiring a wedding photographer(and my 10 answers).

1. How long have you been in business and how many weddings have you shot?

I’ve been a professional photographer for almost 10 years now(eek!). I’ve stopped counting, but I’ve shot over 150 weddings as the lead photographer for JNP. My first wedding ever was shot in Destin, FL on the cutest little destination wedding boat!

2. Do you have a portfolio that I can view of weddings that you’ve shot, from the start to the finish?

Yes! You can view a sample of weddings I’ve been a part of here and full wedding galleries are available to view upon request. Just send me an email  with your wedding venue of choice and I’ll send you over a couple of really wedding galleries that I’ve been a part of at that venue or one similar.

3. Do you have proof of liability insurance?

Yup, sure do! I have a $1 million policy, as required by most wedding venues of any vendor stepping foot on the premises. If you need a copy to provide to your wedding venue or wedding planner, I’m happy to send you one.

4. How involved are you with the flow of our wedding day? Can you provide posing assistance if needed?

I’m very involved with wedding planning but with a laid back approach. Prior to your wedding, we will discuss a tentative timeline for your big day. Just so we can beginning planning and get the “big” stuff out of the way. About 2 weeks out from the big day, I meet up with you to go over your itinerary to make sure that your photography timeline is solid. This timeline covers everything on your wedding day, from when I’ll be shooting your dress, to getting ready, to family portraits, to detail shots, etc. It helps me know where I need to be when, and when you can expect me to organize certain events. 

During your wedding, I watch and listen A LOT. I understand that traditional shots are often a must and that sometime I may need to remind you that you haven’t taken a certain posed photo on your shot list with Aunt X, Y, and Z. But for the most part, I usually stay in the shadows without drawing attention to myself during key events. I will absolutely assist you in posing when it comes to Bridal Party Portraits and Bride and Groom Portraits when needed. Smiles come out naturally at weddings, and I want your photos to reflect that, so I may stay back for a moment and let you have some fun. You probably won’t hear me say the phrase “Now smile and say cheese!” but I’ll definitely step in and give you some guidance if you feel awkward or just don’t know what to do.

5. Do you have a 2nd photographer? 

Yup! I bring along my 2nd photographer on all wedding days for extra angles, candids, and in cases where I can’t be in two places at once. Their images are handed to me at the end of the night and I blend them together seamlessly in your final gallery. Our images are indistinguishable from one another’s and although you’ll be working with two photographers, it’ll look like you were just working with one. 

6. Do you have back up equipment in case something breaks or malfunctions on our wedding day? 

Yes yes yes. Things happen! Cameras malfunction, people are bound to bounce into us on the dance floor, and photographers are only human so we may drop a piece of equipment ourselves. Preparation is key. I have a backup camera body, multiple lenses, batteries, chargers, and memory cards.

7. What happens if you become ill or have an emergency, and can’t make it to our wedding?

I have NEVER missed a wedding. Ever ever everrrr. But. Things happen. Illnesses happen, emergencies happen, and although this is a very scary question, it needs to be asked of every single wedding vendor because there needs to be a backup plan just in case.

In case I can’t make it to your wedding day, I will first see if my 2nd photographer is available. They most likely will because they’ll be scheduled to photograph your wedding with me that day anyway.

If my 2nd isn’t available and they are also indisposed(maybe we got in a car accident together or something like that) I’ll pull the list of photographers that I network with. I’m a HUGE believer in community over competition and I network with(and have become friends with) dozens of photographers in Central Indiana and often refer weddings that I am already booked for to these same photographers.

If my 2nd can’t make it, you are refunded your retainer and any other monies that you have paid to me up until that point. If an emergency happens, I will do my best to stay in contact with you until a photographer has been procured for your wedding day so that you aren’t left hanging. I have never ever ever EVER missed a wedding. But emergencies do happen and that’s why this question is here.

8. How do you protect our images from loss or theft after our wedding day is over?

This is one of my favorite questions to answer and it should be asked of every single wedding photographer and videographer out there. 

When your wedding day is over and I head home for the night, I leave the premises with two identical copies of your wedding day images before I even get in my car. I have a camera body that writes your images simultaneously to two separate memory cards while I’m taking your images. So when I walk away from your wedding, I already have two identical copies of your images storied in case something happens before I get home.

After that, I go home and upload your images to my hard drive. That hard drive is immediately copied into an online cloud service, for further protection. A cloud services stores the images off site, on a different server, just in case my house burns down or someone steals my hard drives. 

Lastly, the two memory cards that I photographed your wedding on go into a case for storage and will not be emptied or used again until your wedding gallery has been delivered to you. So we have not one, not two, not three, but four copies of your images in our hands prior to delivering them to you, to ensure that they are never lost or stolen.

We have all of our bases covered, and we take your wedding seriously.

9. Will we receive the digital files? What exactly is included in a wedding package? How many photos do we get?

You do receive the finished edited digital files in a .JPG format, however I do not provided clients with unedited images or with .RAW files.

The amount of images varies from wedding to wedding based on the amount of hourly coverage and a lot of factors. But I’d say the average is about 800 images from an 8 hour wedding day. However I do not guarantee a minimum or cap your photo amount at a maximum, there is no limit. 

You can view a list of wedding packages that I have available here. I can tell you that each package includes a USB of the high resolution images, a print release, the option to order professional grade prints, and an online gallery.

Wedding packages also include a gorgeous keepsake box with 25 mounted prints(think really really thick foam core board type paper). I rotate out my boxes depends on new colors and styles, but 2020 weddings will be receiving a glass artisan welded display box with a crystal rose gold USB. You can also download the high res images straight to your computer from your online gallery. I do offer albums, though most Brides and Grooms see their display box as an updated version of a traditional album and prefer it.

I also believe in the freedom of printing your own images however you like, so for this reason the print release is included as well.

10. Will you have a contract available for us to sign? What do we need to do in order to book our date?

I send a contract to every single one of my clients. This is for both my own protection and yours, with all the terms and inclusions of your wedding package laid out.

In order to officially book your wedding date, the contract will need will need to be agreed upon and signed with a non refundable retainer due. The retainer is 25% of your total and comes out of your total with the remaining 75% due one week prior to your wedding day. 

Everything is done online, it’s super super easy. I’m happy to provide copies of the contract and invoice so that you can look everything over.  I can not hold dates without both the retainer and contract completed. 

And there you have it! The top 10 questions that I get asked and the top 10 questions that should be asked of every wedding photographer. 

Cheers to a gorgeous successful wedding day and happy planning!

**Updated February 2020**