Weddings can be stressful as is, so it’s crucial to chat with (even virtually) with your potential photographer ahead of time and ask them some detailed questions. This will help ensure that you jive and have the same vision. You will be spending a large portion of your day with this person (think 10+ hours if they’re shooting you getting ready!). It’s vital to link up in some way beforehand and make sure your personalities mesh! Schedules are difficult and a lot of my clients live out of state. Therefore I am a big fan of Facetime or Skype meetings to make things simpler! We grab a glass of wine, coffee, or whatever your heart desires and chat about life “face to face”! I’ve put together a list of questions to think about when interviewing your potential photographers to be sure you have the perfect person for the job! This is after all your special day!
First and foremost, how long have they been shooting weddings?
You HAVE to make sure the person you’re hiring has the experience. This could be as a second shooter for multiple weddings or if they have been flying solo. Wedding days throw multiple curveballs from timeline hiccups to weather-related changes to missing family members to sudden lighting changes mid-ceremony. Your photographer needs to know how to adapt accordingly!
Knowing how to properly navigate these potential roadblocks with ease throughout the wedding day, without further stressing the couple, are things that can only be learned with experience. If this is their first solo wedding, I highly recommend requesting a deep dive into their portfolio to see how far they’ve come and what they’re capable of. It’s great to give a novice some know-how, as long as it’s not to your detriment! I am nearly at 100 weddings under my belt on my own, and I am still learning, growing and adjusting with every opportunity!
How would they describe their style, both editing, and shooting?
Some photographers are more outgoing and have no problem being front and center taking charge throughout the day, while some are more reserved and prefer the candid moments and give as little direction as possible. Others are a healthy combination of the two (ohhh hayyyy, that’s me) and a fly on the wall during some parts of the day, then are your new bestie directing your family around and cracking jokes with you the rest! You want to find a photographer whose personality fits what you will need for your day. If you want images full of laughter, or lots of romance, or a fine art style, or all of the above, you’ll want to make sure their portfolio demonstrates those things.
The same goes for their editing style! Do lots of scrolling through potential photographers Instagram feeds and stalking of their portfolios so you can get an idea of both their shooting and editing styles. These things certainly change as a photographer adjusts and grows and finds their own throughout their career, but you will likely be able to see trends. Some photographers keep lots of color in their images while others don’t. Some have a “warmer” feel while others keep things a bit “cooler”. There is no right or wrong way to do any of these things, but you want to find something you vibe with the most, images that you can picture yourself and your relationship in, and that you want to look back on for decades to come!
Who are their backups if they fall ill, or have an emergency?
This is a big one to remember. Hopefully, it’s never an issue, but don’t forget that life happens and we are human after all. People get sick or have accidents, and you’ll definitely want your butt covered in case something goes awry. I know for me, I’d have to literally be hospitalized for me to miss out on capturing a wedding, but I have a solid fall back plan JUST IN CASE. I have a very close network of fellow photographers in this area, and beyond, and have no doubt I’d be able to find someone to step in and help me out if absolutely necessary.
There is a built-in backup for your day as I also include a second photographer in all of my packages (whose value we will discuss another time because valuable!!). The exact moment you lock in your wedding date, I reach out to my team of second shooters and secure someone for your date right away. Meaning if something major happened and I was absolutely unable to capture your day, there is already someone set to be there (whom I trust wholeheartedly) to document it in my place without even having to do any searching or panicking! That is a great feeling on my end. I also have an assistant who has full access to all of my back end details so if I am completely incapacitated (like in a coma or something) they know where I am supposed to be, when, and who to reach out to amend the situation.
What is their backup strategy for your images? This too is a big dang deal! Technology is NEVER 100% trustworthy and your photographer should be able to walk you through their backup process for your images. These memories are irreplaceable and the thought of losing some of the images or losing something to a technical error-absolutely stresses me to the max! The cameras that I shoot on have the ability of IMMEDIATELY writing the images on to two separate memory cards. This means that the second I push the shutter button, there are two copies of every single image. If one of those memory cards fails or gets damaged before I can upload it onto the computer and the rest of the backup process, there is already an exact copy! That is such a huge peace of mind for me that I wouldn’t trade for anything!
Once the wedding day is complete, I head home and import all of those images onto an external hard drive. I then duplicate them again onto yet ANOTHER external hard drive, and thennnnnnnn I upload those images onto a cloud backup server meaning I have your images in at least 3 different places at all times. The memory cards are never cleared until those three things have happened. Usually not until after the full gallery has been delivered! Phew! I’m exhausted just writing it out, but it is 100% worth it. I have drawers full of used external hard drives and typically have to buy at least 4 throughout the wedding season. I would buy 8 if needed to make sure my client’s images are protected to the best of my ability.
The main thing to remember here is to ask more questions. This is most likely your first time getting married, and everything is so new and foreign to you! The more you ask, the more of an informed decision you can make. Above all, you need to trust your photographer. Allow them to use their experience and knowledge to help you throughout the process making sure you make the best decision for your day and that fits your needs perfectly!
I appreciate when clients ask questions and want the most information possible. That means they truly care and those are my people! I hope this helps you as a good starting point in the conversation with your potential photographer! There are so many options out there and while I wish I could… I can’t capture every wedding, nor do I fit the style and vibe of every couple! And that is okay! For a further dive into some frequently asked questions about the process of working with me specifically, check out this FAQ’s blog post!