We've all done it. We're searching for a service we've never had to use before and we don't know where to start, do we use good ol' Google to see what we should be asking.
A well-known wedding website recently posted a list of "32 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer", so I thought I'd answer each of them for you. And maybe give a little more insight into the answers along the way.
1. Do You Have My Date Available?
Probably a fairly obvious question to ask and one to ask each photographer you speak to.
2. How Long Have You Been Working as a Wedding Photographer?
Me personally? This (2022) is my 12th year, and my second year doing it full-time after having my daughter in late 2019 (we don't count 2020!). We're all different and length of time doesn't equal more experience for various reasons. In the early years, I only did a handful of weddings as I put more effort into learning than I did getting bookings.
3. How Many Weddings Do You Shoot a Year?
For me, at the moment it's about 20-30 weddings a year. Others will be able to do 40-60 weddings a year but I've got a young family to work around
4. Can I See Some Full Wedding Albums? Are All the Images Yours? How Recent Are They?
If you don't ask to see this before you book me I'll be concerned! 100% you can see some full galleries, in fact you can see as many as you like! Other than where I've used a second photographer, which I'll always highlight when I'm showing you full galleries, all of the images are my own. I tend to show weddings from the past year so you can get an exact idea on my style which has evolved over time.
5. Have You Worked at Our Venue Before? If Not, Will You Visit Beforehand?
If I've not worked there before, and you would really like me to, I'm happy to visit it with you beforehand. Photographers don't usually see the need as photographic opportunities at the venue can change depending on the weather and lighting. I think on my feet and I love being inspired by a spot as I walk around. You might see an old doorway, I'll see an epic shot for the two of you to stand in. I also research online before the day so I can get inspiration from what others might have done.
6. Have You Photographed a Wedding of a Similar Size to Ours Before?
I've photographed weddings of all different sizes, from just 2 (COVID) to 250!
7. What Wedding Packages Do You Offer?
I offer packages by the time you want me there; 8 or 10 hours with the option to add more, plus additions of enagagement/pre-wedding shoots, additional photographers and wedding albums. Take a look at my packages page to see what's on offer.
8. What Information Do You Need from Us Before the Wedding Day?
I want your life story - no, I'm joking. I need information for the contract like your names and contact details, timings for the day, details of who you'd like in group photos, addresses of the venue(s) and things like that. I also ask for your permission to use your photos in my marketing bits once the gallery has been delivered to you.
9. How Would You Describe Your Photography Style?
I describe my style as documentary photography with a little traditional stuff thrown in. I prefer photographing moments over posed stuff but there is a time for the more posed photos. Even when I "pose" I don't really as I'll ask you questions to relax you and say things to make you laugh, or ask you to kiss each other for the more intimate photos. When it comes to the rest of the day though I don't pose any of it! I want to see the real laughs, the real tears, the embarrassed faces during the best mans speech - all of it!
10. Can I Speak to Some Former Clients or Read Testimonials?
For GDPR reasons no one should ever hand out previous couples' details to be contacted! That's a huge no-no but has no reflection on my ability to do my job. I'm more than happy for you to read the testimonials and I can promise on my daughter's life they're all true and taken word for word from the couples!
11. Will I Be Able to Give You a List of Specific Shots We’d Like?
If you have people at the wedding you'd like to make sure I get pictures of, such as your grandparents, then of course. If you have things going on you'd like covered like confetti shots and sparklers then absolutely. Most of my job is documenting what's happening on the day so you'll probably find I already cover everything anyway. Having said that it's important to note that weddings are very fast-paced days and it is possible some things get missed, so if there's something you are dead certain can't be missed under any circumstances, let me know.
12. Do You Offer an Engagement Shoot as Part of Your Package?
I offer it as an additional product and definitely encourage all couples to book one. Not only do you get some lovely photos, it's also a brilliant way for us to learn how to work with each other before the day. For those who are camera shy I think it's even more important, as once you've had the engagement shoot with me you'll realise there's nothing to worry about and you'll be more relaxed on the big day.
13. What Time Will You Arrive at the Venue?
What time do you want me to? I tend to arrive at the ceremony venue about half an hour before the ceremony to capture guests arriving, but the choice is yours.
