So, you’re recently engaged and entering the beginning phases of the wedding planning process, an exciting time in your life! Now to find the perfect venue, dress, florist, photographer, etc. Where do you even start? Your wedding photography should capture each and every moment of your day in a style that you will love and look fondly back upon in the years to come. To start, it’s helpful to come prepared for your conversation with a potential wedding photographer to walk away understanding every step of the process: research and planning, logistical questions, and next steps once you decide to move forward. Relax, you’ve come to the right place! Take a load off your mind and get started with this helpful guide.
Research and Planning Questions
Is my wedding date available?
It’s important to provide your wedding date when contacting a potential wedding photographer, especially if they are the primary shooter for their photography company. Most photographers book at least a year in advance, so keep that in mind when you are doing your research!
What is the range of pricing for your wedding packages?
It goes without saying that most couples are operating within a budget when planning their wedding day. Wedding packages can range from $1,500 to upwards of $10,000 depending upon a photographer’s experience and package offerings. Keep in mind that the cheapest option may not always be the best option; you may find yourself working with an inexperienced photographer that provides a sub-par experience and imagery.
What is your experience?
This is an important one. As previously mentioned, you want to get an idea of a photographer’s experience level. How long have they been in the wedding photography industry? What is their background with clients and communication? Learning more about your photographer will help you get a feeling for what your experience will be like on your own wedding day.
Do you have any recent galleries that you can share?
Most wedding photographers don’t include all their work on their website because, let’s be honest, we take tens of thousands of photos each year. To get a better idea of what a full wedding gallery might look like, ask your photographer to send along a few recent galleries. This can also help you understand what their most recent work reflects in artistic style.
What areas/locations do you serve, and is there a travel fee?
I absolutely love to travel and am always open to opportunities to do so. Some photographers, however, like to stay local or within a designated geographical area. Ask your wedding photographer if they are willing to travel to your wedding ceremony location and what fees may be associated in doing so.
Do you recommend a 2nd shooter?
I generally recommend a 2nd shooter to clients for a few reasons. First, if you are planning a raging party with a lot of guests, it can be beneficial to have two bodies on the floor to capture events happening simultaneously. Having a second shooter at the ceremony is also an opportunity to have multiple angles of coverage. For example, capturing the couple walking down the aisle from two different perspectives can help better capture the photographic story of your day. Additionally, if the bride and groom plan on getting ready in two different locations, a second shooter can help document both experiences.
What is your communication and planning style before the event?
It’s beneficial to understand how your photographer will communicate with you before and during your wedding day. Do they intend to spend some time getting to know the two of you? Are you looking for someone to micro-manage, take a hands-off approach, or land somewhere in between? I always advise my wedding couples to get to know their photographer as much as possible before the big day; it will help them feel more comfortable and prepared once the day of celebration finally arrives!
How would you describe your working style on the day of?
Wedding photographers all have varying working styles when it comes to the big day. The question is: how involved do you want your photographer to be in determining the details? Do you have a coordinator or event planner that your photographer should work closely with? Understanding these details will help you effectively assign responsibilities to your wedding team and ensure the day runs smoothly for all involved.
What are some important things to consider for your wedding day timeline?
Having a timeline is important, but being able to enjoy your day is essential! Therefore, it’s important to review your tentative wedding-day timeline with your photographer to identify opportunities for the bride and groom, bridal party, family, and any other important photos. The day will fly by, so make sure you communicate with your photographer to make sure every important moment is captured!
What is your post-production and editing process?
For wedding photographers, the job doesn’t end after the wedding day. We spend many hours behind the scenes reviewing, culling, editing, and producing your photos. If you’re curious about what this process looks like, or how long it will take to receive the photos, make sure to ask your photographer!
Next Steps Questions
Will we have the ownership to all our photographs?
This is another important question to ask, as photographers may have different policies in the ownership and rights to your wedding photographs. Some may include the printing rights in your package, while others may have restrictions or additional fees. Amelia Marie Photography includes all rights to your photos and galleries in all wedding and elopement packages.
Is an engagement session included in your wedding packages?
Engagement sessions can be included in wedding packages or billed as a separate event. Amelia Marie Photography offers free engagement sessions with standard and premium wedding packages because I strongly believe it’s important to a) get to know my brides and grooms b) have the opportunity to work together, get comfortable, and have some fun in front of the camera prior to the wedding day, and c) take gorgeous photos that can be used as as ‘Save the Date’s!
What does a standard contract look like?
If you love your photographer’s work, find a package that fits your needs, and are excited about moving forward, it’s best to take a look at what a standard contract with your wedding photographer will look like. The contract generally includes details such as photo rights, cancellation fees, deposit/retainer information, and more. Take some time to review so you can ask any questions or request amendments to make sure you are both in agreement before signing!
What if someone else requests my date before I sign a contract?
Make sure you understand your wedding photographer’s policy when it comes to ‘holding’ a date. Is it first come, first served? Is it whoever is first to sign the contract and pay the deposit? In Vermont and New England, the most popular wedding dates are Saturdays between June and October. Keep this in mind when you are planning, and make sure you give yourself enough time to research and book your wedding photographer!
What can we do to prepare to work together?
This is a question that I don’t often get, but I wish more people would ask! I always recommend that we meet in-person, if possible, at least one month in advance of the wedding date to iron out a timeline and shot list for your day. I also find it extremely helpful when couples create Pinterest boards for inspiration so I can get a sense of the vision and theme of the wedding. The more you share with your photographer, the better equipped they will be to knock it out of the park come wedding day!
Interested in learning more? Visit the links below to read more blog posts, or to view recent wedding and engagement galleries!