10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Prospective Wedding Photographer

Good morning lovelies! When it comes to wedding photography, if you’re not in the know {like me} it can be a minefield out there! Thankfully Blake from Blake Ezra Photography has gone into detail on the ten crucial questions you need to ask your prospective wedding photographer…

Below is a link to a handy little download too, a checklist if you like for you to print out and take to your meeting.

Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer (Free Download)

I will now hand you over to Blake!

Choosing a wedding photographer is not something anybody does on a regular basis, so naturally it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start. We are active in many types of photography across numerous sectors, but one of the things we’ve noticed about wedding photography in particular is that there’s no industry standard package, universal mark of quality or standardized method of working.

So, for those of you searching for someone to capture your special day, we thought it would be a good idea to write a list of vital questions to ask your prospective wedding photographer. Even if you’re not planning on coming to see us, feel free to print this list and take it with you to whoever you do choose to meet – it’s important to us that any couple getting married fully understand what they’re getting, whichever photographer they choose.

For the sake of comparison, and to provide some detail and context, we’ve also given our answers to these vital questions.

QUESTION 1:

Which cameras to do you use?
Are they fully professional cameras and do you carry a spare?

We currently use the Nikon D3S; they are full frame professional DSLR cameras. Typically we will have four of these cameras on-site at any one wedding, so yes we do have spares at the ready should anything go wrong. Note that some photographers will use ‘semi professional’ cameras, so clarifying this in advance is a shrewd move.

You could even ‘google’ their camera model number to find out more. For the real techies amongst you, our lenses also range between 16mm and 300mm, and include many prime lenses, which shoot at f1.4 – which are incredible for low-light and romantic photography.

10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Prospective Wedding Photographer10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Prospective Wedding Photographer

QUESTION 2:

How long will you be with us on the day?
Will you be there for the preparations and stay until the very end?

Whenever we photograph a wedding, and whichever combination of photographers from our team is involved, we never ever limit our time on a wedding day. You’ll never hear us use popular phrases like ‘8 hour package’ or ‘until an hour after the first dance’.

We believe that a wedding day is sacred, maybe it’s Blake’s background in news photography or maybe it’s a realization of the importance of a wedding day, but we like to gather all we can – to preserve as many memories as possible for our clients. This even extends to doing portraits of the Bride and Groom after the guests have gone home!

10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Prospective Wedding Photographer10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Prospective Wedding Photographer

QUESTION 3:

Do you bring a second photographer?
Are they a professional in their own right?
How many times have you worked with them before?

It’s our opinion that all but the most intimate of weddings require more than one photographer, as there’s often so much going on. In fact one of our favourite things about presenting wedding photographs to our clients, is that they see things they didn’t even know had happened on the big day.

We always have at least two photographers present on the day; for our ‘Original Wedding Package’ it’s Blake and one Associate Photographer, and for our ‘Associate Wedding Package’ it’s two Associate Photographers.

We work regularly with all our Associate Photographers, some of whom are full time members of our team, and all of whom are high-quality professionals. With some other wedding photographers, this really is not always the case, so do ask the question.

10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Prospective Wedding Photographer10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Prospective Wedding Photographer

QUESTION 4:

Have you ever photographed a wedding at our chosen venue before?

This is an important question to ask, as every venue is different. It’s always useful for a photographer to know exactly where each element of the day will take place, how good or bad the lighting is in different spots, and the best angles for some lovely portraits or group photos.

We’ve photographed weddings in most of the top venues in London, but we still always carry out a Venue Visit with the Bride and Groom, to make sure our preparations for every wedding are thorough and detailed. We may even have a few useful suggestions from working in that venue before.

10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Prospective Wedding Photographer10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Prospective Wedding Photographer

QUESTION 5:

Do we own all our photos? Can we make our own prints afterwards?

What a crucial question – do you actually receive the images that are taken? Again, you may receive very different answers to this question, depending on which photographer you ask. Some photographers will provide an album with a certain amount of shots in it, some will provide an agreed number of pictures with the rest available to buy afterwards. Some will give you a disc of thousands of proofs, for you then to choose which you’d like edited.

Here’s what we do: we make a selection of approximately 1000 images, then individually edit and retouch every single one, including things like the removal of fire exit signs and plug sockets, and even making guests look slightly less sweaty than they perhaps were on the dance floor. This level of editing is simply not the norm. We then provide those images to our clients on disc in high-resolution, so they can print them without asking our permission every time.

