Afternoon lovely people. I’m getting increasingly busy already this year, and whilst I love to blog as regularly as possible I thought it might be interesting for brides to be (and grooms to be!) if they also got a few hints and tips from other local wedding and event specialists that I work alongside and network with on a regular basis.
Kicking off with a guest post on “20 Questions to ask a Wedding Photographer” is Kelly from Kelly Weech Photography. This article is invaluable for all of you planning your wedding in the Cotswolds, but also for anyone getting married anywhere else in the UK! I’ll hand over to Kelly now for her expert advice on one of the most important areas of wedding planning…
Searching for a wedding photographer can be a never ending trawl of websites. It can be difficult to decide who is going to fulfil your expectations and make you feel comfortable in front of the camera. Photographer Kelly Weech reveals 20 questions you should ask a photographer to decide if they will be a good fit for your big day.
1) What makes you different to other wedding photographers?
With a huge amount of photographers on the market a photographer need to offer something different to everyone else. Maybe it’s their approach, personality, exclusive albums or method of editing. Find out what sets them apart from the others.
2) What is your style of photography?
Every photographer is different and we have all our own approach to photographing a wedding. Find out what the photographer believe their style to be and decide if this is the approach you would like to be taken on your big day.
3) Can I see a recent, complete wedding from bridal prep to first dance?
Although photographers may believe their photography to be a particular style this is not always the case. Ask to see full collection of images from a recent wedding and if they claim their style to be documentary make a judgement from the images you see to decide if this style is reflected in their work.
4) Are your images from real weddings?
With a vast amount of photography workshops on the market always check if the images you see are from a real wedding. It has been known for photographers to set up mock wedding shoots and if this is the case they should inform you. On a wedding day you are not working with models, cannot predict the weather and it is important they show you the work they can achieve under pressure.
5) Can I see an album?
Always check out the finished product to check for quality of reproduction, design and presentation. I believe an album should tell a story of a wedding day from start to finish and should blow clients away with attention to detail.
6) Will you be the photographer on my wedding day?
I would always advise you meet the photographer that will be shooting on the day itself. As a couple you need to decide if this photographer makes you feel comfortable, your confident in their ability, will fit in with your guests and bring out the best in your personalities. You can other make these judgements if you meet in person. Remember first impressions count. You may even want to consider an engagement portrait to confirm they will be the best photographer for you.
7) Have you ever shot at my wedding venue before? Worked with my wedding planner? Makeup artist etc.?
The wedding industry becomes a small world once you have been in it a while. If a photographer has previously shot a wedding at the same venue ask to see the collection or from a similar venue to get an idea of how your wedding maybe captured. Some vendors have great working relationships and this can help things go smoothly on the day. It’s especially useful if your videographer and photographer have already worked together and understand each other’s needs on the day.
8) Are you fully insured?
Many photographers photograph weddings with no insurance. You may think this is no big deal however accidents do happen. If a photographer has wedding liability insurance it will cover the entire cost of re-staging the event should you feel your photographer has destroyed the whole event. For example, didn’t show up due to unforeseeable circumstances or lost your images. The insurance is unlikely to ever be used, but it gives you the security of knowing you are covered and shows a serious professional from an amateur.
9) Do you have back up equipment?
Every wedding photographer should have a back up camera and lenses so nothing is left to chance on your special day. The backup camera and lenses should be just as good as the first choice camera and lenses.
10) What is your dress code?
Yes, ask the photographer what they usually wear to photograph a wedding! It always amazes me how many people mistake me to be a guest at a wedding and that is because I blend in with their guest however, many photographers don’t.
11) How long will it be before I see my wedding photographs?
Find out exactly when you will receive your photographs on CD or in an album. A good wedding photographer will inform you of the process every step of the way. I aim for a fast turnaround however the standard seems to be 6-12 weeks.
12) What qualifications and experience do you have?
A qualification is not a major factor if you have the experience to back up your business and your work. Sometimes a photographer can have a great eye and in the process of setting up their business and this maybe fine for some couples but it should be reflected in their price and something they should be open and honest about from the start.
13) What happens if something doesn’t go to plan on the day?
Let’s be honest, British weather is highly unpredictable but it doesn’t have to spoil your day, a back-up plan should always at hand and a photographer should have a solution and equipment necessary to shoot in doors if required.
14) What happens if you get taken seriously ill before my wedding and can’t attend?
Most established professionals will have contacts and be able to find you a suitable replacement if required. I call upon five other professionals whose work I respect and admire so if a situation ever a rose I could ensure you would be getting the best of the best.
15) Can I give the photographer a list of shots that I want?
It is important to inform a photographer of the group shots you would like and any other images which you will hold dear to your heart after the big day. A good photographer will know it’s all about you and happy to comply with your needs and requirements. I send a pre wedding questionnaire to ensure every detail is covered.
16) Do you work alone or with a second shooter?
Having a second photographer can be of great value to the photographer for additional support in organising large groups of people and to the clients for getting a different perspective and more natural candid shots. Every photographer is different but if the photographer shoots alone and you want another photographer ask if this is possible. How much this would be? Could you meet them before the day? Do they have a portfolio? Etc.
17) May I have a list of references?
Effectively you hire a photographer to do a job on your wedding day and a photographer should be more than happy to provide you with previous couple’s details without hesitation to give credibility to their business. Testimonials can be found on most photographers website but don’t be afraid to ask for contact details.
18) What paperwork do I need to sign?
A contract is put in place to not only cover the photographer but to protect the clients as well. Ensure you read all the terms and conditions carefully before signing the dotted line.
19) Do I need to pay a deposit to secure my date?
Most wedding photographers require a booking fee to secure your date. Never assume a verbal agreement without a deposit and paperwork to be safe enough when it comes to your event.
20) What rights do I have to my wedding photographs?
Most contracts stipulate the rights and usually reproduction rights will be granted to the client but the copy right will always remain with the photographer. In basic terms, the clients can have the images printed as they wish but the photographer can use the images promotionally on their website or blog, submit them for publication and for advertising purposes.
As if providing a ton of awesome advice wasn’t enough, Kelly is also offering my readers a fabulous £150 discount on all weddings booked before 31st March 2013. Be sure to quote “JESSIE” when you get in touch!
Are there any other suppliers that YOU as a couple planning a wedding would really like some inside advice or tips from? let me know in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do!
Until next time…