I know it can be tricky to choose your Wedding Photographer. You have seen lots of photos online, on social media, then your planner recommends a few and after a while you cannot really tell one from the other. I guess it is like when you try to choose a good perfume, you get confused really quickly or you settle for the first one you love by discarding all others.
1.Can we have an online chat?
One thing I really recommend, apart from choosing a photographer whose work you really love, is to make sure you “click” and connect with him or her on a personal level. After all, your photographer is going to be with you all day sharing your very special and intimate moments. Make sure you get to chat with the two or three photographers that you really love and are on your final short list. Do not only compare prices. Very often I am asked to provide a “package” price for events and I have not even met the couple. How can the couple tell if the price is good value for money if they do not know me?
I really prefer to chat with the couple to see where they come from, what they like and what they expect from me and from their wedding photos.
2. How much experience do you have? (instead of “How many followers do you have on Instagram”)
Ok so for me experience in this sort of job is key. Would you prefer to be operated by a surgeon with experience or by another with great social media but less experience? I am being a bit mean here but many brides get carried away by the number of followers a photographer has on Instagram. Is it really that important? Experience gives you the ability to handle your camera, light, atmospheric conditions and outside circumstances much better without panicking. Are you looking for trendy images or timeless, delicate and artistic images that stand the test of time? Either way, make sure your photographer has plenty of experience because on a wedding day many things can happen and the ability to cope with pressure and improvise is vital.
3. How many weddings do you shoot per year? and Are you shooting the wedding yourself?
Ok so these two came to my head together because if I am a high volume photographer, chances are that I will have a small team that shoots for me. It´s important to know if the actual photographer will be shooting your wedding or if a team member will do it. In my case I always shoot all my weddings, sometimes with a second photographer.
I recommend using a photographer that shoots a limited number of weddings per year so he or she can dedicate his/her time to you in a more personal way and with attention to detail.
4. Are you a local photographer?
Well you would probably know this before asking but it´s a very important point. Destination wedding photographers travel around the world and might not have been to your venue or destination ever before. Good professional destination wedding photographers do their research beforehand, but hiring a local photographer has its advantages: first you do not pay for their travel and hotel. Second, they know the venue (most likely, or something similar), are used to shooting in harsh sunlight, rain, snow or whatever the case (in my case it is very important to know how to shoot in strong sunlight and in very hot weather) and they know their way around places, the best spots for shooting and very importantly, local photographers know the other vendors working on your wedding. This makes things a lot easier for everyone, remember this point.
5. What is your style and approach?
This is a very important question. Apart from what you have seen on the photographer´s portfolio, it´s nice to hear from the photographer what their shooting style is (more posed, more spontaneous, a combination, artistic, with lots of details, or with lots of family groups, only candids and no posing, etc). Some photographers do not really shoot many family shots. I understand the importance of it so I do not mind. For example, my style is bright, airy, romantic, elegant, artistic and timeless. I shoot spontaneous throughout the day except for the group shots and the bride and groom session, which tends to be quite natural and with little posing, nothing fake.
You may also ask if they shoot digital or film, or combination (I shoot only digital but I replicate the look of film in the edition) or if the photographer will guide you and lead you (in my case yes I do!)
6. What is included in the price and what are the conditions for booking?
With any purchase, make sure you are clear on what is included and what is not. But being one of the most important investments of your wedding, do not get hung up on price. Memories are priceless!
You may ask how many images you will get, how long will it take to get them, do you get an online gallery, does it include a second photographer, or transportation costs. I prefer to give a custom price that includes all of the couple´s requests, so that once they pay for it, all is included in the price.
Also make sure you know the conditions for booking so that you do not lose your favourite photographer. Enquiring about a specific date does not guarantee the booking until the deposit is made.
7. Can I see a full gallery?
The online galleries on my portfolio are quite large, but some photographers only show selected images from different weddings or you only get to see the images on social media. Make sure you see one full gallery that tells the story of the day from beginning to end, and check for consistency in the quality of the work. Also check if the edited style is consistent with the photos on social media, in other words, if all the photos are retouched in the same way as in the social media that you see. You can also check how the family group shots are done, since these do not tend to be shown on the galleries or social media.
8. Do you offer Albums and Prints?
Check that your photographer offers the types of albums that you would like to order. Most times the best album labs require a professional to order the albums and you might now have access on your own. Check that the albums lab is of the standard you are looking for and that they have plenty of options to choose from (or exactly what you need). Prints are easier to order on your own but if you want high quality products you will need a professional lab once again.
9. What happens if I need to cancel or if you get ill?
This is a very valid question. Life happens and sometimes things out of our control can change our plans. My deposits are non-refundable in the event of cancellation. This is why a contract is signed with the terms. If the wedding is postponed for valid reasons (illness, etc) then we can talk about it, but it will depend upon the circumstances.
in the event of the photographer becoming ill or being unable to attend, it is your right to get a replacement with a similar one or at least a professional one. My contract states that a professional photographer will be provided in case of illness (my husband Alberto who is an excellent Wedding Photographer is my back up).
10. Can you give me a sample timeline for the day?
This is a great question and it really helps to make sure you allow enough time to your photographer to take all the shots you and her/him want. I will soon post a post explaining how I plan my timelines, but make sure your photographer tells you his or her timeline and that it matches everything you are supposed to be doing during those times. For example, your photographer might want a golden light bride and groom session but during that time you are already sitting down for dinner.
If you have questions I am here to help! do not hesitate to send me a note!