Eleven Questions to ask your potential wedding photographer
You think you've found the right wedding photographer, here are my insider tips
Mar 7, 2015
Top Eleven Questions to Ask when Meeting a Wedding Photographer
written by Kellie Saunders, leading wedding photographer in Metro Detroit, MI
(may be reprinted with permission)
- Equipment and backup equipment. Whether your photographer shoots Nikon or Canon is not important. Make sure they use professional grade camera bodies and lenses. A professional grade camera body will have dual slot technology. This means that your photographer will always be saving a backup at the time they take a photo – so there is very little risk of corrupt data – meaning your images should always be safe. (I use the Nikon D4 and D3s – both of which have dual slots). I also always have two cameras and one as a backup. This might be overkill, but I've been in business a very long time and even the best cameras have bad days. Backups are essential and a must!
- Ask about credentials. Why are they a photographer and how did they become a wedding photographer? Do they specialize in just weddings? What type of training, education and experience do they have?
- Backup plan in case of illness. No one can promise you an emergency won’t happen. Ask and understand what your wedding photographers plan is should something happen.
- What type of retouching do they do to the images and are the images retouched before you see them? Some photographers will do minimal retouching while others offer the whole kit and caboodle. Ask them what they consider retouching. Is it just blemish removal or is it object removal or manipulation as well. Know what level of retouching your photographer offers. Also it’s important to know if all the images are retouched or only a set amount.
- Do they carry liability insurance? This is very important. It protects both you and them and some venues won’t let vendors work there without liability insurance. I carry 2 million dollars of liability insurance.
- What is their preferred method of communication? It’s important to know if they prefer email or phone calls. I have many clients who like to text or facebook message me. I have to kindly remind them that it’s difficult for me to keep those straight so I ask that my clients either call me the old fashioned way or send an email.
- How soon will you see your photos after the wedding? What’s their timeline for finishing the project and how will the images be delivered to you? Some will offer an online gallery and with some you might need to go to the studio for a viewing session. Make sure this is clear so you know what to expect.
- What is the retainer and is it refundable? Most photographers will have a non-refundable retainer for their services. This is normal.
- What is your payment schedule? When is the final payment due? It is completely normal and standard for the final payment to be due before the wedding date.
- Have they ever had a complaint and how did they handle it? I think this is a very valid question. How someone handles a complaint is almost more important than the complaint itself. The truth is if you are meeting with an established professional they probably have had an unhappy bride at least one time. I would suggest that someone was not being truthful if they told you otherwise. Listen to their answer and go with your gut on it. Does it sound sincere?
- If you want an engagement session, talk about schedules now. Most wedding photographers are very busy in the spring and fall and that’s when most couples want an engagement session. Ask what days they are available and how far in advance you need to schedule the session.