QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
It's always a good idea to interview your wedding photographer before hiring them or signing the contract. Your wedding photographer is the vendor with whom you will spend the most time - from those awkward and stressful moments with the new in-laws to the highs of being announced Mr. and Mrs., it's crucial that you like not only their style, but also their personality.
Now, if you're not sure where to start or what questions to ask them, I've listed some important questions that you can ask your shortlist of wedding photographers to choose the right one for you:
1. Are you available on my wedding date?
I am typically booked 12-16 months ahead of time. Ask me right away in your initial inquiry if the date is available and double-check whether someone hasn't reserved that date.
2. What do you require to secure my date?
I require both a non-refundable deposit and a contract signed and executed by both parties. Only when these items have been completed will your date be fully secured.
3. Can I see a full wedding gallery?
Yes! I am happy to share full wedding galleries, just ask.
You will get to know your photographer’s style by looking at the portfolio on their site, but these will only be a highlight. Quite frankly, anyone can fill up 9-squares on Instagram, but far fewer Miami wedding photographers can capture your day from top to bottom in a gorgeous and memorable way.
To truly understand your photographer’s scope, you will want to look at a real wedding gallery. This will tell if they have the talent and experience to capture your entire day. It will also emphasize their range in working in different environments and lighting conditions, and if they're consistent with their style and quality.
As you search through the galleries, ask yourself which segments of the day matter to you most. Do I love the Ceremony? Am I looking forward to Couple’s Portraits? Then, compare it to the samples you are reviewing to see where your photographer truly shines.
4. Can I see sample images and layouts of your albums?
Of course. I have a PDF of my album options as well as draft album layouts to share with potential clients.
If you are on the fence about ordering an album, I highly recommend it. Many clients contact me years later in a panic because their photos have sat in the cloud for several years. An album is a fun talking piece over a glass of wine with friends - not to mention a beautiful heirloom piece to pass down to future generations.
Now that I’ve been married a few years and have children of my own, I’ve actually ordered the same number of wedding albums as I have children - so each one will eventually receive a copy.
5. I think I might just do the album myself
Not all album companies are made the same. I DO NOT recommend ordering a DIY album online. Photographers have access to wholesale providers who produce each work by hand. The quality is unparalleled.
6. Have you ever shot or worked at my venue before? If not, will you visit beforehand?
Many photographers (myself included) like variety in environment. If I have not photographed at your wedding venue before, I am happy to conduct a site visit with you and/or arrive to your wedding day ahead of time to walk the property and assess the lighting.
1. What is your COVID-19 policy? Most deposits are non-refundable. Will you provide a refund in the instance of COVID?
If we can find a mutually agreeable date within one calendar year from your original date, then you can reschedule your 2020 wedding date and apply the entire retainer towards a new date. However, refunds on retainers for cancelled weddings are not likely.
That being said, call me for a conversation to see what they may be willing to accommodate given the unique circumstances of this pandemic. There’s even the possibility that your retainer can be used toward another photo session such as an elopement or engagement session.
2. Are the images mine to keep? Are there restrictions for posting images online?
Yes - they are free to download to you and your immediate family. There are no restrictions to posting online, I simply ask that you tag me at @alisaferris on Instagram and @alisaferrisphoto on Facebook.
1. What is your photographic style?
Mine is a mix of documentary or photojournalism and Fine Art; I strive to create magazine-like images that capture emotions and moments. I work with you ahead of time to ascertain which images matter to you most - be it candids or portraits - and then I lean more towards that on your wedding day.
Why do you need to know: This might be one of the most important questions to ask wedding photographers. Many photographers use a blend of several different styles of photography, and it's important not only to understand their style, but also, to have a conversation about what types of images you most want to see in your final gallery. As always, it's critical to have a communicative relationship with your photographer and to clearly set your expectations ahead of the wedding day.
2. Do you like to direct more, or, are you a fly on the wall?
I personally like to strike a balance between directing and taking a back seat. I always gauge the client ahead of time to see what they might need or want. Direction is necessary for group photos and posed images; acting as a fly on the wall is useful in capturing candid images. I also like to pulse the feeling of the couple on the day. Some people prefer more direction, others less.
Above all, feel free to communicate as communication is key in developing and maintaining a strong and fruitful relationship with your wedding photographer.
Why do you need to know: You want someone who understands how to do both, and who understands you as the client. It’s important to find someone who is not too intrusive, however, can guide and manage when needed - because weddings are events that are organic and sometimes challenging to manage.
ON YOUR WEDDING DAY:
1. What happens if you get sick? Do you have a backup photographer?
People get sick, and sometimes, family emergencies happen. While fortunately I have never missed a single event in my 10 years as a photographer, I always have a backup plan in place for the unexpected.
I belong to a group of photographers that have agreed to act as one another's "insurance" should someone fall ill. They consist of:
The great thing with us is that we all have a similar style and the same years of experience. If they are not available, then I call on my extended network of contractors who work with me regularly as second photographers at my weddings.
Why you need to know: Trust your gut if other photographers ignore this question, you are only going to get one chance on this day, and you need to trust that they have you covered.
2. Until what time will you be able to stay?
In short, I can stay as long as you want to book me for! I do not take on any additional events on your wedding day. My time is calculated by your agenda and your needs. We discuss all of this beforehand to explore what moments matter to you most, and when you will need me there.
3. Can we pay an extra fee if we want you to stay longer? How much extra will it cost us?
Yes, you can pay for more time, which is charged at an a la carte hourly rate.
4. Do I need to cover travel costs?
Provided no overnight stay or airplane travel is required, then no. Destination weddings do involve an additional travel fee and are determined based on location and time of year.
5. What will you be wearing?
I strive to fit in and look like a guest. Typically, I come dressed in mostly black - a suit or dress of some type, nice flat shoes and clean hair style.
PAYMENTS AND PACKAGES:
1. How much is the initial deposit and when do I need to pay it?
I require a 20% non-refundable deposit at the time of booking. It needs to be paid in conjunction with a signed contract. Your date is secure only once the deposit and the signed contract have been received.
2. What are the inclusions in your packages?
Every package is different. My most basic package starts with 8 hours of photography, and then adds in Engagement Photography, Second Photographers and Albums as they go up. For more information, contact me at email@example.com, and I will be happy to send you my PDF.
3. Do you include an engagement shoot as part of your package?
It depends on the package. For more information, ask to see my full wedding package PDF.
Why you need to know: Engagement shoot is a great way to get to know your shooter and get cozy in front of the camera. This will also let you get used to being directed and establishing your relationship. If an engagement shoot is not included in your package, it's worth negotiating one in or paying extra for it.
3. How long will it take to receive my images?
Approximately, 4-6 weeks, depending on the season and how busy I am.
Why you need to know: These days, your photographs most likely arrive in an online gallery after your wedding day, and this also depends on your photographers' schedule. Most of the time, your photographers will send selected edited highlights as soon as they can – it's an exciting moment! And you will want unlimited downloads included in your contract so that family can also access the photos too.
4. Is retouching included in the price?
I edit all images for lighting, color and contrast. I prefer limited editing because I want you to look like you. Not to mention, filters for moody lighting or vintage undertones are not likely to stand the test of time. Just think about your parents wedding photos where your dad has a mustache and a baby blue tuxedo with a ruffled shirt! Remember - you want your images to look good 40-50 years from now! Classic stands the test of time.
If you want additional photoshopping such as skin and hair touch ups, those come at an additional per image cost.