Finding a photographer is a new experience and it’s totally normal to have no idea where to begin. “We don’t even know what to ask you” has been such a recurring statement to me, so I thought, hey, why don’t I create a guide just for you!
There are plenty of photographer guides out there, but what I’ve learned in my years as a professional photographer is it’s not so much gear and technicality, but rather personality and approach. Your photographer’s demeanor and personality can either add to the joy of your day or bring strain. These questions are designed to ensure you are a perfect fit for each other.
Feel free to use these questions when chatting with me or any other photographer you’re considering. Be yourself. Add, improvise or ask in your own words. This is just a starting point so you can get that conversation flowing and get closer to selecting the best wedding photographer for you.
1. How long have you been photographing weddings?
Note: More years is not necessarily better, but it’s a good starting point to get a sense of experience.
2. Do you recommend a 2nd photographer for every wedding?
Note: More is not always better and a 2nd photographer is not always necessary, so it’s good to have the dialogue about what is best for your wedding.
3. Can you tell me how you approach photographing the ceremony? Do you get up close? Do you stay in the back?
Note: Some photographers get up and close; some stand in the aisle the predominant time and others move about while keeping in the back. Think of what is most important to you during this time. Is the sanctity of the moment with minimal distractions important or are up close emotions more important?
4. What elements do you (as a photographer) enjoy the most during the wedding day?
Note: If the details and sunset portraits are really important to you, listen to see if the photographer responds with this same answer. Once again, it doesn’t necessarily matter that you’re 100% on the same page, but it does help when the photographer sincerely enjoys the same things you do.
5. How do you handle the situation if you’re too ill or injured to photograph our wedding?
Note: Listen for a very solid and confident back up plan that is already in place. It’s very unlikely but it’s wise to have a plan that is also noted in the contract.
6. How do you handle if things don’t go exactly as planned? For instance:
If the timeline gets jumbled?
If one of our family members insists on taking some photos?
If we end up needing more time at the end?
Note: Every wedding has a set timeline and every wedding has changes along the way. It’s normal. Listen for friendliness and flexibility in the answers. You don’t want your photographer adding any additional stress to the day.
7. Family portraits are (a) very important to us or (b) important but we don’t want it to take a lot of time. How do you get our diverse group organized and in place? And how much time do you allot for this?
Note: Does the photographer have a plan for portraits? Each photographer approaches this slightly different, so listen to make sure their plan and timing sounds like it’s a good fit for you.
8. Do you use a flash(s) during the evening? When do you decide to use it or not?
Note: On/Off-Camera flash can be helpful and… it can be disruptive. Ask to see specific examples and consider this when making your final decision.
Professional photography is a wonderful blend of skill, experience, kindness, joy and authenticity and I hope you found this guide helpful!