But where do you start? This is probably the first time you’ve been through the process of hiring a photographer & it’s completely understandable that you’re not sure what exactly to look for… So here are a few things you can consider asking during your consultations, straight from a professional photographer.
By the way, I would do this on the phone during your consultation! Chatting on the phone will help you get to know the photographer’s personality better, and give you more opportunity for follow-up questions!
Let’s go into each of these topics.
The reason: Some photographers take on bookings for their associates, who are vetted and a part of their team. On the other hand, some photographers randomly hire whoever is available to shoot your wedding or elopement. And in the worst cases, they will find someone in an online photographer’s group just a month before your wedding day.
Most couples really cherish their wedding photographs. They spend a decent amount of time looking for the right wedding photographer they like & trust, and I think couples would be so heartbroken if they knew the company they hired hadn’t put much into choosing their photographer.
That being said, it is very much within your best interest to ask, “Will you be the photographer to photograph my wedding?” Make it clear. If they say they have associates that shoot for them, don’t assume they actually work with this “associate” on a regular or consistent basis. In fact, they may have no history of working together at all.
“Can I see a gallery of another wedding they’ve photographed for you?” and “Can I chat with them on the phone to make sure we get along?” Also, make sure to ask yourself if the associate photographer’s personality is a fit with you & if their work matches the vision you have for your photos (more on this topic later).
On the other hand, maybe you’re a couple who doesn’t care too much about your photos; you’re not putting much emotional investment into them, you just “need” …want… photographs of your wedding day, but you don’t care if you get along with the photographer or if the photos are to a certain style — this might not be relevant to you.
But if you’re a couple who wants this to be more than a business transaction – you really want emotion, feeling, and the photos to capture the essence of your love – I would absolutely ask, “Are you going to be the photographer on my wedding day?”
Your wedding day is highly personal and probably very meaningful to you, but not all weddings are the same! That being said, it’s critically important to have a photographer that understands your needs, wants, and values. Definitely aim to choose a photographer who and specializes in photographing the type of wedding you’re dreaming of.
Example: If you’re looking to have an intimate elopement with just the two of you, you may not want to hire someone who mostly photographs big, traditional-style weddings!
The reason: It is in your best interest to hire a photographer whose camera has two memory card slots that simultaneously recording photos to two separate memory cards as they are taken. Why? Because memory cards fail more often than you’d probably imagine. If your photographer’s camera only has one memory card slot and that card fails… there go all of your photos. They also need to carry at least one backup camera and an extra lens to your wedding. A good rule is two memory cards (per camera), two cameras, two lenses. At minimum.
It’s also important to ask about your potential photographer’s backup process? All photographers work differently, but here is what I do for my backup process, so you can get an idea of what you should be expecting:
As soon as I get home from your wedding or elopement, I immediately start uploading your photos to not one, but TWO hard drives. Again… technology fails! It’s critical that your photographer have at least two copies of all of your photos on two different hard drives. Additionally, because I am super paranoid, I upload your photos to a cloud as a THIRD backup. PLUS I NEVER delete the photos off of the memory card until I’ve delivered the gallery to you.
So if you count it all up, I have a grand total of 4 copies of your photos at all times!
The photographer should be timely in responding to your emails. This is not an excuse for you to be crazy + demanding, and please don’t bombard them with an email every 10 minutes, but you shouldn’t have to hunt your photog down to get a response out of them.
The reason: It’s important to make sure your personalities, style, and expectations are compatible. If you’re a free-spirited, offbeat, eclectic couple who prefers candid & spirited imagery… but a photographer you’re considering is ultra-traditional with lots of posing and direction… you should reconsider and search for someone more your style.
It’s completely acceptable to ask to see a full gallery for a wedding, engagement, elopement, or whatever type of session you are inquiring about! Realize that what you see on a photographer’s website, blog, and social media is usually the highlights & their best work. Don’t get me wrong here — that is not to say the rest of their work will be lackluster! As a professional photographer myself, I love each and every photograph that I deliver to my clients and I’m happy to let others view a full gallery of my work.
Viewing a full gallery will also give you a visual of what their style is and how they might approach photographing your wedding day!
My name is Brei and I’m an intimate wedding and elopement photographer in New Orleans. I love helping couples create an amazing wedding or elopement experience then being there to photograph it all. Over the years I’ve learned many things I can share with couples, and since it’s impossible with me to work with everyone (I wish!), I enjoy sharing tips and inspiration here on my blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and if you’d like more, visit my website HERE!