So, you've been looking at photographers that are in your area and within budget and you've found one whose style you really like but now what? Well, first of all you should get in touch with them saying that you are interested in having them as your wedding photographer. Most wedding photographers, myself included, will now want to meet with you for an initial consultation, which isn't as scary as it sounds.
This meeting is really just an informal chat (mine usually takes place in a coffee shop) so that proper introductions can be made and so the photographer can get a sense of what you want to get out of your wedding photography. However, these meetings are really more about you. After all, it is your wedding and so you want to make sure that the photographer is right for you. The photographer has probably been to loads of these consultations and will know what they want to get out of it but it is more than likely that this is your first one and so it helps to go in armed with some questions that will really help you decide if this is the photographer that you want to photograph your wedding.
The below questions are a good starting point as they'll give you some idea about what you'll get from your wedding photographer but there are others that you might think of and your photographer should be more than happy to answer them all.
1) What style do you specialise in?
This questions allows you to get an idea if there style is right for you.
My response to this is: I shoot in a documentary style capturing moments as they happen rather than setting them up and making them happen.
2) Could I see a full gallery from a wedding?
All photographers are going to put their best images on their website but you want to get an idea of what an entire wedding looks like to make sure that the photos are consitent throughout the day.
My response to this is: Of course you can. I can either show you one at the meeting or email you a link to look at later on.
3) Do you have insurance?
This is important for obvious reasons.
My response to this is: Yes, of course.
4) Do you deliver black & white and colour photos?
My response to this is: Yes, I edit all the photos that I deliver to you. Some will be colour and some will be black and white, it really depend on what suits that particular photo.
5) How do we book you?
My response to this is: Once you've decided that you want to book me I will send you a copy of the contract for you to electronically sign and then within 5 days of signing you pay a 25% deposit and I then put your date in my calendar and won't book anything else for that date.
6) How many hours of coverage do we get?
This is important because even if your photographer says that they cover from bridal prep to after the first dance but also say that they cover 10 hours then you have to be careful that they don't start charging you extra if your wedding overruns (which it most probably will).
My response to this is: I cover from bridal prep to about half an hour after the first dance regardless of how long that is, it could be 10 hours, it could be 12 or maybe it might even be 14. You have me for the full day.
7) How do you keep my photos safe? Do you have backup systems?
You want to make sure that your photographer won't lose you photos, either through error or equipment breaking so this is an important question to ask.
My response to this is: I shoot to 2 memory cards in the camera in case one corrupts. I then back the photos up on my computer, an external hard drive and the cloud to ensure that I have a minimum of 3 copies. I also have back up equipment on the day in case anything breaks.
8) Have you shot at my venue before?
If the answer is no, this isn't a dealbreaker but if they haven't make sure that they will visit the venue before your wedding day so that they know what the venue looks like and how they will get the best shots.
9) How long after the wedding will I get my photos?
My response to this is: It's between 6-8 weeks but is often sooner.
10) Are other guests allowed to take photographs?
My response to this is: Yes, absolutely. I do recommend though that they don't take any during the ceremony as they should be in the moment rather than staring at their phones. Also, having a load of outstretched arms with mobile phones in them (sometimes with the flash going off) doesn't look good in the official photos. I recommend that you have an unplugged wedding (I'm going to talk more about these in a later blog) but I have nothing against your guest taking photos at other points of the day.