Hiring a wedding photographer can be one of the biggest investments you make for your wedding day. And, we may be biased, but it’s also one of the most important (right along with videography). We fully believe this because your photos and videos will be there for you for generations, allowing you, your friends, and your family to relive your joy-filled wedding day over and over.
When deciding how to spend that investment, it’s important to realize that you aren’t only investing in the final “product,” but you are also investing in a creative business owner. Photographers and videographers are artists, and should be viewed as such.
Not all art speaks to all people. Not all artists approach a subject in the same way.
While we always say that one of the most important things to ensure when hiring your photographer is that you vibe with them, we’ve also compiled a list of 10 questions you should ask them during your consultation!
We’re sharing our answers to the questions, as well as some insight into what you should be looking for, and what can be a red flag.
1. What is your style?
This answer will vary from vendor to vendor. As I mentioned above, artists all approach their subject and the medium with their own vision. Within wedding photography, photographers are typically in 3 different groups: light & airy, dark & moody, and natural. It’s also important to know that there are factors that go into a photographer’s editing style. Things like: time of year, weather, amount of light, and other external pressures on wedding day can all impact how the final images look.
Our Answer: Adam and I have always aimed to approach our editing and shooting style in a complimentary way. We want the photos (and videos) we take to look natural, warm, and timeless. This means we edit our photos with natural colors in mind so they keep a timeless look that won’t appear outdated in 10 years as trends change.
You may not know which category your preference falls into, and even photographers have different opinions and viewpoints on what makes the cut as light & airy, dark & moody, and natural. My best advice is to check out their website, blog posts, and social media to get a feel for how much you like their editing in different weather, settings, etc.
2. Do you have insurance?
In most cases, you wouldn’t think to ask this question unless you have booked a venue that has already told you they require vendors to have liability insurance. It is very common for venues to require vendors to carry at least $1,000,000 in liability insurance. Some venues don’t require this, but even then, it’s good to know if your photographer has this coverage or not. It shows that they are committed to having all of their legal business entity bases covered.
Our answer: Simple! Yes, we carry the typically required $1,000,000 in liability insurance that is requested by most venues we work with.
Red Flag: If a photographer or videographer doesn’t carry liability insurance, it can be the sign of a small red flag. If you have fallen in love with a photographer who doesn’t carry liability insurance, confirm that your venue doesn’t require it before booking them. Liability insurance isn’t very costly to us, so you could also ask the photographer if they would be willing to get coverage so they could work at the venue you’ve booked.
3. When will I receive my images?
Not only should you ask your photographer (and videographer) when you’ll receive your final images (or films), but you should also ensure that it is clearly stated in the contract. Busy season gets busy for wedding vendors. It’s good to know how long you can expect to wait on the photos instead of having unrealistic expectations to receive your final photos (and films) two weeks after your wedding.
Our Answer: Our promised turn around time is 8 weeks for photography and 12 weeks for videography. In most cases, we deliver your photos closer to 4 weeks and films around 10-12 weeks. We always share a 60-100 image sneak peek with our couples within 3-5 days, if not sooner, from their wedding day.
Red Flag: A major red flag is a photographer or videographer not clearly stating a delivery schedule in their contract.
4. How will I receive my images?
This question is pretty straightforward! Typical answers are: online gallery or a USB.
Our Answer: We provide our clients with a really nice online gallery that will be home to all of their wedding photos and films. From the gallery, they can share it with their friends and family, make purchases in the online store, and download the images to their phones and/or computers.
5. How do you handle printing rights?
This is extremely important to clarify and have in the contract. Printing rights are typically included in the wedding package you’ve selected and they mean you have the rights to print your images and use them in print.
Printing rights are not copyrights. Creatives will typically not include copyrights, and if you wish to purchase copyrights, you should expect to pay a very steep price. I do not recommend photographers or videographers selling copyrights to their work for anything less than $30,000-$50,000.
Copyrights enable you to adjust the images, edit it, sell it, etc.
Our Answer: We provide our clients printing rights!
Red Flag: Ensure that your contract clearly states the photographers printing rights agreement. If they do not include printing rights, you should ask for an estimate on costs to order prints through the photographer and how much it will cost to purchase printing rights to the images. This can typically range anywhere from $50-$500 per image. Most wedding photographers include printing rights.
6. Will you help me build a wedding timeline?
A photographer has a lot of involvement in your wedding day. From capturing getting ready photos, all the way to the end of the evening send-off, your photographer will know how much time they need to capture each special moment. Not all photographers will be involved in the timeline planning so it’s important to know what sort of support you will have.
Our Answer: We build complete, detailed timelines for our couples. We will typically start building a timeline 3-4 months before wedding day but can start the process earlier if needed! When we work with wedding planners, we’ll also collaborate with them on the best timeline for the entire day.
7. Do you offer more than just photography?
The more one vendor can do for you, the less time you have to spend hiring vendors and communicating with vendors. Not all wedding vendors offer multiple options within their company but it’s always a good idea to ask!
Our Answer: We offer photography, videography, day-of-coordination, and a photo booth through our sister brand Premiere Event Photo Booth.
8. What happens if you are unable to attend our wedding?
While no wedding vendor really wants to think about this situation happening, it’s important to know that your vendors have a plan in case something happens and they aren’t able to attend your wedding. This has always been important, but it’s now more important than ever as we’re navigating life within a global pandemic.
Our Answer: We really have our client’s back. Between our Adam & Becca brand and our sister brand, A.R. Davis Media, Adam and I have a team of 10+ photographers and videographers that can come to the rescue on short notice to cover any unexpected changes. While we never want to have to use that back up plan, we have it in place. In the situation that our team couldn’t cover a wedding, we would work within our networks to have another photographer cover the wedding and we would still edit the images.
We also would have clear, open communication with our couple the entire time and come to them with at least Option A, B, and C so they know how committed we are to their wedding.
Red Flag: If your favorite vendor can’t answer this question or says “it’s never happened and I’m not worried about it”…that is a red flag. It is important to know your photographer has at least thought out a back up plan if the situation arises where it is needed.
9. How does payment work?
This question is more for your own budgeting than anything else. Each vendor approaches this in a way that works well for their business. It’s also good to ask how they accept payments (card, cash, check, Venmo/PayPal, or bank transfer).
Our Answer: We require a 25% non refundable deposit to hold a date on our calendar. We then break the remaining balance into two equal payments. The first of those payments is due midway between signing the contract and wedding day. The final payment is due one month prior to the wedding.
10. How do you protect our wedding photos?
Really, the only answer that is good here is something along the lines of: “I back the files up to multiple locations immediately.”
Our Answer: When leaving the wedding, we place the cards in protective cases and keep them on our body (i,e. We literally do not separate from them) until we are at our computers to back them up.
We back the images and video/audio files up to hard drives, cloud storage, and keep them on the SD/CF cards. We don’t go to sleep the night of the wedding until we have the files backed up to the multiple locations.
Red Flag: If a photographer isn’t backing images up right away, that’s red flag #1. If they aren’t backing them up to multiple locations, that’s red flag #2.
Your photos and films are incredibly precious. They should be treated as such.
Bonus: Do you bring extra gear with you?
This question refers to if the photographer (or videographer) brings extra gear in case something goes wrong with their main gear. This would mean a backup camera, extra batteries and cards, and possibly extra flashes.
Our Answer: We always bring extra gear (cameras, batteries, cards, and flashes) in case something were to happen to the gear we were using at a wedding.