19 QUESTIONS TO ASK ANY PHOTOGRAPHER TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT AFTER YOUR WEDDING
Since the advent of digital photography, and much more recently with the arrival of cheaper ‘professional looking’ entry level DSLR cameras, the number of people setting themselves up as photographers continues to grow, and in no area of photography is this more prevalent than with wedding photography. But simply owning the all singing all dancing flagship camera does not guarantee great photos every time.
So how do you know who is genuine and who is a chancer?
To help guide you, I have prepared a list of questions for you to ask every wedding photographer to ensure you get the coverage and service you want and deserve. Any photographer worth their salt should be able to answer all of these questions positively and immediately.
Are all photos on your website from actual weddings?
Every wedding photo on my website is from a wedding I have covered myself. Some photographers may use photos taken on training days, or from wedding themed model shoots which may be used as statement images throughout their website. Although it is no bad thing having these photos, if they are not taken under the normal pressures and time constraints of a wedding then they may not be a true representation of what you can expect to receive from your wedding.
Can we see full sets from real wedding?
The first thing to look for when considering any wedding photographer, before the products, before the cost, is the image quality and style. Wedding photographers put a lot of time and effort in to defining their own style, and although their style may not appeal to everyone, for those is does it is a key reason for choosing that photographer. Reassurance that their style and image quality is consistent is so important. But how do you check for this if the photographer’s portfolio is made up of images from many different weddings? Is their portfolio a good representation of their work, or is it the ‘lucky’ shots from several weddings? The easy answer, make sure you ask to see full sets from several real weddings! For my work, you can view my blog to see recent weddings with large preview sets, you can also see some complete weddings in the portfolio.
Are you a member of a professional body?
Although a photographer not being a member of a professional body does not necessarily mean that they are not good at what they do, it does give extra peace of mind for those who are. Being a member of a professional body often requires the photographer to have proven that their work is of a certain and consistent standard, while also giving clear codes of practice to adhere to. A professional body may also act as an independent adjudicator in the unlikely event or a complaint, but more importantly it gives a platform for the photographer to network with other professionals, vital in case of illness or injury to ensure coverage of your wedding.
Can I see a copy of your current insurance certificates?
This is not insurance to cover for a dropped camera, but to cover you in the event of something going horribly wrong and your Wedding needing a re-shoot in some part. It is also there to protect you and your guests in the event of an accident involving the photographer’s equipment.
Do we get a contract clearly stating what’s what?
A contract protects both you and your photographer by clearly stating what is included in the service that you are paying for. It needs to be long enough to cover the essentials but not so long you are put off reading it. Clarity is vital for both parties
What happens if you are ill or injured for our wedding?
Wedding photography tends not to attract those prone to illness, but it does happen so your photographer must have a plan for this eventuality. I have a number of professional wedding photographers that I am able to call on should I need to, additionally as a member of an active private forum with many other professional photographers coverage is pretty much a certainty.
Do you have backup equipment?
A professional photographer uses professional equipment which is designed to be more robust and reliable than the consumer level equivalents. This goes a long way to ensuring that equipment failure does not happen, and as unlikely as it is that will never happen to you, there is always that 1% chance. Myself and any second photographer that I use, will always carry at least two cameras, a selection of lenses, spare flashes, batteries, memory cards and anything else we couldn’t do the job without. It may be unlikely that we have to use it, but it is also only one day. Be wary of any photographer without backup equipment. Do you want to take the chance?
How many photos will I see from my wedding?
A typical full day’s wedding may result in up to 1,500 images being taken. After the wedding these are subjected to scrutiny and a strict selection process to remove anything unflattering, test shots, repeated shots and anything technically at fault. The result is usually 300-400 images showing the full story of your big day, all fully edited and print ready. This means they are final images ready to go into your album or simply to create a stunning printed photo. Some of those images, at my discretion, will also have additional effects applied to WOW you and show the image in what I feel is its best light, while others will be in black & white too.
Can I buy them on a CD/DVD to print myself?
