I know from experience, planning the most important day of your life, is a daunting task when every detail counts. Part of the end result is getting a photographer to capture it in stunning shots so you can remember it in years to come. Getting a skilled photographer is part of the task; however, you want them to share your vision too. On top of that, there’s the contract, pricing, and turnaround times to consider.
If you feel overwhelmed, don’t. I’m going to impart my wisdom on you and tell you what exactly you should ask a wedding photographer before you book them.
Nailing the style
Before starting your hunt, you may have already hammered out what style of photographs you want from your wedding and searched accordingly.
It’s essential to establish their specialist style from the get-go as most photographers will use a combination of techniques. You may want to ensure they shoot portraits or can take candid shots when the action starts, for instance. If they are more comfortable taking staged group photos and nothing else, they might not be for you.
Check if they want a shot list or if they want to unleash their own creativity. The former can help, but you also don’t want to stifle any genius the photographer can provide from their experience.
Whether the photographer plans to retouch or rebalance the photographs before of after showing you the proofs is another crucial question to ask them.
Sometimes, retouching will only happen on the images you order. This could have a bearing on the time it takes to return the photos or, in turn, which photos you order.
Sussing out experience is another critical element to ensure you get someone who can deliver under pressure and deliver various shots.
Ask them how many wedding shoots they have done and how many jobs they do in a year. Add in a smart query about what their favorite time of the wedding is, which could show you their enthusiasm and familiarity with the wedding scene.
It might be an idea to check if they have covered an event at the venue before, and if not, if they would be willing to visit it beforehand.
Getting your mediums straight
Getting the medium you want is a case of asking outright: do you shoot in digital, film or both?
Digital photography has been the most common and cost-effective way of getting the right professional level images for all occasions, including weddings. Film’s use in wedding photography is rising, however. If you’re after the traditional look of film for your wedding day, make sure your photographer can deliver. You’ll also want to iron out what you want in digital and what you want to be shot in film format, and whether they should be in color or in black & white.
Prints should be on good quality acid-free paper as well.
The overall package
Wedding photography packages can vary significantly. Fees will depend on how many prints you want, whether you would like albums or proofs and any extra shoots such as engagement or pre-wedding party shots. If you’ve asked for images in a film format, ask about developing and prints costs.
It would help if you also asked the photographer about how much coverage time they include in the package and any overtime costs. A good wedding is known to overrun. Then bottom out the deposit and final price.
On the day
Whoever you speak to about your wedding photography, they may not be the actual photographer on the day. If that is the case, ask to meet your actual shooter.
Equally, you want to ask if your designated photographer has a back up in case they are sick. It may also be the case that you would like a second shooter for more coverage, especially if you’re planning a big event. Make sure you know the additional costs.
Ask if they will be bringing their own lighting, so you can manage the aesthetics of any bulky equipment. And ask the day’s photographer what they might wear. To help, you can advise the photographer on your color theme, so they can blend in.
After the big day is over, my clients are always itching to get their hands on the photos but the process can sometimes take months. To be sure, ask your photographer how long you can expect to wait.
Another point worth noting is that if you have hired a separate videographer, your photographer will also need to coordinate with them. Before you hire one, you could ask the photographer for a suggestion, so you know they have an existing rapport.
And just a small legal note: ask about any copyright or restrictions that apply to the photographs as that will affect whether you can share them on social media.
I’ve spent years delivering quality and stylish photographs for my clients in Sydney with stunning collaborative results. Australia is also an idyllic choice for a honeymoon or destination wedding. Just don’t forget that changing names after marriage can cause hiccups and the name on your passport, airline tickets, and tour information should all be in sync; the best way to deal with this is by staying informed. You can learn more about name change after marriage from this guide here.
It’s advisable to finalize everything before you fly or nail it down on your return.
Photo credit: Jeffrey Wang from Perfect Moment Photography studio.
Author Bio: Wedding photography expert Jeffrey Wang has his own wedding photography studio in Sydney Perfect Moment Photography. He helped hundreds of couples to capture their love stories and the raw emotions and spirit behinds the weddings. In his free time, he writes about love stories, venues and photography tips for known wedding blogs around the globe.