A wedding photographer is usually high priority on a bride’s budget. Why? Because who doesn’t want amazing wedding pictures to show their children, children’s children, and children’s children’s children. It’s important to capture the special moments, and, well, maybe a glimpse of that perfectly tailored $2,000 mermaid gown you wore in the moment too, right?
Choosing a photographer to capture it all on your wedding day can prove to be more difficult than it looks. I know the picture of that gourmet dinner you prepared last night made you feel like you were a photographer, but the truth is, despite what Apple has to say about it, you aren’t a professional photographer.
Out of the dozens of talented artists out there (and at our show) that could capture your wedding, not every one of them will be the best fit for your big day. In an effort to ensure that the most fabulous version of your nonprofessional photographer self (and gown) go down in history, here are a few questions you need to ask before selecting a photographer.
What exactly am I getting?
One of the biggest upsets in wedding photography comes when the bride and groom misunderstand what they will be receiving from the photographer in terms of hard copy and digital images.
What does this mean? Here’s a scenario:
The package says you will receive 400 photos (printed) from the event. However, the photographer actually shows you 1000 photos. Now you are left to choose 400 photos out of the fabulous 1000 or pay extra for all.
The same goes for digital negatives and digital images. The package may say you will receive digital images. But most brides don’t realize they need to ask the photographer what they mean by the word “images”? Will they be high res JPGs? Will they release the copyright to you, so you can print these images on your own, or will you need to have them printed through the photographer at an extra charge? Will the digital images you receive be edited? And what publication rights will the photographer have, i.e., Do you want photos of your wedding day published?
There is a lot to ask! Technology certainly has its advantages, but when it isn’t fully understood, like in the case of digital “images,” it can definitely lead to disappointment. If you don’t understand what you are getting from your photographer, don’t book until you ask more questions!
Will there be a second photographer?
Not everyone needs a second photographer at their wedding, but it is definitely worth weighing the pros and cons of adding one to your event. If you feel your photographer is asking a lot in terms of price for their package, make sure you take into consideration whether they are including a second shooter. One photographer cannot be in two places at once. So, consider which moments will be most significant to you once captured on film. Want to make sure you have a photograph of both your face and the grooms face when coming down the aisle? You either need to plan to have a really long aisle or two photographers, you get the idea?
What is the timeline for photos on the day of my wedding?
Any good photographer should be discussing the timeline with you at some point once you have booked, but the key here is understanding the photographer’s idea of timeline before you book them for your wedding. You and your photographer could have totally different ideas of what the timeline will entail for the price you paid, so this question is crucial to managing your expectations and making sure you are getting what you want on your day.
Another tip: Often times wedding planners underestimate how much time a photographer needs to capture every picture the bride wants. Each photographer’s timeline is different, but in asking this question in advance you will be able to create an accurate wedding itinerary with your wedding planner that will help make your day as smooth as possible.
What’s the turnaround time for receiving my pictures?
Often times in all the excitement of selecting vendors and planning the wedding, brides completely forget to ask this question. Not handling this question ahead of time can quickly transform anticipation to frustration with your photographer and lead to a slight post-partum wedding depression. Remember all those pictures you drooled over on Instagram that led you to book your brilliant photographer, it took time to edit and make them look that perfect. Help yourself and your photographer by asking this question ahead of time and preparing yourself to wait for the amazingness.
A professional wedding photographer plays one of the most crucial roles in making a wedding memorable. So, take the time on the front end to process through what you want and ask intentional questions of your photographer, because one day you will look back a be glad you did!