Sometimes when I meet with brides and grooms hiring a wedding photographer for the first time it turns into an awesome hang sesh. We have a drink, we laugh, and we just get sooooo excited for their wedding!
Other times I meet with a bride who’s just like me. She has a list for everything (my jam) and all the pertinent questions on tap (knowledge is power). For her (and me) there’s no such thing as over-prepared! (I’ve never met a groom like this, but if you are one, please email me because I want to meet you.)
If you want a list of questions to ask your wedding photographer there are about a million of them floating around the interwebs. The value of these questions varies. Some of them are important (Do you have my date available?) and some of them are downright ridiculous (How many megapixels does your camera have?).
I’m not going to rehash all those lists, but as a seasoned wedding photographer I have a bit of a different perspective from a wedding blog. I’ve got a few more questions for that list of yours that you probably haven’t thought of yet.
Questions to help you not only establish the professional quality of your photographer (important) but to also find out how much you actually LIKE your photographer (super important). You’ll spend more time on your wedding day with your photographer than ANYONE ELSE, probably even your spouse. So make sure you click.
1. What’s one piece of advice you would give to any engaged couple?
Since this is my blog post I’m going to cheat and give you my two favorite pieces of advice. #sorrynotsorry
- Don’t forget what your wedding is REALLY about. It’s not about seating charts, cake, music, a dress, flowers, food, or cake. (Did I say cake twice? Weird….) It’s about you and that one other person. THE person. YOUR person. It’s about you starting your FOREVER together. If all the rest of it goes down the drain, as long as you end up married to that person at the end of the day, it’s all just icing. On the cake. (Is that the third mention of cake? Weird….)
- Hire vendors you trust. I know this sounds a bit like shameless self-promotion, but really it’s not. If I am not the wedding photographer you want then, for the love of all that’s good, DON’T HIRE ME. You want someone in whom you have complete confidence. Someone you believe shares your vision for your day and can execute that regardless of what obstacles might come along. That goes for your DJ, your florist, and your baker too. Hiring the right professionals frees you up to focus more on that first piece of advice (what your wedding is really about) instead of babysitting the people you’ve hired, and that’s the way it should be.
2. What wedding photos do you consider the most important?
All us wedding photographers have favorite photos (*cough* couple’s portraits *cough cough*) but that’s not necessarily the same as what’s most important. For me, the most important photos are the ones that you just simply can’t recreate on any other day. That’s what makes wedding photography special. The moment the bride is handed off by someone she loves to her waiting spouse-to-be at the end of the aisle, the moment a groom first lays eyes on this person who is about to share his forever. Those kinds of moments are the can’t miss photos. But, since it’s my blog I’m going to cheat again and give you my second answer.
The photos that are the most important to me are the ones that are most important to you. I operate from a standard list of can’t-miss wedding day photos, but it’s YOUR day! If you need a photo of you and your spouse pretending to hide under the table because you do it on every trip you take, then we’ll make the time. If your family absolutely MUST have a photo of all of the cousins doing the macarena, then that photo will 100% happen. Your priorities are MY priorities.
3. What is your least favorite part of a wedding day?
Ooooooooo. This is like that question everyone hates at job interviews, “What’s your greatest weakness?” It seems like there are no GOOD answers. The truth is that, no matter how much we love our jobs, there’s always something that we would change or do without if we could. For me on a wedding day it’s photographing cocktail hour.
Please refer to question number two: if it’s important to you, it’s important to me. If you really want photos of your cocktail hour, my second or I will absolutely get them and they will be the prettiest photos of food, wine, and people enjoying them that you’ve ever had. But they’re not my favorite. Your guests are usually busy talking to each other and not interested in being interrupted for a photo, or they have their mouths full and are making those weird eating faces we all make. Not exactly the stuff wedding albums are made of. If you want photos of all your guests I strongly encourage you to consider having a photo booth, which also makes the most epic wedding favor!
4. When/what do you want to eat?
If you hire me for your wedding I am automatically obsessed with you and your wedding day. It’s a given. I want to do my absolute best work for you the entire time; to give you 110% of my effort. My mission is to keep my creative juices flowing at max capacity. That is very hard for me to do on an empty stomach. The hanger is real. If I’m working for you for six hours or more I will need to have a short break at some point to eat some food and replenish those creative juices.
If you want to provide me with this food I would be delighted to accept, but I’m happy to bring my own too. Other photographers might have dietary restrictions or preferences so those are good things to know up front! You should definitely be aware of my love of cake in case it wasn’t already clear. If you give me cake you might get as much as 120% of my effort. Just sayin’.
5. Why the heck do you cost so much?
Awkward? Maybe. Informative? Definitely. I know that wedding photography is a big investment. I often hear from couples that they are spending more on their photographer than any other part of their day. Of course you might ask yourself what exactly you’re paying for.
- Expenses. There’s a long and technical list I can give you of my expenses and my cost of doing business. Things like equipment, insurance, etc. Things that you really don’t care about. What DO you care about? What I bring to the table that a photographer at a lower price point might not.
- Talent (for lack of a better term). This is very subjective but very important. Do you love what I do? The way I tell the story of a wedding day? The images I produce? Then I’m the one you want, not the photographer that charges a different price and makes totally different images.
- Experience. A talented photographer who is new to weddings will probably charge significantly less than a seasoned one. I’ve documented hundreds of couples as they commit to each other in hundreds of ways. I’ve seen so many things go really right and a few things go really wrong. Having an experienced wedding professional in your corner on your wedding day doesn’t only result in beautiful heirloom images. It will also give you someone you can rely on to overcome any kinks in your Big Day plans.
So, if you’re a list maker like me, there’s five more out of the box questions to add. If you’re one of those enviable weirdos who doesn’t need a list for every aspect of your life maybe consider asking one or two of these over a drink. Or, you know, over a slice of cake. If you want that bonus 10% of effort. Just sayin’.
Got more questions to ask a wedding photographer? Put them in the comments! I’d love to answer them!