How do you differentiate between the good, better, and best? My first boss always said that the “GOOD is the enemy to the BEST.” I think he was referring to my choice in men at the time :), but it really can refer to finding the best wedding photographer too! You may know a good photographer, but is he/she the BEST one for you?! Here’s where I would start: As you decide on a wedding photographer and your photography budget, you must answer the question How important are wedding pictures to me? We’re a bit biased and believe that your pictures should be very important. Your photos are an heirloom so finding the BEST photographer to create your heirloom is invaluable! Here are ten questions to ask potential wedding photographers:
1. Can I see a complete gallery?
If you ask to see a complete gallery, you can see how a photographer documents every part of the wedding day– the details, the getting ready images, the portraits, the ceremony, the family formals, and the reception.
I learned something this winter. My son was a photographer for his school’s yearbook and he was in charge of boy’s basketball photos. Because he has no photography knowledge, I set the camera up for him and he shot throughout the game. By taking plenty of pictures, he shot ENOUGH that he had a few good ones! Most people could take my camera for the wedding day, and if they shoot enough, they would have a few good shots.
We take great pride in the DEPTH and CONSISTENCY of our wedding galleries. We hope you have so many favorites from your wedding day that it’s impossible to choose.
2. How many weddings have you shot?
This is a question to ask so you can get an idea of a photographer’s experience. Some companies use associate photographers and seek to photograph multiple weddings in a weekend. These companies will naturally shoot more weddings over time. Our brand is personal. We limit the amount of weddings we accept each year so we can give fair time to our brides and our families. As of today, we have photographed 67 weddings– enough that we feel like we’ve seen it all, but not so many that we don’t remember each of our couples and seek to stay in contact with many of them!
3. What kind of equipment do you use? Do you have backup equipment?
Photographers’ equipment and backup equipment does set the tone for how serious they are about their businesses. You can see a list of our equipment on our blog post, “What’s in our Bag?”
4. How would you describe your working style?
You can tell so much about photographers after an initial meeting. Were they warm? Did they smile? Are they organized? Are they flexible? Are they polite? You will spend your entire wedding day with your photographers. You want to make sure you ENJOY being with them!
During the first part of your wedding day, Troy and I keep track of the timeline and make sure things are moving along as they should. Typically, I take the lead with posing and giving directions. We do enjoy talking and laughing with our couples during portraits. We want pictures to be fun, and we want you to be relaxed!
We take pride in how we handle the ceremony. Sometimes a couple requests a particular shot and asks us to be invasive, but outside of that circumstance our goal is to be inconspicuous so the focus is on the sanctity of the ceremony and the vows you are speaking. We’ve had many officiants offer their thanks for how respectful we were during the ceremony.
During the reception, we seek to be unobtrusive. We are always there, shooting constantly, and we document events as they happen.
5. How do you manage your work without adding stress to my wedding day?
Photographers should have a specific plan they’ve created with the bride’s input. There should be very clear expectations about the timeline, the pictures that are important to you, managing family formals, transportation, and where the bridal party needs to be at any given time.
We feel strongly that communication with our bride is invaluable to the wedding day. We want to educate our brides and help them in any way they wish. We seek to absorb stress– not create it. We know if you’ve done the work to help your wedding day run smoothly then all the hiccups can just be part of your story!
6. Do you have insurance?
Professional photographers should have insurance that covers theft, equipment, and professional liability. If a photographer doesn’t have insurance, chances are they’re new to the business or haven’t taken appropriate professional steps. We carry general business, equipment, and professional liability insurance.
7. If my event lasts longer than scheduled, will you stay? Is there an extra charge?
You’ll want to know the photographers’ policies on overages.
If you know your event will last longer than our contracted time, we will discuss additional payment before your wedding day. On the day of your wedding, about 30 minutes before our end time, we’ll check with you and your DJ to make sure everything will be finished within the timeframe. If you’re starting your bouquet toss at the exact time we’re supposed to leave, don’t worry, we’ll stay! Our goal is not to rush out of your wedding as fast as possible! Heck, I may have to pull Troy off the dance floor, and full disclosure, we’ll probably eat a piece of cake before we leave too! Have I told you how much we love wedding cake?!
8. What happens if you are ill on my wedding day?
It happened to me early on in my career. I was shooting an outside wedding and started the day with a slight headache. I tried to cover it up by taking ibuprofen and drinking plenty of water, but it got worse. Significantly worse. I ended up quite sick and was shooting the wedding by myself. Fortunately, I had the most gracious and understanding bride, groom, and wedding party. I’m still thankful for their kindness, and I learned something that day. I would never attend a wedding by myself again. And I didn’t.
We’re fortunate because we have two photographers. There have been weddings when one of us is not feeling well, but we’ve plowed through the day. We’re professionals. We do what we need to do.
Life does happen, though, and if one of us is so ill that we cannot attend the wedding, then we have a network of professional photographers to help us if needed! We have a wonderful community of friends in the wedding industry. Last year, Troy called me the day before a wedding from the bathroom floor. I immediately called a wedding photographer friend and had her on standby should the need arise. We didn’t need her, but we were prepared!
9. How long until we receive our final gallery?
We’ve all heard horror stories of brides who haven’t received their wedding images until a year after the wedding day, and although I think that’s rare, it’s always good to have an expectation of when you’ll have your photos in hand.
We have a goal to have your photos in your online gallery by your one month anniversary. Sometimes it may be five weeks, but it’s important to us to get them in your hands ASAP!
10. How many images can I expect to see from my wedding?
Although many photographers offer “all your wedding day images” in a digital file format, you’ll want to clarify what this means.
You can expect to receive approximately 1200+ images from your wedding day from Traci and Troy. Of those 1200+, we flag approximately 400-500+ or more as favorites. We spend extra time perfecting photos in your “favorites” folder– removing a blemish, obtrusive road sign in the background, etc.
I hope you find this helpful! Are there other questions you’d ask? Comment below!