Yes of course you can! I have no idea why so many Wedding Photographers say ‘No’ to this simple and obvious request, maybe it falls outside of their standard packages and they are not prepared to change the way they work. But as you will see from my Pick ‘n’ Mix fee schedule, we include the option for you to own your images complete with reproduction licence (this means you can do as you wish with them – something often wrongly referred to as Copyright free) supplied on your choice of DVD disc or USB memory stick.
Do you shoot RAW or JPEG?
Although this is a technical question and has no strict right or wrong answer, the accepted rule is that professional wedding photographers should shoot in RAW format. There are a number of reasons for this but as the files created need further processing by specialist software on a computer it gives you an indication of professionalism.
Can we have an engagement shoot?
Yes of course! An engagement shoot is a great way to get to know your photographer and for them to get to see how you are in front of a camera. If you have a special location we can visit there, or if not we can always recommend some scenic parks or woodlands. The images from your pre-wedding shoot can then be used for a ‘signature portrait’, where one photo is mounted with a large border which your guests can sign at your wedding, or a ‘signature photo book’ where a selection of photos are printed in a hard back book alongside blank pages for your guests to sign.
Do you do a pre-wedding visit of our venue with us?
This is essential for ensuring that your wedding day runs as smoothly as possible. It is a time where we can walk around your venue to discuss timings, scout out locations for group photos and bridal portraiture as well as discussing a plan for bad weather.
Can our guests take their own photos?
Of course they can! Some photographers won’t allow it, but so long as we have your attention when we need it, your guests are welcome to step in and snap away as much as they like. The only time we do not allow another photographer to be present is during the bridal portraiture when we whisk you away for your first personal photos as the newly-wed couple.
Will our family and friends be able to see our photos on-line?
Your photos will go on-line in a password protected gallery, so if you allow your guests to know what the password is then of course they can view them. However if you prefer them not go on-line at all that is entirely up to you.
Do you offer standard packages, they seems so inflexible & boring?
No. Standard packages are exactly that, standard. Is that how you want to remember your wedding day, or do would you prefer something unique to you? Packages are limiting, invariably what you really want is not available and lies somewhere between a lower and higher package. So in order to get everything you wanted you are forced to opt for a higher priced packages which often includes other feature you may not have been interested in. And if your wedding photographer says their package is flexible, then what is the point of the package in the first place?
How many photos can I have in my album?
You can have as few or as many as you like. In the ‘package’ scenario then you are usually restricted to a certain number, but in our ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ system you can have as many as you like and your budget allows.
Do we have to book you when we meet with you, or can we think about it?
Not at all, you are under no obligation to book by arranging a meeting with me. In fact you are welcome to take this guide and go investigate others, however please bare in mind that dates are taken on a first come first served basis for whoever makes their deposit payment.
If we book you, will you be our photographer on the day or will it be someone else?
Some photographers may employ several others to cover weddings under their company name, you should confirm that the name and reputation is indeed that of the photographer who will be covering your wedding and not someone else working on their behalf. If you book with David Walker Photography, you get David Walker, it’s as simple as that. The only exceptions are in the scenario where you have chosen to have a second photographer (sometimes I do wish I could clone myself!) or in the extremely unlikely event of severe illness or injury as mentioned earlier.
Can we pay in instalments?
Of course! Not everyone has an unlimited budget and being able to pay over a number of months can make life so much easier. This is the beauty of the ‘Pick ‘n’ Mix’ system, only our attendance fee must be paid in full prior to your wedding day. I require a £250.00 deposit to secure your booking, and the remainder need be paid no later than four weeks before the day. Whether you choose to settle the final amount in one payment, spread it over multiple instalments or pay all up front to get it out of the way is entirely your choice. I will only commence to work on any albums or other products once they have been paid in full too, so purchasing your album can be done many weeks or months after your wedding. My clients love this flexibility as it allows those on smaller budgets to spend more money on their honeymoon!
If you do have any further questions please do let us know! Contact us to make a no obligation appointment.