It's important to find out about a photographer and the way they work before choosing to hire them to photograph your wedding. Here are some of the key questions which you should ideally ask before making that important decision.
1 Can I see some references from previous clients who you’ve shot weddings or other events for?
It’s essential that your wedding photographer has a proven track record of high quality work, and can demonstrate this with a string of testimonials. If they say they have photographed lots of weddings, but are unwilling or unable to provide testimonials, then this should set alarm bells ringing. You can read some of my reviews here.
2 How would you describe the style of photos you take?
Many photographers specialise either in posed, formal pictures, or in reportage style candid images. My preference is to go for a mixture of both. The whole group pictures take a bit of time to set up, but it’s great to have some pictures showing all the guests who were there together. It can be useful to see how other people describe a photographer's work, rather than just how they describe themselves. For example, here's a page which has been put together about me.
3 Do you provide a contract for wedding photography, and if so, what’s in it?
The contract is your guarantee that the photographer really is going to show up and do what was agreed for the price that was agreed. You can see an example of a contract for wedding photography that I use here.
4 What equipment do you have? What is your second camera?
As you want to get some really good quality photographs of your wedding, it’s worth checking what camera the photographer is using. Ideally, the photographer should have a professional quality camera, such as a Nikon D810 (which I use) and a range of lenses. It’s also worth checking if your photographer has a back-up camera, as even the best cameras in the world are prone to occasional failure. In case of backup, I have another Nikon camera and a Canon 60D. I’ve never had to resort to using them, but it’s good to know they’re available just in case.
5 Do you have lighting equipment, and if so, will you bring it?
Serious photographers will have a quality flashgun (also known as a speedlite), and use this in preference to the camera’s rather weedy pop-up flash. I use a Nikon SB910, along with a diffuser, in order to get a softer light. I also have top quality Profoto studio lights, which can be brought to a wedding venue (if agreed in advance). One great thing about these is that there are no cables to worry about.
6 What happens if the photographer is ill on the day?
I’ve never had to miss a shoot due to illness (tough wood), but you never know. Every photographer needs a backup plan, and mine is my husband Anthony, who would be available to cover the wedding, so there would be no need to rearrange anything.
7 Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG?
Without getting too technical, RAW photos contain more detail but need more editing afterwards, when they will be saved as JPEGs. To get the best results, it’s recommended that photographers shoot in RAW mode (which I do). Any serious photographer is very unlikely to take photos in JPEG mode, but it’s worth checking before you choose a photographer, in order to be sure of getting the best results.
8 What's the point of having a pre-wedding meet-up between the photographer and the couple?
This is a great opportunity for the couple to meet up with the photographer at the actual venue. As well as providing a chance for us to get to know each other a bit, it allows to scout for suitable locations for photos to be taken on the actual day and discuss the must-have shots to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
9 If it’s a long shoot, how often will you need to take a break?
Photographers are only human, and will need the occasional comfort break! Some weddings can last 8 hours or more, and it’s worth clarifying before the event what, when and where the photographer will eat, for example. For longer shoots, I bring a snack with me, which I keep in the car, so I wouldn’t be expecting the couple to provide me with food. Feeding the guests is a hefty cost as it is, and I have no wish to add to that!
10 How long will I need to wait after the wedding until I can see the photos?
This is worth clarifying with the photographer. I would expect to have the edited digital files ready within a week of the event; any printed photos would take longer.
11 Do you have a website which family and friends can order prints, albums etc from?
Yes, I use a platform called Zenfolio, which enables me to make digital files available for download, and for prints and albums to be ordered.
12 Can the guests take photos too?
Yes of course, it’s natural that your guests will want to take pictures, and I’m all for that. I do just ask though that precedence is given to the professional photographer, and guests ensure that his or her view isn’t obstructed.
13 There are some shots and groupings of guests that I’d really like pictures of. Is that possible?
Absolutely. And the pre-wedding meet-up at the venue is an ideal time to go through these must-have shots. It's really helpful if there's someone (like an usher or bridesmaid) who can help arrange the groupings, especially if this person knows a lot of the guests.
Anyway, I hope that is helpful. If you would like to enquire about hiring me as your wedding photographer in or around Bath, or about anything else, then do please get in touch.