Weddings are hands-down, one of the biggest and most memorable events of a person’s life. Naturally, you’d want something to remember it by, so hiring a good photographer should be at the very top of your list of things to do.
When hiring a photographer, you want to make sure you get the best value for your money. Aside from the usual process of asking for references and checking out their portfolio, be sure you ask them the following important questions:
What’s your style?
Photography is an art, and each artist has his own style, so make sure that his style is right for your wedding. Good photographers should have a large and diverse portfolio showing samples of his past work, and from there you can get a feel for his or her style.
What’s the wedding day schedule going to be like?
This is important to know ahead of time, as it allows you to plan out the details of each specific moment you’d like to capture like the moment the bride steps out of the limo, or the first dance. Also, be sure to ask how long they plan on staying – you’ll miss out on a lot of good photo opportunities if the photographer leaves early..
How long does post-processing take?
Once the wedding is over, how long will it take to get the photos? And what format will they be in? Will they come in a disk or will they be in a bound album? Naturally, you’ll also want to work out the cost of any extras as well, and how many photos you’re supposed to receive for the price you pay.
Is there a Plan B?
There’s a famous quote in the Engineering world, “If something can go wrong, it will.”
The same could be said of any delicate task that requires planning and precision. That’s why its best to ensure your photographer has a “Plan B” in the event something goes wrong on the big day. Will they have a second photographer on call, ready to step in if they can’t, or will you have to arrange for a completely different solution?
Can I send you a shot list?
Some wedding photographers prefer to plan all the shots themselves, but oftentimes bridal couples will have their own ideas. In cases like these, people create what are called “shot lists”, lists of specific events or moments during the reception or ceremony that they would like captured, and share them with the photographer. Ask your photographer if they’d be willing to use one to help you get the shots you want.
How familiar are you with the venue type?
This is important for numerous technical reasons, such as lighting. Make sure your photographer has experience shooting in the type of venue you’ll be hosting the party in, so they can prepare accordingly. Beaches, for example, are often very bright depending on the time of day, and you’ll have to work around wind, sand, and water, while cathedrals and other indoor venues might not be as bright as you want, forcing you to make accommodations for either brighter lights or special equipment.
What are your rates and fees?
This goes for any contractor or vendor you hire, but it’s worth repeating. Be sure to get a breakdown of all the costs and fees in the form of a formal quote from the photographer to avoid any surprises. Among other things, be sure to ask if they charge extra for showing up at the rehearsal dinner, or if they charge any additional hourly rates for staying longer than they originally intended.