Your wedding photographs are a treasured memory of your big day so choose your wedding photographer with care. Here we suggest 10 questions that you could ask your wedding photographer which we hope will help you make the right choice.
1. Who will be taking the photos? - I will be !
Make sure that the person you have been dealing with is the same person who will with you on the day. There are a lot of organisations out there who farm out work for a commission to other photographers, this means you can have a complete stranger turning up to photograph your wedding who may not be as experienced or talented as the person you thought you booked with.
2. Are you insured? - Yes Both Public Liability & Professional Indemnity
Wedding Photographer Insurance is vital and it would be foolhardy to book any professional service that isn't fully covered. Accidents do happen at weddings, I personally know one photographer who knocked over a stone font in a church worth £10,000 smashing it to pieces and another who knocked over the brides Grandmother while stepping backwards to frame a shot resulting in a broken hip. Both these instances the photographers were insured by their Public Liability and Professional Indemnity cover but had they not have been it could have potentially been disastrous for the bride and groom.
3. Are all the images in your portfolio from a wedding? - Yes, all images are from weddings covered within the last 12 months
A new trick that a lot of photographers seem to be using is to hire in professional models for a day and mock up a wedding shoot. While there is no doubt this can lead to stunning images as the photographer is free from the time constraints that a wedding normally places on him or her it may not be representative of the standard of images that will be produced on the day.
4. Can I see a complete wedding album? - Yes, Images in albums are picked by the bride & groom NOT by me.
Any photographer will pick out the best images to advertise their work but to get a feel for their overall quality ask to see a complete album as presented to a couple. Any photographer confident in his or her ability should be more than happy to provide access to an album so you can see the quality of their.
5. Are you a member of an accredited organisation? - Yes, please see my web site.
Professional accreditation is the closest you can get to a guarantee of quality. Any accredited society should have a code of conduct that the photographer agrees to abide by and this means there is a clear expectation of quality and consistency is their work.
6. Can I see a copy of your contract? - Yes, before booking is finalised you will be sent a contract with your invoice, only once you pay deposit is your day booked
If a photographer didn't put forward a formal written agreement when you booked I would be very wary indeed. A contract safeguards both you and the photographer and if this isn't formally set down you are leaving yourself wide open to big problems.
7. What happens if you are incapacitated on the day? - I will try my best not to be however if the worst happens I will have several back up plans in place
This is a tough question to give a concise answer to as it depends dramatically on the circumstances but I would expect any professional photographer to take all reasonable precautions to make sure they will be with you on your wedding day. The minimum I would expect is for the photographer run a well maintained vehicle, have backups of all major items of equipment and batteries and to be part of a network on whom he or she could call on should the worst happen.
8. Do I receive a copy of the images on disk? - Yes, ALL your images will be sent to you on disc, with editing of lighting, exposure & colour correction, you will not only get colour but all in black & white & both colour & black & white as smaller images for web & will NOT be watermarked
Many photographers these days include some or all the images on disk, if this is the case you must clarify:
Are they edited? Many budget photographers just 'shoot and burn', this may seem great as they will promise 100's of images but when it comes to your wedding photos quality beats quantity every time. Check that the images will at least be cropped, colour corrected and some will be provided in black and white and colour. Are they high resolution? Many photographers include 'web ready' images only. These are low quality and unsuitable for printing anything bigger than 4" x 6". Are they watermarked? Check that the images won't have 'XXXX Photography' over the middle of them.
9. Who has copyright over the photos? - I retain copyright however should you wish to print copies for family members, place online etc you can do this.
This again is a bit of a grey area. Many photographers retain the rights to their images and as such keep the copyright however they will hand to a customer the print rights. This means you are free to reproduce the images in any way you would like (email, prints, canvases, Facebook, etc) but you can't enter them in competitions or sell them for profit. However always check what you will and will not be able to do with the images once you receive them.
10. How many other weddings will you be covering the same day? - NONE yours will be the only wedding, in extreme situations if there is a 2nd wedding booked there will be at least 2 hours between the end of one wedding & the start of the next & both will be in the same area so I am not rushed.
It is not uncommon for photographers to cover two weddings on busy days and providing you only want your photographer for a few hours (say, to cover the ceremony) this shouldn't be a problem. However if you want the photographer longer then you want to check just how flexible he or she can be with you. After all you don't want them rushing off too soon.