As the Client Experience Manager at an award- winning studio on Florida’s Emerald Coast, I have advocated for hundreds of brides as they prepare for their perfect wedding day. From vendor reviews, to contracting, photography collections, and even what to wear to a shoot – I have been the phone-a-friend until they say “I do.” When we have a bride on the line, they usually ask, “What should I ask my photographer before hiring them?”
1. How many hours are included in your collection?
Weddings and time are a funny thing. I am not sure how, but on a wedding day everything seems to take longer then it should, yet the day just flies by! This is why it is important to ask your photographer how many hours they would recommend. It gives your photographer the opportunity to ask important questions needed to create a quick and simple starter timeline that will help you decide what is necessary. Nothing is worse than feeling rushed on your wedding day or being asked to spend more money during the reception to add-on hours just when the party is getting good. If you’re a bride planning to boogie the night away and do not want to miss out on those precious ‘getting ready’ photos, hire a photographer that offers unlimited all-day coverage. Each bride deserves a wedding day without restrictions.
2. Do you include a second shooter or is it an add on fee?
I always, always, always say choose a collection that includes two photographers. Every bride dreams of having the groom’s face photographed when he first lays eyes on her walking into the church. It is one of the best parts of the entire ceremony and generally considered the must take shot. However, I fall in love with how the bride looks at her dad as they are walking down the aisle or how grandma wipes her tears while her grandson kisses his new wife for the first time. These “secondary” raw moments are almost always captured by a second photographer.
3. Will you help me with my timeline?
The best photographers always say, “YES!” Your photography team will be with you for the entirety of your day. That being said, they should always offer to help build your timeline. In addition, they could make a list of your priorities and must- take shots and combine them with their years of experience to make sure it is as efficient as possible. They may make suggestions to add to the general flow of your day, ask you to consider a first look, or even suggest that your ceremony start- time be moved up so you can have those stunning sunset portraits we all drool over. Your photographer should have your best interests at heart and do their best to make sure they can fit it all in.
4. May I see examples of reception photos?
I cannot stress this enough. Ask your potential photographer for examples of reception photos, especially if you are having an evening outdoor reception! Sounds silly, I know, but in order to capture beautifully lit outdoor or dark reception images your photographer should be trained in using artificial light! Every photographer’s dream is to photograph in natural light. ALWAYS. But, many receptions happen outdoors- under the stars, in a cafe light lit tent or in a dark reception hall that will require knowledge of “off- camera flash.”
5. Do I have the rights to my images?
We live in a digital age and most likely your photographer will offer some version of a digital download program or USB to view your images and share on social media. However, print rights to a client can vary by photography team. I, personally, believe you should have the rights to print your images through whatever platform that works (mpics, snapfish, walgreens, etc.). Always read your print- rights section of the contract carefully to be sure you will receive a print release with your image delivery. If they charge extra for the print-rights, I would build it into your budget. In the end, these images should be hanging in your home and on your mom’s mantle no matter how they got there!