What to Ask a Wedding Photographer | Alabama Wedding Photographer | Hannah Kate Photography
What to Ask A Wedding Photographer
I know there’s never-ending lists of questions that can easily be found by a simple google search, but as a wedding photographer that has been bombarded by 20+ questions from The Knot over emails, phone calls & cups of coffee, I think it’s about time someone condenses the questions, cut out the unnecessary & get straight to the point. Sure, asking the basics like “do you have my date available?” is an absolute must, but I’m talking about after the initial inquiry. When you’re price shopping, absolutely ask about their turn-around time & their minimum number of images delivered. Absolutely. But after you’re found some contenders who have prices & packages that fit your needs, what questions are you going to ask to separate the one from the masses?
The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to searching for your wedding photographer is that this is a freelance community. Policies, styles & processes vary from photographer to photographer— you’re dealing with individual artists and if you want to find the one that best fits your wedding photography needs, asking about their gear (when you’re not familiar with cameras or lighting equipment to begin with) isn’t going to help you narrow down the list. So, what questions are actually going to help you find the perfect photographer for your wedding day? Here’s five key ones:
How would you describe your work?
Seems simple, right? Almost intuitive? You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve met with potential clients over coffee and this question never gets brought up. Sure, you can see the photographer’s portfolio and come up with three descriptive words yourself, but what if the words that come to your mind are not how the photographer would categorize their images? I think you can really pinpoint the photographer’s intention and direction by asking this question. If they say “warm, emotional & documentary”, it’s pretty safe to assume that your wedding gallery from them would include warmer toned, real images with possibly quite a few candids. If the photographer answers “fine art & light”, the final collection will most likely consist of highly styled photographs with soft focus points.
Now, by asking this question you also have to know what your ideal answer would be. How would you like your wedding photographs to be described as? Do you want lots of candids that capture the feeling of the day or would you prefer pinterest-worthy portraits?
What is your most favorite part of a wedding day to photograph?
Are you guys really excited about the party and can’t wait for all the photos of your guests on the dance floor? You’re probably not going to vibe well with a photographer who likes to concentrate on photographing details & the pre-ceremony photos. Getting to know what parts of the day really resonates with your photographer will help you see if those parts of the day are also really important to you. Everyone’s workflow is different depending on what part of the wedding they focus on— like for example, if they are heavily into detail work, their coverage is most likely going to have a few hours before the ceremony starts and ends in the middle of the reception. If the photographer is more of a documentary one, it’s likely they won’t spend as much time setting up details shots as they would just photographing the events in real time.
What led you to wedding photography?
Such a simple question, but so insightful. This question really lets the photographer open up and share with you their beginning— how they got into this, why they love it & continue to photograph weddings, how many weddings they’ve done. It allows for the photographer to share their passion with you as well as their history.
Can you tell me more about your workflow for the wedding images?
Are you concerned with turn-around times? Are you wondering if you’ll get a little sneak peek before the actual delivery? Are you curious as to how much editing & retouching goes into this photographer’s images? Well, this my friend, is the question to ask.
Knowing how your photographs will be processed is really important— you should already have a pretty good expectation as to how they will look after viewing their portfolios, but if you’d like more retouching you’ll need to find a photographer that offers that service. Fixing exposure & color correction are typical edits that are included in all photographers’ workflows, but photo manipulation is not. Being a photographer and having been asked to “photoshop it” during a session or after the fact is never fun, especially for photographers that consider themselves photojournalistic & documentary who really hate to alter images away from the reality of the moment. If you already know you’d like more than the basic editing, talking about this BEFORE signing a contract is very, very important.
What are some services that you offer that stands you apart from the other wedding photographers in our area?
Possibly the best question of all! Basically, what does this photographer do that the others don’t? This question really gives the wedding photographer a chance to delve into what they do and how they do it. Do they put together highlight galleries soon after the wedding day for the couples to share with family & friends? Do they offer a lot of client education on preparing for the wedding day, building a wedding day timeline, when to schedule engagement sessions? Heck, are their engagement sessions complimentary + included in the wedding photography packages? Do they offer venue walk-throughs? Do they gift prints to their couples?
Remember, all wedding photographers have different policies, styles & processes. Each one most likely offer a service that others don’t and unless you ask specifically, you probably wouldn’t know what one does in comparison to another in the industry. IMPORTANT NOTE: There isn’t going to be one photographer that offers EVERYTHING. That’s just humanly impossible, and honestly unfair of anyone to expect. As a couple, you two should sit down and really weigh the options— what services are important to you? Are small prints + a keepsake box more valuable than personalized client education? Learn what’s important to you & find the right photographer that checks all your wedding photography boxes.
Best of luck, newly engaged couples!
Hannah Carroll, of Hannah Kate Photography, is a wedding & family photographer specializing in lifestyle imagery. She is currently based in Huntsville, Alabama but travels worldwide. To connect & check her travel schedule, please email firstname.lastname@example.org!