This lunchtime we’re handing the blog over to photographer Julie Michaelsen, who has come up with a great set of questions to ask your potential wedding photographer.
Choosing between photographers is so difficult – there are lots of talented ones out there as you’ll have seen right here on RMW.
But it’s about choosing the right one for you (just like the dress and the Groom really…) If you haven’t found your photographer yet, if you’re undecided, or even if you’ve booked yours already – I’m hoping you’ll find Julie’s guide really useful. Over to Julie…
1. Are you a full time wedding photographer and why?
Julie M: I think this is a really crucial question. I’m not saying that an amateur can’t take great photos – they absolutely can, but I would rather have someone there who is fully invested in their craft, fully insured, doing workshops and courses to constantly learn and improve their skills. There are intricacies within wedding photography e.g. knowing how to be an invisible storyteller, how to get the shot without distracting the congregation/bridal couple which someone who isn’t doing this full time might not appreciate.
Knowing how to set a camera shy couple at ease, how to suggest and communicate poses which are natural looking, being patient enough to wait for those iconic and emotive glances or moments and capturing them just at the right nano second…The why is important because it will give you an insight to what kind of person your photographer is and seeing as you’re inviting them into one of the most special and intimate days of your lives it’s really important that you have a connection with or get a good vibe from your photographer.
2. What if you’re ill on the day?
Now I think pretty much all photographers truly appreciate the magnitude of a wedding day, the amount of time, effort and money that has been invested so most likely they will do anything and everything to make sure they are there to capture it as per your agreement with them. However if the unthinkable happens and for whatever reason they really cannot make it, you should know their back up plan.
For me I would do one of two things, if I had a second shooter for the wedding I would ask them to cover it alone. Most, if not all, second shooters are very talented photographers in their own right and shoot weddings alone throughout the year so are more than capable of doing the wedding alone.
If I didn’t have a second shooter, I would reach out to the various wedding photographer groups I am a member of on Facebook and ask if anyone was available to cover the wedding. These groups are private and are an excellent place to source a last minute photographer.
I would then not expect payment and give back your deposit so that you could use that money on the photographer who saves your day (but worth asking your photographer what they would do!).
3. How will you make us relax in front of the camera?
A great question which shows that the couple really do want photos which make them look like the happy, relaxed couple that they are! Personally I tend to talk my couples into a relaxed state, I’ll ask you questions, I’ll make you do little ice breaker and trust games which will distract your attention away from the camera.
4. Can we meet before we decide whether we want to book you?
For me the answer to this is 100% yes! Not all photographers offer this, and each to their own, but I want to make sure I’m able to communicate what I’m about to my potential couples and this is easier in person.
We’re also not talking about an inconsequential amount of investment so I’d love for you to do your due-diligence on me and that means meeting me. We’ll meet up for a cocktail or coffee (if logistically possible, otherwise Skype is very useful) and I will;
Talk you through my style of photography. Tell you a bit more about myself, where I’ve been and why I am a wedding photographer. I will go through the pertinent details of my contract which I want to draw your attention to. We’re all SUPPOSED to read contracts and take on board what they say but to mitigate any potential misunderstandings I run you through what I consider to be deal breakers to make sure we’re all on the same page.
I’ll also tell you all the costs up front (Personally I really hate it when I’m looking to buy a product or service and the vendor quotes me a price but then when I come to pay it turns out to be more because they haven’t factored in VAT, travel costs, accommodation etc. So make sure your photographer is upfront from the start so that the price they quote you includes all costs, I think it leaves a sour taste if later the price creeps up for whatever reason…) Answer any questions you have!
5. Do you use photoshop and can you completely change my face?
Although almost all photographers will edit their photos, and a lot will use photoshop, the vast majority won’t be doing the kind of photoshopping which you’ll see on models and actresses in magazines. Photoshopping is a real skill in itself and even if the photographer is proficient in this extremely technical skill, they will most likely want to give you a set of photographs which are true to reality and your big day.
I use photoshop to remove distracting objects or sometimes do a bit of light skin softening but that’s pretty much it! If you’re looking for someone to go to town with photoshop it’s best to have that discussion beforehand so that no one is disappointed…
There are plenty more important questions to be asked, for more see the full blog series ‘Questions you should be asking your Wedding Photographer‘ on my blog.