14. Do We Need to Provide You with Food?
This is definitely a well-discussed topic amongst photographers and videographers! Personally, I prefer to bring my own food as caterers are often busy serving you and your guests and they leave our food until the end. Great that we get food, not so great that I have to very quickly eat the 3-course meal you've provided for me in the space of 10 minutes so I can get back to the room in time for speeches. If you do want to feed me I ask that I get served it the same time as the top table does so I'm not rushing. P.s. I'm allergic to shellfish and don't like spicy food ;-)
Just as a side note, as lovely as it is to be sat with your guests this is likely to be our only break during the day, so please don't be offended if we choose to eat in a quiet corner so that we can chill for a bit.
15. Do I Need to Cover Travel Costs?
Only if you're outside my 60-mile radius, but I'd let you know before you book if that were the case and what the costs would be.
16. Will You Be the Primary Photographer on the Day?
If you're booking me then yes! If I'm ill or something I will make sure to send someone who is equally as skilled as (if not better than) me.
17. What Will You Be Wearing?
It depends on the weather! If it's a hot summers day I'll likely be in a comfortable dress, otherwise I tend to wear black jeans, comfy footwear and a pretty top. If you are having a black-tie event though, please let me know.
18. What Time Will You Stay Until?
It depends on the package you've chosen, up to 8 or 10 consecutive hours, or longer if you've opted for additional cover.
19. Can We Pay an Extra Fee If We Require You to Stay Longer?
Think I answered that already, but in case it wasn't clear, yes.
20. How Much is a Second Shooter?
I charge £500 for a second shooter who typically does 8 hours.
21. Can You Put Together a Slideshow for the Wedding Breakfast?
I don't think I know any photographers who have the time to do this for the wedding breakfast! We're shooting non-stop until the wedding breakfast so there's no time to sit, upload the many hundreds of photos we've taken so far, edit them, and create a slideshow! Some can do it for the evening reception, but as I edit on a desktop PC I don't have the ability to do this.
22. Will Other People Be Able to Take Photos While You Are?
During the group photos, it's common for guests to stand behind me and take the same photo as I am. I don't mind as long as they're not in my way and they're not holding things up by taking a few more photos when I have a list to work through. During the couples photos, when I whisk you away from everyone else, I ask that no one comes with us as it's your first opportunity to be alone since you said "I do".
23. What Is Your Back-up Plan If You Can’t Attend on the Day?
Fingers crossed this never happens, but if it does I'm part of a large network of photographers where I can request emergency cover if needed. I'd still edit the photos so you'd still see the style you see on my website.
24. Do You have Back-up Equipment?
I carry two cameras and three lenses with me. I'd love a third camera but frankly, I can't afford it yet! I have smashed a camera and lens at a wedding once, but you wouldn't know from looking at the photos. I just used the other camera and two lenses for the rest of the day.
25. Do You Have Insurance?
Absolutely, I have public liability insurance up to £5 million and professional indemnity insurance too. If you want to see my certificate, just ask. All photographers charging for their services should have this.
26. How Much is the Deposit and When Do You Need It By?
The booking fee (different from a deposit) is 25% of the total price and due at the time of booking.
27. Will We Receive Digital Copies of All Images – and How Many Will That Be?
You'll receive digital copies of all final, edited images. Trust me, you don't want every single photo I've taken. A lot will have eyes shut, they may be blurry, someones pulling a less than attractive face, the list goes on. I don't promise a set amount of photos as it depends on the day, how many guests are there, what's going on etc but the average for a 10 hour wedding package is 600.
28. Do You Offer a Printing and/or Album Service?
Yes, you can buy a wedding album which I design and is professionally made. I also have an online store through the gallery where you can buy prints and wall art.
29. Is Retouching Included in the Price?
Basic editing is included. Those are changes to make photos look the same as the style you see across my site. I don't offer dramatic retouching as standard, such as removing people, airbrushing skin, removing tattoos, moving objects etc. I can arrange it so if it's something you wanted after the wedding we can have a chat about any associated costs.
30. Can We Create a Bespoke Package?
Definitely. I've changed my packages recently so that it's easier to build your own package, rather than having packages with set products included.
31. How Long Will the Pictures Take to Arrive?
Typically 6-8 weeks, but during busier periods it can take longer. I will keep you updated and there's an editing queue page on my website now, so you can see where you are.
32. When Will We Need to Make the Final Payment?
The final payment is due 28 days before the wedding. I prefer that installments aren't made as it messes up my accounting, so I'd suggest you stick that money into a savings account until it's due so that it at least earns you some interest. Y'know, a penny!
Well there you are, that answers all of the questions you've been told to ask! If I've missed any let me know in the comments. If you're happy then contact me about question one!