Probably by now you’ve all read a million articles about finding a wedding photographer; from the ‘how much you should pay’ type articles to posts about different styles and why each one is perfect for your wedding. Instead, I’m going to give you the Top 3 ‘must ask’ questions you must ask your photographer before you book.Talking about price is a bit pointless – everyone has different ideas of what they can actually afford. What is ‘realistic’ for one is ‘wildly expensive’ for another. So we’re not going to talk prices, at all. Yay!
Since I got started in wedding photography fifteen years ago, a lot has changed. Styles have come and gone. In the last ten years the internet has allowed you access to loads more photographers than you ever thought existed. Really, before you started planning your wedding, how many wedding photographers did you think were out there? 😀 Luckily for you, you’ve got an ally on your side.
No, not a team of experts giving you insider advice (though you do have one of those anyway :D), but your own idea of what you like. First and foremost, the most important voice you need to listen to when hiring any supplier, is your own. Do you like what’s infront of you? After all, I’m not the one paying for your photographer. I’ve got my own ideas about the photography I like, but this isn’t about me promote a type of style, this about helping you find your ideal wedding photographer.
So let’s assume you’ve had a look around the internet, had some recommendations and you’ve chosen three photographers whose work you like.
Most people have no idea about what to ask – after all you’ve not bought wedding photography before. Not to fret, here’s three things you can ask yourself that will help you hire your ideal wedding photographer.
1. Does this photographer realise how important my wedding is?
Seems a bit of a weird thing to start off with. Surely you could expect it as a given that a wedding photographer understands how important this is to you? Alas, like any job, sometimes people become jaded in what they do. They just go through the motions. You’ll know this if you see it. It’s not a question exactly, but our BS meters pick up on stuff like this really quickly. Next time you’re at a wedding fair, have a look around, you’ll see at least one supplier standing there with a ‘why do I bother’ face. Avoid them. Stick with suppliers who get genuinely enthusiastic about your wedding.
2. Am I going to get a personal service?
This ties in with number one – do you get a feeling that you’re going to be just an entry in a diary? A set of numbers next to a name? A line in the income section of their tax return? Again, do you get a feeling that you’re going to be part of a production line? Just another step in a cookie cutter wedding line before the supplier moves onto another. A good way of picking this out with photography is to look at the portfolio (they do have a comprehensive portfolio right?). Are all the images very ‘samey’? The same poses, the same look and feel with zero variation between one wedding and the next? It’s important to have a consistent style, but you also don’t want a photographer who simply shoots the same wedding thirty times a year, just with a different couple every time.
3. Can you trust this photographer?
This is not the place to discuss what’s happened in the industry the last six years or so. Suffice to say, there are a lot of people out there (and they’re not all ‘newbies’) who are simply out to make a quick buck. Does this photographer have a number of full weddings they can show you? Have they got testimonials they are happy to share? Are they professional in their dealings with you? In short, do they act and behave in a professional manner and fill you with confidence? I’m not talking about them blowing smoke up your skirts, but just the having that air of confidence that people who know that they are doing give off. Oh and if they don’t want to use contracts/service agreements and take cash only, walk away. Just walk away.
Most people when choosing their photographer know more or less what kind of photography they like. That’s easy. The hard part is finding someone whom you click with. This person will be with you all day. If you can’t be comfortable around them, your photographs will suffer. Just listen to your instinct when you meet photographers. You’re not meeting them to see their work, you’ve already seen it. You’re meeting them to meet them. To see if you like them as a person. Even if they are the most amazing photographs you’ve ever seen, if you don’t like them as people you’ll have terrible photos.
Over the course of my career, a lot has changed, but one thing has remained the same. This little phrase:
If you wouldn’t have them as a guest at your wedding, don’t hire them.