We always recommend having your photos professionally printed, not through a high-street shop but through your photographer or a specialist lab – the colours and contrasts are much more true to life – but our clients aren’t obligated to do so. In my opinion, this disc is the most important thing you can receive after the wedding, an album is a truly magical way to display your wedding photographs, and every couple should have one, but the wedding photographs themselves are where the true value lies.

10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer

QUESTION 6:

Do you have public liability insurance?
What if something happens to you on the day?

These are two separate questions, bracketed together in the ‘what if something goes wrong’ category. For any contractor, having public liability insurance is always absolutely crucial, but especially when working in historic or ornate venues. Public liability insurance is needed if the photographer knocks something over, if their light stand catches on a valuable painting in a hallway, or in plenty of other theoretical but very possible scenarios. We have £1 million public liability insurance, which we’ve thankfully never had to use and hopefully never will do.

Asking your photographer what the contingency plan is, should something untoward happen to them on the morning of the wedding, is crucial – especially as it will put your mind to rest. If a photographer can’t make it to the wedding, for whatever reason (and it had better be a good one), the wedding still goes ahead, so a responsible photographer will always have a good back up plan. Our second photographer is always somebody who shoots weddings in their own right, somebody who can happily step up and take charge, and somebody who has been fully briefed on that particular wedding in advance.

We then do everything in our power to bring in one of our other ‘Associate Photographers’ to take the role of second photographer for the day. This is one of the benefits of choosing a company with a good network of photographers, assistants and backup equipment. Of course, this hasn’t happened to date and we hope it never will, but we aim to absolutely take any photography-related stress away from the Bride and Groom.

10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer

QUESTION 7:

How long after our wedding will we receive the photos?

We’ve all heard horror stories of Brides and Grooms waiting months and months to receive their images, so this is an important question to ask. Answers vary from a week to a few months.

Our clients always receive a selection of 20-40 fully edited preview images through our blog within 24 hours of their wedding, we then aim to deliver a set of approximately 1000 edited images within 4-6 weeks of the wedding day.

Nobody wants to be told their photos will take a year, but equally if a photographer promises 2000 edited photographs within a week, one must question the amount of time and care which has been spent on post-production.

10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer

QUESTION 8:

What’s your style? How do you operate on the day?

Some photographers are the life and soul of a party, some photographers are so inconspicuous you wouldn’t even know they were there. It’s important to discuss this with whoever you go to see, and also to seek recommendations from other couples or guests at previous weddings covered by that photographer. If the guests, or worst of all the Bride and Groom, come away thinking ‘the photographer was really annoying’ or ‘the photographer was always in the way’, it’s far from ideal.

If you have seen the photographer ‘in action’ before, and noticed that they spend loads of time chatting to guests, or that they tweet updates from the weddings they’re shooting – that means they’re not doing the one thing you’re paying them to do, which is to photograph your special day.

Of course there are times when we are called upon to be slightly authoritative on a wedding day, such as organizing guests for group photographs or producing a beautiful set of portraits of the Bride and Groom in a twenty minute time slot. But we are reportage photographers at heart, capturing moments as they unfold and certainly not looking to be the center of attention or turn the entire day into a photo shoot.

10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer

QUESTION 9:

Can we see examples of your photography from lots of different weddings and lots of different venues?

In a world of digital photography, affordable DSLR cameras, and free website builders, there are so many people out there trying their hand at being professional photographers, with a portfolio of 20 very nice wedding shots for you to see. However there is no substitute for experience, so make sure that you see work from many different weddings.

If the same Bride and Groom keep popping up in the portfolio you’re being shown, it means one of two things… either this photographer hasn’t photographed many weddings before, or they haven’t photographed many weddings they’re proud to show prospective clients.

Of course all wedding photographers at some stage in their life had never photographed a wedding, but it’s important to know the level of experience you’re investing and trusting in.

10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer

QUESTION 10:

Will our guests be able to see the pictures and buy prints online after the wedding?

The first few months after a wedding are often very busy ones, settling into married life – sometimes involving a honeymoon or even a house move. Many photographers nowadays, including us, upload all the images to a secure gallery online, providing the Bride and Groom with a link to the gallery, and a password.

