1. ARE YOU INSURED?
When hiring a professional wedding photographer, ensure they have at least public liability insurance. This will ensures they are covered just in case of an accidents, this could include bumping into a guest with their lens, or a guest tripping over their equipment such as a camera bag or tripod. A professional wedding photographer will also have their equipment insurance in case of breakages, this means they can get a replacement fast such as if it breaks before your wedding day they should still be able to get a replacement so you're not left in the dark, so to speak.
If they are a part time photographer or doing it as a hobby then they may not have insurance to save money, I would not consider any photographer that is not insured for those reasons above. Some wedding venues actually require all photographers to provide proof of their insurance before working on their premises, smaller venues may be more relaxed at this, but most need to know due to their own insurance liabilities.
2. WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER BECOMES ILL, OR THERE IS AN EMERGENCY?
Do they have a backup plan, photographers with years of experience will have a list of trusted photographers they can call upon if they cannot make it for whatever reason, knowing this information can really put you at ease about booking their services.
3. CAN I VIEW SOME FULL WEDDING GALLERIES?
Viewing a wedding photographers past weddings for a set client or venue can be the clincher, either via an online gallery or printed albums allows you to see a story, instead of seeing a short number of ‘wow’ shots that could of been staged or taken naturally, it can give you a feel for how your day could look from the documentary wedding photos to the wow staged sessions.
This will give you an insight on how the getting ready, walking down the aisle, photos of the emotions of your family, not to mention the funny to serious expressions on your wedding guests faces throughout the day. Consistency is key and viewing several albums or galleries will give you an idea on consistence in the quality ad styles.
4. WHY DOES YOUR CHOSEN PHOTOGRAPHY DO WEDDINGS?
This is certainly an odd question, however this is all about making sure the wedding photographer is a good match for you both, Are they just as excited about your big day as you both are? does the Photographer love what they do and are they passionate about what they do.
This is were you can really see their true personality and see if you both and the photographer get on, remember you will be with them all day, you don't want a grumpy sod, do you?
5. HOW MUCH WILL IT COST FOR ADDITIONAL TIME?
The simple fact is we all hope to capture everything in the time allocations such as 4, 6, 9 or 12 hour coverages but some times things happen that could delay the unfolding of the day, or a sunset hits your venue an hour or two after your photographer was due to leave.
This means you will know if you want to pay extra on the day to keep the wedding photographer there a little while longer to capture those extra special moments.
6. HOW MUCH IS IT FOR A SECOND SHOOTER?
You don’t want to miss anything, so perhaps you should consider a second photographer to capture the special moments from another view point or angle. This is great if you want photos of you and your bridesmaids getting ready which maybe in one hotel, and then the groom and the guys getting ready in another.
This is also great during the ceremony due to photographers often can not move so having a photographer each side of the registrars means both faces, angels can be captured. You can get photos of people outside the church and as they enter the ceremony to sitting down, this is also great for speeding up group photos as they can assist with organising the groups so you all can get back to the party asap. 2 shooters are great for larger weddings ensuring no moment is missed.
7. CAN I REQUEST CERTAIN IMAGES TO BE TAKEN?
You certainly want to talk about photo lists with your wedding photographer, a photographer generally have an idea on what they will want to photograph during the day, but one thing is for sure. They don't know who has any special connections with you beyond the normal parents, and close family. You may have a special connection with a certain person or group of people and wish to have a special group photos with them.
I always advise my wedding couples that around 5 group photos around the registrar and around 10 for outside the ceremony is a good rule of thumb. This is due to each group can take 2 or 3 mins to set the shot up, making sure everyone looking in the correct way, no one standing on your dress etc. then test shots for different lighting conditions and making sure no one is blinking during the photos. I like to take no more than 5 or 6 mins to capture the shots around the registrar at the most and with 10 groups outside can be best part of an hour depending on group sizes.
8. HOW LONG AFTER THE WEDDING DOES IT TAKE TO MY PHOTOS?
Once your day is over and your wedding photographer has gone away, you will likely be still parting the night away. Your photographer will be driving home and before they can hit the sack, they will have to back up the images in at least two locations. One on the hard drive and another off location such as cloud space to make sure no fires destroys your memories, as they can recover a copy late.
They will then start the editing process of your lovely photos. They will need to go through hundreds of photos of you day and these will need sorting out from removal of test shots and other shots that are not flattering or have not made the cut before editing can start. This is to ensure that you are left with the best photos that will tell your wedding day story. This can take anywhere between 2-8 weeks on average, however check with your photographer as I have seen some photographers take up to 6 months to get the images back to their client. You need to make sure you are happy with the turn around before you commit to booking your wedding photography with them.
Some photographers such as Ian Petrie's Photography are happy to share a few key shot previews within a 48 hour period so you can view and share on your social media accounts, another reason to spam all your friends online with beautiful images of you both sharing the love of your special day.
9. HOW WILL YOU RECEIVE YOUR IMAGES?
Prints? Download them? Disc? USB, ALBUM? When you hire you wedding photographer you should know what options your photo will be presented in, the standard way is on a USB pen or a download link is now a popular choice, Are they high resolution file format or resized for web, will they be water marked or not?
If you want them to be printed or in an album, then speak to your photographer and see what options they have and the cost for this. What better way to see your wedding photos than in a beautifully presented wedding album that tells the story of your beautiful wedding day from start to finish.
10. IS A WEDDING ALBUM INCLUDED?
If so, ask to see one to make sure you are happy with the styles, the material and how they feel to how they are laid out, if not then is there something they recommend. If you have agreed that your photographer will put an album together for you, ask to view a completed album before they process the album order.
11. HOW MUCH OF A DEPOSIT OR BOOKING FEE DOES YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER REQUIRE?
Finding out the payment terms and how much you require to pay to book them, and when the final balance is due will help you plan your finances to afford the photographers you have short listed better. Wedding photographers can be booked up to 4 years in advance in some cases, but most commonly within a 2 year period, so ensure you get your photographer booked as soon as you can.
BONUS TIP: FINAL TIP WHEN SPEAKING TO THEM
The photographer should make you feel relaxed and at ease, no question is to silly, your photographer should be covering all of this and more for you. When they say ‘do you have any questions’ hopefully, you will feel confident in them and that everything you need to know has been discussed, if it hasn't this is the time to ask.
When looking for a Wedding Photographer here a few questions to ask yourself:
- Do I feel a positive connection with this photographer and their work?
- Am I comfortable and confident with this person’s work?
- Has this photographer listened well and addressed all my concerns?
- Do I trust this person to capture the biggest day of my life?