Top 10 questions to ask your wedding photographer
It’s really important to develop a good understanding with your wedding photographer. This is someone whom you’ll be entrusting to capture the important moments of your big day, and in the style that you have envisioned. Here are some tips to help you with your first meeting, along with 10 important questions you should be asking.
Get to know their style and personality
Does the photographer share your excitement? Are they giving you useful tips and advice? Or do you find yourselves disagreeing on many things? For best results, there needs to be mutual trust between you and the photographer. S/he also needs to have good interpersonal skills to get people to cooperate, especially for the formal shots which are common in Asian weddings. This first meeting is a chance for you to evaluate them in person, and to find out everything you need before committing to a decision.
Share your event flow and identify key moments
Your photographer should have a thorough understanding of the sequence of events, so that s/he will know when and where to position him/herself. Other than the usual grand entrances, first kiss, toast, etc., you should also highlight the critical moments that you want the photographer to capture. These could be important parts of the religious/solemnisation ceremony, the rings, key family members, decorative items that were handmade by friends, etc.
Listen to their advice
Although you are the ones setting the agenda for the day, it’s best to involve your photographer in those discussions. Experienced photographers would be able to spot possible issues with your timing or sequence, for example, and give you better suggestions. Little things can make a big difference in the final photos, and trusting your photographer’s advice will help them achieve the best shots for you.
Show examples of the photos you want
A picture speaks a thousand words, so it’s better to pick out certain photos from the photographer’s own portfolio that best capture what you want in your own wedding photos. At the same time, don’t be afraid to show them examples of shots you don’t like. Brides, now is also the time to tell him/her which is your better side and what angles you prefer!
Photographers are not magicians
Photoshop can do wonders, but most professionals prefer to capture the magic of the moment, rather than manipulate photographs to achieve the desired effect. For example, a sunrise/sunset shoot is best done during those golden hours, not in the middle of the afternoon with the effects added later on using software.
Once you’re done with the above, you can proceed to ask the following questions:
What is included in your standard rates?
Some photographers specify a certain number of hours for actual day wedding photography, and there may be additional charges if you exceed that (or if it’s a very early start). If your actual day consists of morning and evening festivities with some time in-between, then you should advise your photographer of this and come to an agreement on the time that they need to be around.
For pre-wedding packages, you should also ask about whether their accommodation and airfare are included or quoted separately, if this isn’t stated clearly.
How many photos will we get back?
Be sure to clarify if you’ll be getting all the edited photos returned to you or only a fixed number, and also if there are any hard copies or albums included in the package.
Who will be shooting our wedding?
This seems like an obvious question, but there may be multiple photographers under the same company name. Generally the style and quality of photography should be consistent, but it’s good to check if the person you’re meeting will be the one doing your shoot to avoid surprises and misunderstandings.
If you’re keen to have a second shooter for the actual day, this is also a good time to ask if the photographer provides that option.
How many weddings do you shoot in a year?
This question is an indirect way for you to gauge how experienced the photographer is, and also to figure out how busy they are. A photographer whose schedule is packed could be a sign that their skills are in high demand, but you need to be assured that they still give sufficient time and attention to each booking.
Do you handle both pre-wedding and actual day wedding shoots?
Although both involve taking photos, there is a different skillset involved for pre-wedding and actual day photos. Depending on the photographer, they may have different preferences or experience level in these two areas. Don’t be afraid to consider using different photographers for pre-wedding and actual day.
Have you shot at our venue before?
If your wedding takes place at an unusual venue (or maybe a small church or temple that might not be familiar to most), you should advise your photographer and consider arranging for them to recce the venue for themselves beforehand if needed.
May I see more of your personal portfolio?
The albums on Knotz are meant to give you a good idea of the photographer’s style and ability. However, if you are seriously thinking about engaging one, it’s good to see 1-2 complete wedding albums that were personally shot by the same photographer who will be shooting yours. By seeing the entire range of shots from that wedding, you’ll have a more complete sense of their shooting style and ability.
How long will it take before we receive our photos?
Photographers actually spend quite a lot of time editing photos to give the final product that ‘wow’ factor. If your wedding takes place during a busy period, it’s not unusual that your photographer may have a backlog of other photos to clear first. Expect a typical lead time of several weeks until you see the finished photos.
What files will we receive and are we allowed to share them?
Most photographers will give you high-res images (but not the RAW files), and it’s a good idea to ask about their copyright policy before you share with friends and family.
Do you have any videographers to recommend?
If you’re considering videography on the actual day, it would be good to ask the photographer for a recommendation. That way, you’ll find someone whom they trust to provide good service, and is also someone they can work together with and not get in each other’s way.