Guests, or even those who weren’t able to attend, can then easily log on and see all the professional wedding photographs provided to the Bride and Groom, and order high quality prints directly from the photographer should they wish.

10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer10 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Thank you so much Blake Ezra Photography for taking the time to write this post on 10 crucial questions to ask your wedding photographer! Here;s the link again to the handy downloadable checklist.

Crucial Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer (Free Download)

Handy Checklist Of Questions To Ask Your Prospective Wedding Photographer

Want to see one of Blake’s weddings in all it’s beautiful glory? Jake and Chelm’s urban synagogue wedding was uh-may-zing… Chelm was such a beautiful bride!

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Showing 8 comments
  • Alexander Leaman
    Reply

    Couple of issues with this – call it constructive criticism.
    1) Doesn’t matter what camera a photographer uses. I’ve used nikon, canon, rolleiflex, fuji, yashica, Polaroid, holga, and shock horror an iPhone at weddings. Different cameras can be used to different advantage and having 4 of one camera, even a bunch if old d3s’ does not a professional make.
    2) I’ve shot with two photographers and it’s generally not necessary.
    3)There is no rule to how many pictures people should or shouldn’t receive, so asking this question isn’t going to help the couple. They are going to get many different answers, not just the answers that suit this FAQ.
    4) I wanted to say that this article reads like a single manifesto of how a bride and groom have to have things. Having experience or authority in wedding photography us one thing. Having to tell people that you’re professional all day long is patronising and doesn’t make you look good. People can make their own choices.
    5) I’ll say this again; Not one if my clients has asked if my cameras are “fully professional”!! What does that even mean? And they’ve never looked at my pictures and then asked what my style is, just to give mr the chance to say reportage, or whatever, and for what it’s worth I’ve shot weddings where I haven’t stopped and I’ve shot weddings where the bride tweeted me all day. I honestly don’t know a wedding that has been as formulaic as you’ve made it sound.

    If I was a couple reading this article I’d feel scared half out of my mind about all of these things to worry about.
    Just my opinion, you understand.

    • Sonia
      Reply

      Hi Alexander, thanks so much for taking the time to write a response to this post!

      I assure you, it definitely isn’t my intention to scare brides and grooms half to death in choosing a photographer and the article is definitely not meant to come across as patronising.

      There will be brides and grooms out there that are quite clued up on photography and don’t need this kind of advice.

      There are other people though that don’t understand the importance of selecting a photographer. I myself was one of those brides, I just got lucky and fell in love with our photographers work.

      If this article helps any bride planning their wedding just to open their mind to all the intricacies of choosing the right photographer and how many things there are to consider then I am glad I shared it.

      I always welcome opinions and I am glad you chose to share yours here on my blog. If you ever want to contribute an advice piece to want that wedding please do let me know.

      Sonia XxX

  • Bethan Humble
    Reply

    This is such important advice and I wish someone had given it to me before I chose my wedding photographer. We simply picked the first name off the venue’s recommended supplier’s list, had a quick meeting with him to make sure he was available, and then booked him. Just like that. Whilst he was a reputable photographer, we really were not on the same wavelength in any way and it really affected the run up to the day, the day itself, and organising the album afterwards. Photography is such a key element of your day, not to mention a hefty chunk of the budget, it really pays to spend some time researching photographers until you find one you have a rapport with, who captures your day the way you want to remember it.

    • Sonia
      Reply

      Thanks for your comment Beth and I am so sorry to hear you didn’t have a great experience! I hope this article at least helps brides to understand the complexities of choosing the right photographer. Sonia XxX

  • Craig McBeth
    Reply

    Hi Sonia.

    What equipment a photographer uses is immaterial. Do you ask the band what drums they use or the chef what oven he uses?

    For the bride and groom, ensuring that the photographer has professional indemnity insurance is much more important than public liability insurance. If you are in anyway unhappy with the service you receive from your photographer you may want some recourse. No point trying to get compensation from a broke photographer, that’s were professional indemnity insurance comes in.

    It is really not that important that the photographer has experience of a venue. A decent photographer can take a ten minute wander around a venue on the day and get the lay of the land, assess the light etc.

    It is my experience that all but the biggest asian weddings need no more than one photographer. It is an additional cost that couples see very little benefit from and can really do without.

