Updated: May 2
Choosing a wedding photographer should be an exciting process as it is all part of the amazing journey leading up to your wedding day. Whilst recommendations may come your way from friends or family, there is no guarantee that you are looking for the same style photos that those photographers offer. Nor does it mean that the recommended photographer is available on your given date or within your price range.
For those of you that are struggling to know how to choose your photographer, or what questions you need to ask, then look no further!
Hello, I’m Georgia, a wedding and lifestyle photographer and I want to share my experience and knowledge to help you lovely couples in all of your wedding planning and preparations. I am sure that my tips, inspiration and advice will help relieve some of the stress and help answer some of those questions you may have. Many people have no idea what to expect when it comes to the booking processes, prices and payment plans, insurances, etc. and to be honest, a lot of people just don’t know where to start and who’s advice to listen to – family and friends are happy to share advice but often it is what THEY like/dislike and think you should do, and it often contradicts what another person has told you. On this blog, I cover all things weddings and not only the photography side of things and I include interviews with other suppliers (check out my post with DJ Mike Readings and Flore House) so that you get to learn from their expertise as well.
So with that said why not subscribe to the blog and receive my free wedding checklist bundle to help get you started. If you are looking for a photographer you can find all of my prices on my website and there are contact forms if you wish to enquire about my availability. Also, feel free to connect with me on Instagram.
So without further ado here are some questions that you should ask your potential wedding photographer – some of these questions naturally lead into other questions but I will give an abbreviated list at the end as a recap/checklist for you.
Do you have my date available?
I have already mentioned this above, but it really is the first question to ask. You will naturally book your venue first, at which point you now need to know if the wedding photographer is available. There is no point falling in love with them and spending time asking to see their work and for a consultation if they can’t be there anyway.
What's your style?
To some extent, you may already have an idea of the wedding photographers style because you have seen some of their photos on their website and social media pages. But it is still definitely something worth talking to them about because the photos don’t necessarily always portray the reasons behind their style or how else it will benefit you and your photos. For example, I am a light, bright and natural wedding photographer and you will see that in my photos.
But when I say natural that doesn’t just mean natural lighting. I also love to capture natural moments because they always feel the most genuine and are the moments that truly represent my couples. But what you may not realise from looking at my photos is that my natural style makes a difference to those who are camera shy and would find it awkward to pose and put on a smile. So whilst my photos capture people smiling and laughing, someone like yourself may still be thinking "well my photos will never be like that because I couldn’t put a laugh or a smile on like that." And that is because whilst my photos capture the moment it doesn’t tell you whether the person in them was camera shy or naturally photogenic. It doesn’t tell you whether they were able to do magical looking formal photos, or whether they were dreading their photos being taken.
I have had numerous couples where one of them had dreaded their photos being taken but came away not only loving the photos but actually enjoying the fun experience of having them taken.
Does this sound like the experience you want to have for your wedding day? Pop me a message and let's see how I can make this a reality for you, on your special day!
The other reason to ask about their style is it just gives you a chance to listen to see if your photographer is passionate about their work. The last thing you want is someone who is counting down the days until they put their lens cap on for good or no longer loves being a part of such special moments. It’s your wedding day after all, and whist you want professionalism, you don’t want a moody or miserable photographer who is just doing the bare minimum all day and making the experience dull and awkward.
How much do they charge?
This may be a deal maker or breaker for you. If you are on a restricted budget then you may not be able to get the photographer on the top of your list, or you may need to try and recoup some of your budget from elsewhere. On the other hand, you may prefer to pay the premium to make sure that not only do you get the photographer that you want, but also that you get one who does this professionally as their full-time job, and that comes highly recommended.
Now I know that I am biased, but I know other wedding suppliers would also agree that your photographer is one of the most important people you need. This is because not only do they need to work with you on your actual wedding day, but also because the photos are to live on for years ahead allowing you to relive the moment and share with your loved ones for years to come. It should come as no surprise then that it is suggested that about 15% of your overall budget is put aside from your photography and videography needs. If you want more help on knowing how to assign your wedding budget then I am sure that you will find my blog What is the Average Cost for a Wedding really helpful.
