Ask all the right questions
When it comes to your special day, you want to make sure that the person or people capturing it are professional, reliable, and fit your needs! Often times we get asked a variety of questions by our client's but most of the time couples overlook some really important ones. We're here to help make sure you ask all the right questions :)
Are you licensed and insured?
A professional photographer should be a licensed business in their state and should also carry insurance. Insurance not only protects the photographers but you and your guests as well. If aunt Sally accidentally trips over your photographer's tripod while doing the chicken dance, medical expenses are covered under liability insurance policies. Additionally, it is a requirement by most venues that photographers provide a Certificate of Insurance (COI) in order to even shoot there. So, be sure to ask your photographer if they're covered before you book them! We sure are ;)
Do you have a contract?
If a photographer does not provide you with a contract, run the other way! This is a huge red flag that this person is clearly not a professional. A signed contract protects all parties and ensures everyone's needs are met. For example, you hire a photographer for your big day and via your phone consultation, you agree to an 8-hour day starting at 12pm and ending at 8pm. Well, your photographer shows up late at 1:30pm and then leaves early due to an emergency at 6pm. But, you already paid the photographer and there is no signed contract. Your out time, money, and missed photos of important memories! Should have had a contract. We always have contracts with our clients (and we're never late). :)
Will you have a second shooter?
For most weddings, photographers bring along a second shooter in order to fully capture the entire day. It's not impossible for just one person to photograph a wedding, but it certainly isn't ideal (in our opinion). Think about it this way, when one photographer is with the bride and her bridesmaids, the other is with the groom and his groomsmen. With us, you always have two photographers to ensure every moment is documented.
Do you shoot in manual?
Not to bash any photographers who still shoot in automatic mode... but you really do not know how to operate a camera properly if you cannot shoot manual. I have seen WAY too many photographers with blown-out photos because they let their camera decide the settings. A professional photographer will shoot in manual so this is a great way to weed out someone who might not be the best fit for your wedding day.
What kind of lighting equipment do you use?
Although the use of flash is not necessarily a must, I think too many photographers rely only on natural light. This is a huge problem when you are photographing at night or indoor spaces that are dark or have poor lighting, which is the majority of hotel rooms and receptions. Be sure that your photographer is capable of providing flash photography so that you do not end up with dark and/or grainy looking photos.
Can I see a full wedding gallery?
Unless your photographer is just starting out, he or she should be able to provide you with a full wedding gallery so you can see what an entire day captured would look like. This will give you a good idea of how your online gallery will look and make sure that their style is specific to what you're looking for.
What is your editing style?
By the time you actually reach out to a photographer for your wedding, you probably have a pretty good idea of what their style is by looking at their Instagram, Facebook, and Website. However, it is always a good idea to reiterate exactly what you're looking for and confirm that this is what the photographer provides. I have heard stories of clients upset because of their photographer's editing style and this is the best way to avoid that from the very beginning - be clear and concise!
Bonus: What type of retouching is included?
This goes hand in hand along with editing. Some photographers provide more retouching than others so it's important to know ahead of time what is offered. We make sizing, lighting, color, and minor skin adjustments. Any extensive photoshop work such as body reshaping, removal of persons or objects, etc. is an extra charge for most photographers, including us!
How would you describe your working style?
We help our clients with posing when needed, especially for portrait sessions, however the majority of the day we provide documentary-style photography. We like to hang back, stay out of the way, and capture the day as it occurs. It's important to know how your photographer(s) will work since everyone operates differently.
What is your turnaround time for the images?
I have heard far too many stories about brides not getting their wedding photos back for six months or even longer! Many photographers have very long turn around times that their clients aren’t aware of ahead of time. Our turn around time for weddings is 4-6 weeks. However, we’ve never taken longer than 4 weeks to deliver a wedding gallery. Your photos are just as important to us as they are to you, and we are just as excited to get them to you as you are to have them!
Do you watermark our final photos?
Personally, we only watermark images that are proofs and not our final work. For your final images, they are always delivered in high-resolution via your online gallery, easily downloaded, without a watermark. I can't imagine receiving my own wedding photos back with a photographer's big ol' watermark on it! No thank you. However, this is something that some photographers do so it is important to ask just to make sure if it's important to you.
Are we able to print our photos?
There are many photographers who ONLY allow you to print your photos through their print lab. We totally understand this as normally a professional print lab does provide the BEST quality prints and artwork. So we always do recommend ordering through us. However, we understand that not everyone can afford this as generally, it is more costly. So with us, you are able to download all of your edited images in high-resolution and have them printed wherever you like.