Finding the right wedding photographer isn’t unlike finding the right person to marry. You’ll be spending a lot of time with your photographer throughout your wedding day (including some personal moments), so you’ll want to make sure that you get along well with him or her. And of course, you’ll also want someone with talent, creativity, and a style that reflects your own. So what’s the best way to find “the one”? First, search WeddingWire’s vendor reviews to find a list of talented photographers near you, check out their portfolios, and pick out three or four photographers you’d like to interview. Before you sit down with them, first make sure that they have your date available – if the answer is no, there’s no need to schedule an in-person interview. But if they do have your date available, meet for an interview and ask the following questions:
1. How would you describe your style of photography and can I see examples? You’ll likely hear words like “photojournalistic,” “traditional,” “formal,” “documentary,” or “creative” but frequently these mean different things to different people. Ask a photographer to walk you through his or her work to help illuminate a description.
2. Have you ever photographed a wedding in my venue before? If the answer is yes, ask to see the images that were shot at your venue to make sure they mesh with your vision. If the answer is no, it’s certainly not a deal-breaker, but see if the photographer would be willing to “scout” or check out your location in advance of the wedding to pick backdrops, etc.
3. Will you be the one photographing my wedding? If the photographer works solo, the answer would be an obvious yes. However, if you’re interviewing a photographer from a bigger company, make sure that the person you’re talking to will be the one who will show up on your wedding day.
4. What if you get sick or an emergency comes up and you can’t photographer my wedding? A photographer who works alone should have a good back-up plan in case of emergency, one that makes you feel comfortable and secure.
5. Are you insured? A professional photographer should have insurance in case their equipment breaks, is stolen, or an accident occurs.
5. Can I see the album from a full wedding? Some photographers will just show you a collection of their best images, instead of the full set of images from a wedding, start to finish. You’ll want to see images from every part of a wedding – getting ready, the ceremony, first dance, etc. – not just the most creative or dreamy portraits.
6. What do your packages include? Ask to see their pricing and a list of what each package includes. Find out if the photographer is flexible about adding and subtracting elements of their packages to help work with your budget.
7. How and when will I receive my proofs? Find out how long it will take for your photographer to send you your images. About three to four weeks is pretty standard. Also, find out how you will receive the images. Will you receive a CD so you can print the images yourself, or will they be in an online gallery where you can order prints?
8. How many photographers will cover my wedding? Will you have a second shooter or assistant? The answer to this really depends on the size of your wedding. If you’re having a smaller wedding, one photographer may be sufficient. But if you’re having a bigger wedding with lots of guests, you’ll likely need at least one if not two additional shooters. Talk to the potential photographer to make sure he or she is comfortable working with the size of your wedding.
9. How do you like to schedule a wedding day? It’s so important for a photographer to have good time management skills. Their ability to stay on schedule will affect how your wedding day plays out. Do they prefer to do portraits before or after the ceremony? How flexible are they to hearing your ideas and vision of your day?
10. Do you shoot mostly in black and white or color? This is really personal preference, make sure that your photographer’s style fits with yours, or that he or she is flexible and willing to adjust to your vision.
11. How long have you been photographing weddings and how many weddings do you photograph a year? Get a sense of your photographer’s experience and workload.
13. What do you love most about photographing weddings? This is a good question to get a sense of the photographer’s personality, and seem excited to share your wedding day with you.
14. Can I see a contract? If you think you’re ready to move forward with a photographer, ask to see his or her contract, read it carefully, and follow up with any additional questions you may have.