Questions to Ask YOURSELF Before Booking a Wedding Photographer

September 2, 2015 separator Life

7 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Today I’m excited to have a guest post from Alicia of Love Knot Photo! Alicia fancies herself one of those graceful, put-together girls who can wear heels (and not wobble) and drink martinis (without spilling). Instead, she’s the girl who wears Converse with dresses, drinks bourbon when she’s casual and Scotch when she’s fancy, and can name all of the Mercury 7 astronauts, but not a single Real Housewife.

Find Alicia here: loveknotphoto.com / IG: @loveknotphoto

 

Oh, wedding planning. Few things create as much stress in a couples’ life as planning a wedding. I know that you have a lot of information being thrown at you from every direction – wedding magazines, bridesmaids, your mom – and that it’s terribly difficult to make a decision. Breathe. You can get through this.

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Wedding Photographer

Chances are, somewhere along the way you’ve stumbled upon one of those lists of questions to ask before choosing a wedding photographer. Some of the questions on there are good, and others are a bit overkill, but if asking them makes you feel better, then go for it. Either way, any legitimate photographer should be able to answer your questions. It’s up to you to decide if their answers are acceptable. But hold up – there are a few more things you’ll want to consider before booking your wedding photographer.

And as a wedding photographer myself, I feel like I may be qualified to help you out here. 

1. Do you get along with this person?

Your wedding photographer is going to be with you for at least eight hours on your wedding day, and I mean with you. It’s key for both the couple and the photographer to make sure there’s a great connection, or else it’ll be a very long day. Try to meet up in person (or at the very least, arrange a Skype chat) to see how you get on. It’s best to be sure before you pay any nonrefundable fees.

Choosing the Right Wedding Photographer

2. Does your potential photographer fit with your own style?

Before hiring a photographer, think about the style you most gravitate toward. You won’t be too happy if you’re into edgy/grungy photos and you hire a photographer who specializes in naturally-lit pastels. If you hire a photographer who is photojournalistic and you expect them to pose you on the day of the wedding, you’ll likely be disappointed. If you hire a fine art photographer, but don’t schedule time into your wedding day for them to do their thing, well, you get it. You get the idea. Photographers have their own style and will not change for your wedding. Keep your style in mind as you’re searching for potential photographers.

3. Do you want one or two photographers?

Many couples prefer two photographers to ensure more coverage of the day. And many photographers shoot as teams (or hire second shooters) for the same reason. Still, plenty of photographers go it alone, so make sure you know what your preference is (if you have one) and find out how the photographer does it. I shoot as a team with my brother, and if one of us isn’t available, we hire a second shooter.

Questions to Choose the Right Wedding Photographer

4. You will not own the copyright for your images.

This is important to know. Many of those question checklists will encourage you to ask about photo rights, and a lot of people interpret that as copyright. This could be a blog post all on its own, but here’s the rundown: Legally, the creator of the image (the photographer) owns the copyright to the image. He or she may do whatever they like with the image, including selling it for advertising (most wedding contracts include a model release stating this in fun legal terms). Most photographers will grant you the rights to download and print the images (with some stipulations, such as credit on social media), but the ownership will ultimately remain with the photographer.

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What does this mean for you? Mainly that:

  1. You can not sell the photograph for advertising, or furthermore publish it anywhere without the express permission of the photographer. Generally, photogs will gladly oblige if you want to submit your photos for publication (if we haven’t already done it first!), but it’s best to seek permission.
  2. You should not post the image on social media and crop out any watermarks (as of now, I do not use watermarks)
  3. You should not edit or alter the photo besides cropping, conversion to black and white, etc. From a photographer’s perspective, if a client takes one of our professionally edited photos and applies an edit to it that is way beyond our style, and then posts it on Facebook with our name attached to it, people will view this and believe it’s what we created. Again, this goes back to finding a photographer whose style meshes with yours so this won’t be a problem.

How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

5. What will professional prints cost?

Sure, you’ve just shelled out a couple thousand dollars for your photographer, but after the wedding you want prints. And you’ve seen the proof that pro lab prints are far better than anything you’d get from Walgreens, Target, etc. Print prices can range from single dollars to triple digits. Every photographer is different, and so are their prices.

