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 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 7 years now. I’ve stopped counting, but I’ve shot over 125 weddings as a lead photographer.

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

Yes! You can view a sample of weddings I’ve been a part of here. If you don’t see a wedding style that you’re looking for, feel free to ask for other examples.

3. Do you have any references?

Yes! I have several. I always ask brides and grooms before I use them as references and I do not give out their number more than a couple times so as not to wear them down with phone calls. If you need references, I’ll be happy to provide them, but I won’t list them here.

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

Of course. I’m very involved but at the same time I’m not. Prior to your wedding, about 2 weeks out from the big day, I meet up with you to go over your itinerary so that we can build a photography timeline together. 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’ll never 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 or an assistant?

Yup! I offer a 2nd photographer as an option in select packages, though I’m happy to work by myself as the solo photographer on your wedding day if you prefer. 

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

This is the scariest question and it needs to be asked of every wedding photographer. If you ever interview a photographer and they hesitate to answer this question, run. Run far far far away. In case I can’t make it to your wedding day, I will first see if my 2nd photographer is available. If they aren’t, I’ll pull the list of photographers that I network with and I’ll see if any of them are available. 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, so that you can forward the money to the photographer of your choice. If possible, I will assist as best I can in obtaining a replacement wedding photographer if none of the photographers that I network with can shoot your wedding day. If an emergency happens, I will do my best to contact as many photographers as I can so that you aren’t left hanging on your wedding day. I have never ever ever EVER missed a wedding. But emergencies do happen and that’s why this question is here.

7. 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 cards. I also have a camera body that writes your images to two memory cards. So when I walk away from your wedding, I already have two copies of your images storied in case something happens before I get home. We have all of our bases covered, and we take your wedding seriously.

8. Do you have liability insurance?

Yes. 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, I’m happy to send you one.

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 750 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 2018/2019 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. 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. Do you edit the photos? Do you offer retouching?

All the photos I provide are edited. I use Lightroom and occasionally Photoshop, to preen through photos, and to make them look their best with lighting and color corrections. 100% of the photos are edited this way. I’m not huge on “air-brushing” photos, or doing extensive touchups, and tend to keep things natural.

11. What do we need to do in order to book our date?

In order to book your wedding date, a contract will need to be agreed upon and a non refundable retainer will be due. Everything is done online, it’s super super easy. I’m happy to provide copies of the contract so that you can look everything over. Once a contract is signed, a non-refundable retainer is due and it is 25% of your total. I will not hold dates without both the retainer and contract completed. The contract needs to be signed with the non refundable retainer paid within 48 hours of booking. 

12. What information do you need from me before the wedding day?

After sending in your contract and retainer, anything you’d like to share is helpful. Have a list of your vendors names is super helpful, so I know who everyone is and can get in contact with them as need, especially wedding planners if you have one.

A family shot list is key for a lot of wedding day stress relief and I highly encourage you to build one. Listing out your family members names in groupings and how they are related to you is super helpful. I have an example shot list that can help guide you as well.

Also, start your wedding day photography box. Place inside a set of your wedding day stationary and invitations, any forget me nots from your wedding shower or wedding prep(think pieces of ribbon, letters, buttons, etc.) items that have memorable value to you that you’d like included in your photos. Nearing the big day you can also add your wedding day jewelry, wedding shoes, the grooms bow tie, cuff links, your grandmothers handkerchief, etc. Little things that we can style for you, so that we can add some beautiful images for a seamless story line in your wedding gallery.

And there you have it! The top questions that I get asked during meetings when being interviewed by a Bride and Groom.

**Updated August 2018

 

 

 

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