10 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer
Imagine it is your wedding day: Your dress is on, you are ready to walk down the aisle to marry the love of your life! There is a pep in your step and it is go time! Your photographer walks up to you with a bit of a panicky look on his face. He says, "Um, I have a bit of a problem." He continues, "My camera is acting up and not allowing me to take photos. I'm not sure what to do; I've tried everything!" Your heart drops and and the "pep" turns into panic.
Fussy cameras, problematic memory cards, photographers calling in sick on the day of the wedding... These are just a few of the problems that can happen on the special day. I am not going to get into all the issues you can encounter after the wedding, but let's just say there are many!
Now, take a deep cleansing breath! I am about to equip you with the right tools for hiring a wedding photographer. "Tools"? Yes, tools! There is so much more to hiring a wedding photographer than just loving their portfolio. Its important to do your homework and ask, ask, ask many questions. You need to know exactly what you are going to be getting. Below, we have created a list of 10 questions to ask when interviewing wedding photographers. Any professional wedding photographer will tell you that you need so much more than just a good eye and a fancy camera to photograph a wedding. Asking these questions will help you in hiring an experienced professional photographer and avoid the horrible, but sadly common, mistakes that many brides have made.
1. What is your primary style, and what does that mean?
This is a tricky question because if you are on their website and you like their photos then you most likely like their style. The tricky part to this is what does this style mean. Photojournalistic, candid, documentary, and reportage are great styles that capture the day as it happens. They don't typically get involved for posing, or creating a "shot". Traditional photographers generally treat every photo as a posed portrait. This includes creating (or re-creating) posed "moments and reactions". For instance, asking you do something that would set the scene.
There are so many different styles and its important to know what you are getting beyond loving what you see.
Kiss Me Studios has primarily an Illustrative style. Illustrative photography takes the best of all the styles. Documentary, creative, traditional, and classic. In my opinion, it is necessary to be equipped with all these styles to completely capture a wedding. Most of the wedding day will be captured documentary style. Getting ready, first looks, ceremony, and reception have little need to be posed. We capture emotions as they happen. We wait for him to look at you with that little sexy smile on his face, then bam, we grab it! We are not asking you to pretend to put your makeup on, or pretend to laugh during these times. Our traditional posed style comes in for the bridal party portraits, as well as the family portraits.
2. How many weddings have you shot?
This is a great question to get an idea of how much experience your photographer has in general. Years are generally not a good gauge of experience since some wedding photographers may only work part time, and only photograph 5 weddings a year. A wedding photographer's experience should be based off of how many weddings they have photographed each year, as a lead photographer; not on how many years of experience they have.
• 1-3 Weddings – Inexperienced (but, may be qualified as an assistant photographer)
• 4-7 Weddings – Amateur
• 8-10 Weddings – Knowledgeable
• 10-12 Weddings – Experienced
• 13+ Weddings – Professional
Combined, Justin and Chelsea have shot over 100 weddings in the span of 7 years. We currently average about 20 weddings a year.
3. How many other events will you photograph that weekend?
Larger studios with multiple master photographers will often double and even triple book dates. However, smaller studios may plan on only having one or two weddings in a given weekend. Kiss Me Studios is a small studio and typically only books one or two weddings in a weekend. The days leading up to your wedding are spent preparing and the days after are spent relaxing from all the hard work put into your wedding day!
4. Will there be a contract of the services to be provided?
There are many studios that don’t create contracts for their photography clients. You should require a contract from your photographer that details what services they will be providing, pricing, termination resolution terms, etc. A contract is created for both your protection, and for the wedding photographer’s protection. It is best to hire a photographer that will create a contract with you, and be wary of photographers that “don’t typically create contracts for clients."
Kiss Me Studios always works from a contract.We will go over the contract in detail so you know exactly what to expect!
5. What happens if the photographer is ill?
While it is unlikely that the photographer happens to get ill on your wedding day, there is always a chance. It is crucial that the photographer / photography studio does something to take care of the situation in case of illness. Kiss Me Studios has a contingency plan in place if this were to happen. We are a husband and wife team. Both of us are master photographers. We have a handful of back up photographers who we know and trust, that could quickly fill in if one of us were to be to sick to attend. We got ya covered so no need to worry!
6. Does the package I am interested in include an assistant or a second photographer?
A second photographer is exactly that, another wedding photographer who is experienced in wedding photography. An assistant is a bag carrier, a clip board holder, a drink runner, and assistant. Don't be fooled and think that an assistant is a photographer. They are not.
If your wedding has 75 or more guests, you should try to secure a second photographer. There are many moments in which one single photographer cannot cover completely alone. There is no way to capture the first kiss, and at the same time, turn around and get the tear in mother’s eye.
Kiss Me Studios wedding packages all come with both Chelsea and Justin, a husband and wife team. We are both are experienced master photographers, and are each fully qualified to cover your whole wedding.
7. Will you color correct my images?
Color correction is the most basic post production that should be done on every single delivered image. Many photographers will not color correct any, or will only color correct “select” images from your wedding. This means that you may have a lot of pictures where your skin tones are orange, yellow, red or even blue.
Kiss Me Studios color corrects every single delivered image from your wedding in order to make sure each and every photo is a professional quality product. We then go back and hand edit the big moments during the wedding. Your photos come to you looking their absolute best!
8. What kind of equipment do you use and do you have backups?
This is a big, important question! While wedding photographers don’t necessarily need the best of the best, it is important to have a good set of equipment along with good backups. Cameras are technology and technology is prone to act up. Nothing would be worse than a photographer missing half of your weddings because his camera, lens, cards, or flashes broke, and he didn’t have spares.
Our studio uses top quality professional camera bodies along with the finest quality professional lenses from Canon. We come prepared! We have backup cameras, lenses, flashes, cards, even a back up tripod! If our gear acts up (and it has), we are able to quickly swap gear and move on.
9. What attire will the photographer and their assistants wear?
This is a minor detail, but it is worth asking. Even though the wedding photographers are a big part of the wedding day, it’s important that they are not distractions. As such, it’s important for the photographer to blend in as much as possible. Furthermore, for religious or cultural ceremonies, there may be certain colors that are considered taboo. Make sure your photographers are aware of your expectations regarding attire for the occasion.
At Kiss Me Studios, our typical wedding photography attire is black suit pants with a black or dark dress shirt. We want to go as unnoticed as possible so that we can capture the event as photojournalists. So until scientists invent the invisibility cloak, we will stick with the darker dress attire. If you need us to wear something specific, we are happy to oblige.
10. How long after the event will the proofs, album, etc be ready?
Each wedding photography studio varies in the time it takes to produce and deliver your pictures. Studios that do not do any post-production or color correction may try to entice you by saying your photos will be ready the next day, or even within a week. However, most studios that develop and produce their images will take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months.
Kiss Me Studios has developed a consistent production schedule in order to deliver an amazing product in an exceptionally quick manner. This schedule can be seen below:
• 3-7 days after event - Your sneak peek is up on our blog.
• 3-7 weeks after event - Proofs are available online
• 5-8 weeks after event - Albums designs are ready for approval
• 8-12 weeks after event - Album and products are delivered (dependent on number of revisions requested)
If you read through the entirety of this blog post you have earned a degree in "Hiring A Wedding Photographer 101"! You are now ready to confidently go out and start interviewing wedding photographers.
We would love the opportunity to speak with you and hear more about your wedding. Send us a message or give us a call (919) 916-5205. We would love to chat with you.