6. Don’t rule someone out if they haven’t shot at your venue before.

For some reason, this one is always on those question lists, but we suggest you ask out of curiosity rather than as a dealbreaker. Of course it’s a bonus when a potential photographer is familiar with your venue. We love shooting at places more than once because we know what to expect ahead of time. But this shouldn’t discourage you from choosing someone who hasn’t photographed at your specific venue. As long as you find someone who is proficient in both indoor and outdoor photography, and you know you can trust their experience, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Wedding Photographer

7. What time is your wedding?

Even though we all swoon over beautiful wedding images that were taken in gorgeous daylight, if your ceremony is taking place at 6pm in the dead of winter, or if your reception is being held indoors no matter what time of year, you’ll want to find a photographer who knows their way around external lighting. While most of us display naturally-lit photos on our websites, you’ll probably need to dig a little deeper into a photographer’s portfolio to find those night time images. Seek out reception photos, or straight up ask your photographer to show you an entire wedding gallery that features non-daylight shots. You’ll want to be sure they can photograph well once the natural light goes away.

Keeping these things in mind as you search for a wedding photographer will hopefully help you navigate the sea of options. Happy planning!

All images by Love Knot Photo

13 comments

  1. I am helping my best friend choose her wedding photographer and want to find the best one for her and her fiance! I never thought about having two photographers, but I like how you mention that this ensures you more coverage for the whole day. I bet with two photographers, you are more likely to get those beautiful and intimate moments between the bridge and groom as well as the rest of the guests. I’ll have to mention this idea to her. Thanks!

  2. I haven’t considered getting two photographers, but I can see how this would be a great idea! There is so much going on at a wedding, and I tend to prefer the more candid pictures. Two people could help to capture all of the priceless moments that will be happening. I will be bringing this up to my fiance very soon, thank you so much for the helpful tips!

  3. I like that you point out that you should find a photographer that fits with your style. There are plenty of photographers out there but their style may be so different than yours! If you pick someone who has a different style than yours, you will most likely be disappointed. And, you only get one shot. It is not like this day can be repeated. So finding the perfect photographer is important!

  4. It’s good to know that there are good wedding photographers out there to help people. My sister is getting married soon and can’t seem to find a good wedding photographer that she can trust. This article has some great points on this that I think can help her find what she’s looking for.

  5. I never thought of getting more than one photographer before. I guess that would be great for getting different ideas and the most coverage. My daughter is getting married in two months so I’ll have to bring this up to her.

  6. This is really a good list of questions. I think we should ask these questions before choosing a wedding photographer because these can help us to know which one will be better for us. Thanks

  7. This is some great information, and I appreciate your suggestion to find a wedding photographer that you get along with. I knew photos could take a while, but I didn’t realize that it could be such a long period of time! With that in mind, I’ll definitely try and find someone I can get along with well so things run smoothly while taking pictures. Thanks for the great post!

  8. These are some great questions to ask before the big day! These will for sure be the questions I will keep in mind for a my big day. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Finally, a sensible list!! I especially appreciate you pointing out that second photographers aren’t always better, it;s the working preference of the photographer….and most of the venues I shot weddings at, I’ve never been to before. Makes zero difference. Worrying about the right things makes a better vendor / client relationship and compatibility. Good read. It’s nice to see simplified common sense. :)

  10. Great questions. These are important to ensure that you are getting what you pay for. Wedding photos are expensive. You don’t want just anyone clicking away on a camera. That is why these types of questions are critical to ruling out those that are not professionals. Thanks!

  11. Wow, I never knew that you wouldn’t own the copyright to your own wedding pictures. But it looks like from what you’ve written that that isn’t much of a problem, at leas I couldn’t see it being one. I know a lot of people don’t really know what they’re doing when hiring a wedding photographer, because it’s often only something you’ll do once in your life. This would b really helpful for anyone looking for some help in making a decision. Thanks for writing!

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