    Just my opinion.

    Craig.

    • Sonia
      Reply

      Thanks for your opinion Craig! I guess it’s all down to personal preference on the second shooter. My photographers were a husband and wife team, it was nice to be able to have them taking pictures of my myself and my husband when we were getting ready.

      Sonia XxX

  • Blake Ezra
    Reply

    Bethan, I’m really sorry to hear of your experience, and hope that raising these questions at least helps other Brides-To-Be avoid that situation of booking the first person they see.

    Alexander, thanks also for your comments, which I really want to address.

    The premise of this article is simply to encourage Brides-To-Be to think seriously about their choice of photographer, so that they avoid a negative experience on a very important day. My aim was to write some questions which anybody can use when visiting any photographer, and then give our own answers to those questions. I’m not claiming that our answers are the only valid answers that exist, and that anything else isn’t acceptable… they are simply the way we do things. I hope that clarifies what this article is supposed to achieve.

    I also want to address the points you raised, as I genuinely believe these questions can REALLY help couples make the right decision about which photographer is right for them. So, in order…

    1) You’re correct, a camera doesn’t make a professional photographer. However I do believe it matters what camera your chosen wedding photographer uses, not necessarily which brand, but which camera. If a Bride-To-Be goes into a meeting with a photographer who says they use a Canon Powershot, for example, then alarm bells should be ringing. Whilst this sort of camera is fine for a family holiday, most couples would want their chosen photographer to have extremely high quality equipment for such a crucial job.

    2) Whilst I’m sure that the weddings you’ve shot by yourself have been fine, I may suggest that if you had another high quality photographer there with you as a second shooter, the results would have been more comprehensive, and you would have preserved even more memories and great moments for the Bride and Groom to look back on. We don’t base our method on what’s “necessary”, but instead what is the very best possible service for our clients.

    3) Of course there is no rule about how many pictures a client should receive, again I remind you that all we wrote were our own answers to those questions, not a gospel about what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s really valid, and important, for a client to ask (approximately) how many pictures they’ll receive. It’s about mutual understanding and expectation setting from the start. If a Bride and Groom expect 1000 images from their wedding day, and a photographer supplies 150, understandably they may feel slightly disappointed.

    4) This isn’t a manifesto about how couples “have to” do things, as everyone is different. Our answers are not the only ones that exist… the important thing is that more Brides-To-Be ask a few questions to any suppliers they’re considering using for their special day. I agree that people can, and should, make their own choices – but isn’t an informed choice surely better than an uninformed one?

    5) I don’t think this article makes weddings sound formulaic at all. You’re right in that every Bride is different, and a Bride is entitled to tweet all day at her wedding, it’s her wedding day – she should do exactly what she wants! However it’s totally clear that if a photographer is tweeting from a wedding, at that very moment they are not taking photographs of the wedding and could be missing a great moment, a smile, an embrace, kids playing, Ushers drinking at the bar, the list goes on…

    The questions in this piece, and the ones in the downloadable PDF, are all really useful with regards to helping a Bride and Groom understand what it is they’re investing in. The answers are simply the way we do things, which may be different to the way you do things, but that’s why every Bride-To-Be should ask the questions.

    Very best,

    Blake

    • Alexander Leaman
      Reply

      Blake, no need to be so defensive, and while you’re making sure that brides get the best kind of honesty from their suppliers we should perhaps show the good stuff and make sure that people understand that blog posts are often simply opinion and sometimes there’s a marketing agenda that’s often designed to validate a singular approach.
      My point is that the article looks like an advertorial, and if I can see it I’m not the only one. It’s my opinion of course, but you could admit just a little bit that I’m right.

      Just a couple of points: Nobody is actually going to turn up with a Canon powershot compact camera! Come on mate!
      Your argument about 2 photographers is old and tired. One could argue that having two photographers on site is expensive, dilutes creativity, and means more editing/time/expense for the photographer. There are lots of downsides to this way of working to the degree where suggesting that it’s ‘better’ is moot. FWIW I’ve shot with 2, 3 and just 1 lonely photographer, and there’s absolutely no evidence that quantity over-rides quality. If anything you run the risk of blandly covering every single angle until there’s nothing left of any magical storytelling or personality that catapults the wedding beyond anything more than mediocre.
      Sorry.

      Atb.

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