A wedding photographer’s job is not only to capture the moment but also to tell the story of your day. You want to make sure the person you choose can photograph beautifully framed candids, family formals, and all the small details that happen throughout the day. It's important for you to find a wedding photographer who can take care of all your needs, who has experience shooting multiple weddings, and someone who knows how to work with different personalities. You might have found that perfect photographer for you, but now you're wondering "what questions do I ask my wedding photographer?"
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When it comes to wedding photography, you want to make sure you choose the best photographer for your big day. However, with so many photographers out there, it can be hard to narrow down which one is the right photographer for you. That's why it's important to have the right questions to ask your wedding photographer before paying your deposit and signing your contract.
Here are five questions to ask your wedding photographer:
1. What is your typical turnaround time for email responses? Are you proactive or reactive when you have information to relay?
When you're meeting with your wedding photographer, you should ask this question so you understand the boundaries or expectations regarding communication from the get-go. A pain point we often read on wedding forms and groups is lack of communication from their wedding photographer.
What does it mean to be a proactive communicator? They are on top of relaying information to you, keeping you up to date on upcoming due dates, checking in with you to make sure that you have no current questions, and if they're going to be late on a due date, they let you know ahead of time.
There's always going to be a little reactive communicating in the wedding world when the odd, random thing pops up that you need an answer to, but knowing when to expect a reply back by asking for their response time makes all the difference.
For us, we usually respond back within 48 hours, but with other photographers, it can take up to one to two weeks for them to respond back to emails. As long as the photographer is upfront with you about their typical response time, then you can make an informed decision if you'd be willing to book them with either a shorter or longer response time!
2. Do you use a dual SD card slot camera?
A dual SD card slot camera is a camera that has two SD card slots.
The reason why you want to make sure that your photographer uses a dual SD card slot camera is due to the the fact that the camera will be making an exact duplicate copy of every photo taken onto the other card. This is an advantage for you because it protects your photos against data loss. Think of it as an on the fly backup of your images!
But just as a warning, with any type of electronic, there is always the possibility of data corruption. So while having a duplicate copy of your photos on an additional SD card adds a secure way to ensure you get your photos saved, things could always happen!
3. Do you use high quality prime lenses that can shoot in low light conditions?
While the saying “it’s not the equipment, it’s the photographer” holds some merit, the equipment does indeed help a whole ton at the end of the day. A "prime" lens is a lens that has a fixed focal length and one that is high-quality means that the lens has a “larger light-gathering power” than an entry-level lens.
The prime lenses that we mainly use are a Canon 35mm f/1.4 and a Canon 85mm f/1.2. By asking your photographer if they use prime lenses and high-quality equipment that can handle low light, you’re setting yourself up for success because it means sharper pictures with less noise in your final photos. We personally love adding artificial grain in our photos but we always strive to make sure that the original image is tack sharp and noise-free.
4. How long will it take to get my images back after my wedding?
This can vary depending on the photographer and the amount of editing that needs to be done. Some photographers offer a two-week turnaround time while others take a few months to get your full gallery back.
A shorter delivery date isn’t necessarily the best option, and a longer one isn’t necessarily the worst option. Some photographers might be backed up with editing because they made their turnaround time so short, while others possibly have a longer wait to ensure they deliver your gallery with time to spare.
One thing we know for a fact is that it can be stressful waiting for your photos, especially if deadlines come and go and there is no communication updating you on the progress of your images. Before booking your photographer, you can reach out to past clients to get references and see if the photographer was on time with their quoted delivery date.
Another important tip: even if you ask this question in your meeting, make sure the delivery date or turnaround time is also in your contract!
5. How do you back up our images?
This question is important because it shows that your wedding photographer is taking the necessary steps to ensure your photos are safe. Some photographers will back up all images onto a computer, some will store them on an external hard drive, some will only keep them on an SD card (which is very bad!!!!!), and others will put them in some sort of cloud storage. A great photographer will back up your images in three or more different areas.
At Early Night, in addition to having the dual SD cards, we back it up to two cloned external solid-state hard drives, a dual bay network-attached storage (NAS) that creates a redundant copy on a separate internal drive in the bay, and that hard drive is consistently backed up onto cloud storage. Nancy being a Genius at Apple for four years has made her a backup nut, but this care and concern for your images is what you want in a photographer!
While there is no one perfect answer, it's important to ask your wedding photographer what kind of backup plan they have in place in order to make sure your images are safe and sound.
Other questions to ask your wedding photographer:
- Do you have a backup in case you get sick/can't make it to our wedding?
- How will you approach our wedding day?
- Have you photographed events at our venue before or somewhere similar to our venue? And if so, can you send us a full gallery?
- We want to clarify that your photographer doesn't absolutely NEED to have photographed your venue before. A good, well-seasoned photographer can work with any venue or location, and understand where to take the best photos, even if it's their first time there.
- What is your favorite thing to capture at weddings?
Armed with these questions to ask your wedding photographer, and knowing why you should ask them, you should be able to determine if the photographer you chose is the perfect one for you!
To learn more about choosing the right wedding photographer, read our blog "Top 5 Wedding Photo Editing Styles & How to Choose the Right One for You."
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