Christmas has come and gone, and so has all of the Valentine’s Day decor and candy. That means one major thing to wedding photographers – it’s booking season! This is the time of year where newly engaged couples have had the opportunity to share their new excitement with family and loved ones, and are now looking to secure top vendors to celebrate their big day without a hitch!
Having been a bride before, I can understand how overwhelming the vetting process can be for couples. There are so many vendors out there, and it’s hard to know how to make the right decisions when you begin booking and hiring. Photographers often only share their best images and carefully curate what you see online (both rightfully so!) – is that the only thing on which you should base your hiring decision?
I THINK YOU KNOW THE ANSWER… :)
There are lots of factors that you should consider, and just to make your life a bit easier, I’m going to share some things you should definitely be asking BEFORE you pay a dime! Most of this relates to hiring a photographer, but there are definitely some crossover points with almost any wedding vendor you’ll consider! Let’s dive into basic six questions to ask your wedding photographer during the interview process!
Do you have a contract in place?
Any legitimate wedding vendor should have you sign a contract in order to book. Contracts may look intimidating and like a lot of legal jargon in many cases, but they serve to protect both you and the photographer. Ask if you can review it before signing, and take your time asking any questions. In my experience, having everything out in the open from the start is the best way to start a photographer-client relationship!
Are you properly licensed to run a business?
I don’t know about you, but I prefer to do business with people who are operating legally! Be sure to ask your potential wedding photographer whether they are a registered to run a business in your state. Licensing procedures differ from state to state, so you may want to find out what steps are necessary for a business to be “legal.”
Do you have liability insurance?
This is a big one! You will want to ask if your potential photographer carries liability insurance because it can only serve to protect both parties! What if, for example, your great-grandmother trips over the photographer’s light stand and fractures her hip? Imagine the medical costs that would be incurred! If your photographer carries liability insurance, those costs would be (at least partially) covered, helping to relieve some stress from what could be a very ugly situation. Nowadays, many wedding venues actually require liability insurance, so it’s worth it on multiple levels to ensure your photographer carries it.
Can I see an entire wedding gallery from start to finish?
As I mentioned earlier, photographers tend to showcase their best images in order to attract their ideal client. Some even show entire wedding galleries on their portfolio organized by couple – but that’s definitely not the norm. I highly recommend that you ask your wedding photographer to see an entire wedding gallery so that you can evaluate for yourself a final delivered product. How does the photographer perform in various lighting situations? How do they handle receptions where there is much less light available? Is there consistency not just technically but also in creativity? These are important aspects to look for in a complete gallery.
Do you have backup gear?
Most professionals know that you’ve got to have backups just in case something happens to your gear on a wedding day. At the very minimum, ask if your photographer has a backup camera body, multiple lenses, and plenty of batteries on hand. Equipment malfunctions can and do happen – preparation is the only way to avoid being caught in the midst of a wedding without the ability to capture images.
What happens if you get sick/injured/etc. and can’t shoot my wedding?
This is possibly one of the most important (and not as fun!) questions to ask your wedding photographer. Although it’s scary to think about, there is always the remote chance that your photographer may not be able to make it to your wedding because they are sick, have been hurt, or because something else life altering has happened. You will want to ask your potential photographer about their policies in the off-chance that they can’t shoot your wedding. Will they secure an equally as skilled backup for you? And if they can’t find someone, will they refund your money? Make sure this is clearly spelled out in the contract before moving forward.
These six questions to ask your wedding photographer will certainly help guide your hiring decision, but ultimately make sure that you also LOVE the photographer’s style, their energy, and their images. If you can check all of these things off in good conscience, you’ll likely be in great hands!
Emily Chappell is a Dallas Wedding Photographer and Dallas Texas Engagement Photographer based in the DFW metroplex and serving Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney. She is also available for wedding photography in Central Texas and Waco, Texas as well as destination weddings.