Now that wedding planning season is in full swing, many of you are interviewing prospective photographers for your big day! After twelve years of shooting weddings, I wanted to pass along a few tips to help you narrow down your photography choices.There are many lists online of questions that you should ask your photographer. "Do you have backup gear, do you have a contract, what happens if you're sick?" are all legitimate questions that should be asked. But I want to dive a little deeper into some lesser known questions that you absolutely need to ask.
First, let's talk about narrowing down your choices before any meetings. Two things will help you narrow your search in which photographers to contact and set up a face-to-face meeting. Do a little research. Look at their website and ask yourself, does their style fit the vision for your wedding? If their style is not in line with what you'd like, go on to the next photographer. This is critical, because although you can collaborate with your photographer on what photos you'd like, it's incredibly hard for us to just "change our style" based on what you'd like. So be sure you love the photographer's work! Second, is the photographer in your budget? Here in Nashville, wedding photographers range in cost from $2,000-$10,000 with the average being around $3500-$4500. Make sure you understand exactly what you are getting in your package, so there are no surprises or hidden costs after your wedding day.
After you've narrowed down your list to photographers who you love and whom you can afford... Here are four questions you must ask when meeting with them!1) "Do you have liability insurance, and can I see a copy of it?" There are many things that can go wrong on your wedding day. Equipment can get stolen, memory cards can corrupt or be erased, or your photographer could be late or absent on your day. Obviously, those of us who consider ourselves full time, professional photographers cringe at these stories... and most of us would never let these things happen. But watch Judge Judy for a few hours, and you will quickly realize that it happens a lot more than you know. Many photographers mistakenly think that homeowner's or another type of policy will cover these things (which they won't), so be sure you actually SEE proof of their dedicated liability policy.
2) "How long have you been shooting weddings, and approximately how many have you shot?" This is extremely important as people make a lot of mistakes their first few years of shooting weddings. There isn't a "wedding photographer school" so most learn on the fly, making mistakes and learning to correct the mistakes as they go. Many people don't realize the importance of having a lot of experience under your belt. Weddings are extremely difficult to shoot, as weather can quickly change, people can run late, stress can run high, and venues can have restrictions that you didn't anticipate. The more experienced your photographer is the better.3) "In case of inclement weather, do you bring studio strobes and lighting? Can I see an example of some of your artificially lit photos?" Many photographers today consider themselves to be "natural light photographers". While I love natural light as much as the next girl, this type of photography can come with bad consequences if, (God forbid) you have inclement weather. Many natural light photographers do not know how to use studio strobes. Be sure to ask your photographer for samples where they used studio strobes, and if they can't provide samples, steer clear.
4) "Can I see an entire wedding that you've shot, including night and reception images?" Sure, a photographer's website may have some gorgeous images. But what separates the men from the boys is consistency. Anyone can get lucky and get a few great images from a 10 hour wedding. But we hear horror stories all of the time about how 5 images were great, and the other 795 images were awful. Be sure you take the time to look through an entire wedding. Have they shot at your venue before? Even better.These are just a few questions that can help you avoid some major catastrophes on your day! We hope it helps making a decision. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks!
Krista Lee Photography
Nashville, Tennessee Wedding Photographer / Chicago Wedding Photographer