When it comes to pricing, some photographers offer a one-off fee no matter how long or short your wedding day is (although they will have a max time), whilst others give you a choice of packages that vary to what parts of the day are included and whether you get albums and other extras included – you may find with some photographers packages that their silver package doesn’t cover all that you want but their gold one is too much, yet that is all they offer.
I personally offer an 'A la carte' styled menu with my prices starting from £800 for 4 hours and then you simply add how many hours you want to that at a price of £125 per hour. I have found that wedding days no longer follow the same traditional schedule, and the variations can be so different from one wedding to another that this enables you to simply pay for the time that you want me there. For example, not every couple has a sit-down meal or a first dance, or they really want to spend more time capturing certain moments but weren’t worried about a picture of them cutting their cake, and so to save time, hassle, and any confusion in the booking process, I decided to make my pricing simpler and more flexible. My prices also allow couples on a tighter budget to still benefit from my services as they can just use me for fewer hours to capture the most important part of their day – the ceremony plus the family and couple portraits for example.
I hope that you're finding this post useful so far - if you want more information on what a photography experience with me is like, then feel free to pop me a message and we can chat!
Of course, it does help to know how long you need your photographer for and I do offer advice on my website as to approx how long each part of a day takes so that my couples have an idea of how long to book me for.
Make sure you find out if there are any other charges for things such as travel. If you choose a photographer miles away they may need overnight accommodation and therefore there could be extra charges incurred. Most photographers require food as well if they are there all day.
Ask them whether they offer additional hours should you need them to stay later on the day – sometimes things overrun and some of my couples decided to ask me to stay on later when their evening guests arrived even though they initially didn’t want me to photograph that part of their day.
Some packages included albums or prints and some also include engagement shoots, whilst others like myself allow you to add all of these onto your price if and only if you want to. Another extra cost that can be added to your price is for a second shooter. Again some photographers automatically include this in your price, although not everyone needs a second shooter and so most have it as an add on fee. I am also in the process of launching my photo station with props which sometimes will need an additional shooter depending on the couple's other photography needs.
When you discuss their prices it is also worth asking what their policies are regarding deposit and future payments and whether they offer any payment plans. Again you can find all of this information if you desire it on my weddings webpage.
Is this their full-time job?
This question can often be overlooked because people may simply assume from someone’s social media and website that they do wedding photography as their sole occupation. I am not suggesting that you can’t or shouldn’t use someone who does it part-time, but you do need to be aware of the potential pitfalls.
Firstly you would want to ascertain that they have all of the necessary policies and insurances in place such as public liability, and whether they have spare equipment should their main camera or lenses break on the day. Sometimes those that do weddings as a hobby or side job cut corners in these areas so be sure to check – but to be honest it’s worth checking even if they are full-time.
You will also want to have your mind put at ease that there is no way that their other work commitments will coincide and stop them from being able to make it on your wedding day. And along with the same trail of thought, you will want to have an idea how long you will have to wait for your photos to arrive as the editing process can be time-consuming, to say the least, and if they are working a 9-5 elsewhere then when will they get your photos edited and delivered?
For more advice on how to schedule your wedding day photographs with your photographer, check out this insightful blog!
Finally, someone who does it as a hobby or for some pocket money may not be as worried about their reputation so asking this next question is of vital importance…..
Do you have reviews available to see on sites like google, yell etc.
Anyone can put their best reviews on their own webpage or social media. But what have people said about them elsewhere? Reputation and recommendations are always worth their weight in gold. Whilst it is true that we have all probably had a positive experience somewhere or with a certain purchase whilst others have given it a 1-star review, the reality is for something like wedding photography those negative reviews should be really hard to find in my opinion because a couple should always come away satisfied with their photos and the overall service.
Yes sometimes mistakes can happen, or unforeseen situations can arise, but even then the way the photographer responded to them should still leave the couple satisfied and happy.
