For the past few years now we’ve seen trends coming from the big box wedding sites of what questions you need to ask your photographer. These questions range from “What type of camera do you use?”, to “Can we get the RAW files?” and everything in between.
When Lori and I were searching for our own wedding photographer, it occurred to me that there are only a few questions that really matter. After-all, does it matter what type of camera I use? Do you go to your grandmother’s house and say, wow this dinner is amazing, what kind of oven did you use? Of course not because everyone knows that it’s not about the oven so much as who the chef is! And who really wants unprocessed RAW files anyway, you’re hiring a photographer to give you a finished product. That steak at Ruth’s Chris wouldn’t be nearly as good if you had to take it home and cook it yourself!
Below are the 5 key questions that a wedding photographer asked when booking their photographer.
1. Can we see 3-4 complete weddings so we can get a sense of what our story will look like?
The answer to this question should be pretty straight forward. If they can’t provide you with at least 3-4 weddings shot in the past 12 months, it might be a sign that what they show on their site isn’t representative of what you’ll get if you book them.
2. What happens if you get sick and can’t show up on the wedding day?
Most photographers will have a core group of people that they work and finding a suitable replacement probably will not be a problem. In the event that they are unable to find a replacement that matches their style and personality, you’ll want to know about the refund policy. Working with a husband and wife team is always a safe bet because the chances that both of them will be unable to work is highly unlikely.
3. What happens if I have to cancel or reschedule my wedding?
In most cases, your retainer will most likely be non-refundable. After-all, the photographer has probably turned away other clients for your date. In some cases, they also may have already photographed included sessions such as engagement or bridal. It’s always good to ask just in case you simply need to move your date due to a hurricane, or world-wide pandemic! Policies will vary from one photographer to the next. Some may require a rebooking fee while others may not. What’s important is that you know what to expect so you’re not caught off guard!
4. What’s your turnaround time for delivering my images after the wedding?
This is a big one! We’ve heard horror stories of photographers taking 6-8 months to get wedding images back! That’s insane! After photographing hundreds of weddings over the past 15 years, I can tell you the average turnaround time should be no more 4-6 weeks for most photographers. Some photographers may even have the workflow to return your images even quicker!
5. Do you have liability insurance?
This one seems pretty straight forward. One would think that someone operating a business would have a sound insurance policy. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and it’s very important that your photographer be covered. Accidents happen and you don’t want to be responsible if a light stand falls into a $4000 chandelier or worse, falls onto a guest! Pro Tip; Some venues require vendors to carry liability insurance and have them listed as additional insured. Be sure to check with your venue to see what their policies are.
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