Although it’s been a fairly long engagement, things are getting down to the wire now. The fiance and I have had to step up in the wedding planning department.
Recently, we chose our photographer, and we are super confident in our decision. Here is the list of questions I asked, taken from various sources, but primarily from my wedding bible.
1. Could you tell us about your style of photography? Black and white, color, or a mix? Candid or posed?
2. Do you bring an assistant? If so, does he take photos as well or simply help you with equipment?
3. If the assistant does take photos, may we see examples of his photography in addition to yours?
4. How does the pricing work? Is it by the hour? How many hours are included in a package?
5. If the event runs longer than anticipated, what is the rate for additional hours?
6. Is there an album in the package? If so, how many photos are included?
7. Do you typically follow a shot list?
8. Are prints on archival fiber paper or resin-coated paper? (Archival fiber lasts longer.)
9. Will there be a way to share the photos online?
10. Does the package include a DVD or flash drive?
11. Do you allow guests to order prints directly from you?
12. Is there any chance your prices would change before the wedding, or will it be locked in?
13. Do you bring lighting?*
14. What type of clothing do you (and your assistant) where?
15. What are the choices with albums? How are they bound, what is the material used, how does the layout look?
16. Are extra albums available? (Many photographers offer smaller versions of the primary wedding album, which are great for parents or grandparents.)
17. Do you do more than one wedding in a day?
18. If you are sick or otherwise unable to attend the wedding, what is the back up plan?
19. How many pictures do you take on average for a wedding? (There is no one right answer here. The idea is to establish expectations so that you aren’t surprised later on.)
20. Will you visit the ceremony and reception sites before the wedding? Or, have you worked in these places before?
21. If ordering prints, is there a minimum amount you require?
22. Are there any discounts for paying the entire sum in advance, ordering early, etc? (Can’t hurt to ask for price breaks.)
23. How much of a deposit is required to hold the date?
24. When is the full balance due?
25. What is the cancellation policy?
26. Who owns the copyrights to the photos?
27. Is there anything else we should know that hasn’t been covered?
*Lighting is essential. Natural lighting is best, but most events will require additional lights. You don’t want the lighting to be bulky and intrusive to guests, though.
Please note – the above questions primarily involve digital photography, not film, which some photographers do still work with. If you are going with film, other questions will need to be considered, such as how long they keep the negatives, is there a limited number of rolls covered within the package, etc.
A final tip: Sometimes people hire more than one photographer. This can be a good option if say, there is a particular photographer whose work you’re crazy about, but you’re not so keen on the prices.
If they charge by the hour, you can hire the pricey photographer for just the reception, and use an inexpensive photographer for the before-part: the bride getting ready, the ceremony, the posed pictures with parents, etc. You’ll save money by cutting hours with the primary guy, but you’ll still have the whole day covered.