To give you an example, in 2021 I had a wedding day shoot booked in when my son tested positive with coronavirus and we had to self isolate. Unfortunately, that mean that I would be isolating on the day of their wedding, which was in a weeks time. Now whilst this was a stress for me, I made sure that it wasn’t for my couple as I spent hours contacting various photographers that I knew and had worked with, as well as other suppliers that I knew could recommend other photographers just in case. In the end, I managed to arrange another photographer to go and shoot the day and I edited all of the photos in my style so that they were still provided with a highly professional service. I also offered them a complimentary portrait session where they could either get dressed up in their wedding outfits again and take them to a lovely destination so they could have more shots but with me taking them, or for them just to use any other time they wanted.
The reality is the situation was completely out of my control. I couldn’t help the fact that my son caught the virus or that we were currently in a time when we had to isolate ourselves as a household because of it. But I value my reputation and professionalism and I am also proud to be someone who goes the extra mile for my couples, and I know that I did everything I could to make sure that I served my couple to the best of my ability and that as a result, they were still happy.
So make sure you ask them where you can find reviews about them other than on their website to get a better idea of who you’re hiring.
Do you want to hear more about my work? Check out my Social Media platforms and see just what I do, and why my customers are so satisfied with the work I do for them!
Ask to see more of their work.
Every wedding photographer will always put up the highlights and the best photos on their website and social media pages. There will usually be far more portraits of couples and bridal parties and fewer photos of the venues, flower arrangements, table décor etc. So whilst you would have already seen some of their work it may not give you a complete idea of what to expect if you were to hire a photographer to shoot your whole wedding day from bridal prep through to your exit.
So by looking at their albums or asking them to send you a gallery of a full wedding day, it should give you an even better idea of their work and whether they can capture your story as it unfolds throughout the day – although this may not be as important to you if you only want to capture certain parts of the day. It will also give you an idea of what they offer for albums as well should you decide to get one from them.
Most photographers can capture a decent portrait shot, but it is the artistic eye and the creative mind of others that really separate a decent wedding photographer from a top-quality one who really sees themselves as an artist and often that can only be seen when looking at more of their detailed work.
Those are the big questions that you need to ask! And here are just a few more quick-fire questions that you may want to ask as well.
Will I be able to give you a specific shot list – this is really important to some people, whereas others just have a very simple list of which group portraits they want and then rely on the photographers lead and expertise.
Have you worked at our venue before? If not will you connect with them and go there beforehand?
For larger wedding parties you may want to know - Have you done big weddings before?
What are your backup plans for equipment malfunctions or unforeseen circumstances (illness, accident, etc.)
Ask them what their process is leading up to the day and what information they need from you.
How and when are your finished photos delivered? – almost all are digitally delivered via online galleries or USB.
Hopefully, this blog has been insightful as well as helpful. As promised here is an abbreviated list from above (and I have added headings of the questions that we covered under a different question):
Are they available?
What is their style?
How do they help camera-shy people?
How much do they charge and what for?
What are their additional charges? Food, travel, accommodation etc.
Do they offer albums?
Do we need a second shooter?
What are their payment policies? Deposits, final payment & payment plans
Is this your full-time job?
Do you have insurance?
Do you have contracts?
Do you have backup equipment?
Do you have backup plans if you can’t be there for some unforeseen reason?
What is your turnaround for delivering our photos and how will they be delivered?
Do you have reviews available elsewhere?
Can we see more of your work – a full days gallery?
Can we give you a shot list?
Have you worked at our venue before?
Have you photographed big weddings (if applicable)?
What is their process leading up to the day – what do they need to know?
Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out on any of my latest blogs and to keep up with all of my exclusive offers, information and freebies. Also check out my YouTube channel which has been developing and shaping up nicely over the past year or so since launching which also has tips, inspiration and advice on it. And please do feel free to check out my work, reviews and prices on my website and contact me if you have any questions.
Are you looking forward to planning your wedding, but worried about the stress of it all?
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We wish you happy planning!
I am always cheering you on.