email@example.com // 612.296.8108 // minneapolis, Minnesota
At the top of most couples lists after locking in their dream venue is finding a photographer they love to capture it all. At this stage in most peoples lives, the only contact with a professional photog was maybe getting their senior pictures taken, or a head shot for their linked in profile. How do you know which photographer to pick? How can you trust someone you’ve never worked with before to capture a once-in-a-lifetime event? Finding the best one for your Big Day can certainly be overwhelming in the sea of options available to you out there but after extensive instagram and website stalking, you’ve found the ones with your ideal styles and narrowed it down to your top picks that are available for your date and scheduled meetings with them. How do you know what to ask to make sure they’re the best fit for you? I got you covered with some few key FAQs from prospective couples and a few that most don’t think to answer (but should) to help you find the perfect fit as well as some helpful tips to consider before signing on the dotted:
First impressions are a big deal. Especially when it comes to the one vendor you’ll be spending more time with on your wedding day than even your parents. Are they attentive in listening to your needs for the day and offering packages that fit your needs? Are they fun to be around? If you feel like you could throw back a few beers and be at ease with on a normal day with your photographer then that means having that person behind the camera with you all day will be a walk in the park. You’ll be able to be yourselves, lending to more natural photos and better candids.
- How Much Experience Do They Have?
There is quite the gamut of experience levels in the wedding world. From budding creatives just getting started to seasoned pros with years of experience. Everyone has purpose and a place no matter what level of experience so it’s good to ask yourselves how important experience is to you. Ask them how long they’ve been shooting for. How many weddings do they do a year? Are they full time or part time? The more experienced they are usually means a higher investment but that experience brings with it more refined skills and higher levels of service and consistency; Which in the end, can provide greater comfort for you knowing they’ve seen it all on a wedding day and stay ahead those wedding day curve balls.
- Check Their Work
You’ve already seen the beautiful work they’re willing to show as their portfolio on their website/social media, but what about the rest? 90% of a wedding day occurs outside of what most photographers show up front. Ask to see a full gallery or two of recent weddings to get a feel for what all that in-between looks like. How are the candids? The family photos? The speeches? The dance party? If you like what you see there then you’re going to like what your photos look like come delivery time.
- How long does it take to get the photos back after the wedding?
Every photographer has different delivery times when it comes to getting your wedding images to you after the Big Day. Some are a few weeks, some are a few months, or longer. Factor that in when deciding how long you can wait to see your pictures. Ask if they do a little sneak peek to tide you over. No matter how long they may take to deliver, make sure it’s spelled out in your contract so you’re not left waiting an undetermined amount of time.
- What is the Retainer Amount?
This also varies amongst photographers. But it’s good to know what will be needed up front to lock in your date. It’s also typically non-refundable so make sure it’s an amount you’re comfortable with. Also ask how they accept payments: do they take credit cards or only checks?
Make sure the contract they have is solid and is fair to both parties involved. It should lay out all the things you’re each on the hook for should something change as well as list all the services they are providing to you and what expectations are required. A good contract will protect you from the worst case scenario but also lay out all the “legal” stuff so everyone is on the same page.
- How about communications?
There’s a lot of things to talk about with your photog leading up to the wedding day: Setting up the engagement session, asking questions about timing and logistics, to setting up time to hang out and go over the whole day together. Find out when you can expect to hear back after you’ve sent an email or called them. Do they have out of office days (usually weekends when they’re shooting weddings are an obvious one) but it’s good to ask so you know what to expect or when you may need to follow up and make sure your email didn’t get sent to spam or they were out of town for a period of time. You can get a pretty good idea of how good they are at communicating with you during the initial meet-n-greet set up too.
If these things all get the check of approval by you then you found your match and can feel confident moving forward that you’ve found the best fit for you!