Updated: Feb 20, 2019
Newly engaged? 1st things 1st, CONGRATULATIONS! You and your significant other are on the road to an amazing future together, and now comes wedding planning.
So you have a consultation set up with your wedding photographer, and now what? All wedding photographers are different, but there are still a few questions that you should ask each one on consultation day.
1 - "Do you have a full Client Album?"
A full client album can either be a previous couples online gallery or a printed album. In the case of my consultations, I provide the opportunity for my future clients to view all previous clients galleries. This way, my future couples can see what a full day of work looks like, not just the samples on my portfolio. Viewing a few album also helps you see how your photographer works in different conditions; inside dimly lit hotels, noon time ceremonies and receptions with no natural light.
2 - "Do you have Business Liability Insurance?"
Here's a scenario, you hire a photographer strictly based on their low prices, your big day comes and one of your guests trips over a light stand and injures themself. Not a huge problem, your photographer is a professional so surely they have business insurance.
They don't, you soon find out they aren't a legal business and have zero insurance.
It is so important to make sure your wedding photographer (or any wedding professional) has proper coverage, in fact your venue may not allow your photographer through the door without proof of insurance.
3 - "Do you have any additional travel fees?"
I travel throughout most of the North East and do not charge a travel fee, but once I'm asked to travel outside my radius, I do charge an additional fee. Some wedding professionals may charge a travel fee for travel over 20 miles of their home base. Others may not charge anything at all. Make sure you ask how much it is and if the fee is included in their contract.
4 - "Do you have backup equipment?"
I can't even tell you how many times I've woken up in a cold sweat after having a nightmare where my camera spontaneously exploded leaving me with nothing. Thankfully that is not the case in real life. This question may seem irrelevant, but nothing is worse than your photographer telling you that they dropped their sole camera on your wedding day and they have nothing.
5 - "What's your turnaround time?"
It's nice to have a timeframe for when your photos, prints, etc., will be completed. Do expect a longer turnaround time during the busier seasons. I list my turnaround time in my contracts and customize them for every wedding.
6 - "Do you offer a print release?"
While not all photographer off this (nothing wrong with offering it or not), but it is important to know if you'll receive watermarked photos oo not. Most print shops will also request a print release before printing professional photos or may not even print a photo with a watermark on it.
7 - "How long will you backup my photos?"
I back up all my clients photos for three years, you never know what might happen. Ask your potential client how long they hold on to your photos after the gallery is removed from their website. Also ask how the photos will be backed up; internal computer hard drive or external hard drive.
8 - "What does your Day of Timeline look like?"
Each wedding is different and unique, but knowing what your potential photographer standard day looks like is important. My typical day off looks something like this;
I arrive at the venue and introduce myself to any coordinators or the owners of the venue. I meet up with the bride while my second photographer meets up with the groom. After I get ready for either the 1st look or the ceremony (or sometimes both), followed by family formals, then I send my second photographer to photograph the detail of the reception while I take the couple and get more intimate photos alone. We meet back up for the reception and proceed to party! Of course, this is a super cliff note version of my typical day, but it does give my future clients a good idea of how I work.
9 - "Do you offer engagement photos with your packages?"
While not necessity, I love including engagement sessions with all of my packages. It's a great way to break the ice with my couples and really get to know them well before the big day. It helps my clients relax and to see what my shooting style is like.
10 - "How are payments handled?"
All photographers handle their payments and payment timelines differently, make sure they outline how and when they expect a contract. Almost all photographer will not hold your date without a payment and signed contract. For my future couples, I ask for 25% down at the time of contract signing and work with them to figure out a schedule for the remaining three payments with the last payment due 30 days before their wedding.
There you have it! Of course there are a thousand and one more questions you could and should ask your photographer during your consultation, but I hope that these questions are a good starting point. Ready to met up for your wedding consultation with me? Contact me!