Yay!!! You just got engaged! You’ve set the date and booked your venue. Now comes the really hard part…picking a wedding photographer.
But how do you pick the right one? How will you know that you’ll A) like how the photos look, B) like how YOU look in those photos, C) even get your photos at all, AND D) get the most bang for your buck?
Selecting your wedding photographer is not a decision to make lightly. You’re investing a lot of money and you want to make sure you’re making the right choice.
Whelp, to help you out, I’ve put together a list of some of the most important questions (IMHO) brides should ask every photographer they’re considering for the job. You ready? Good. Let’s get started:
1. Can we meet in person or over the phone?
I’m a big fan of email and text but let’s be real…it has its shortcomings. Information gets lost in lengthy, explanative emails and I don’t know about you but seeing a long email feels daunting and makes me not want to read it.
It’s so much easier, and less stressful, to talk things through face to face, over the phone, or virtually through Facetime or Skype.
Another reason I advocate for meeting up, is so we can find out if we have chemistry. Just like any relationship, chemistry is important. Do we get along well or not? Do you feel comfortable around me? Do I feel comfortable around you? I know that sometimes I’m not the right choice for a couple and sometimes a couple isn’t the right choice for me…and there’s nothing wrong with that! But in order to figure that out, we need to sit down with each other. We’ll be spending the whole day together on your wedding so we should probably get along relatively well, don’t ya think? 😉
2. How much of a deposit is required to hold my wedding date? When is the balance due? What forms of payment do you accept?
In order to secure your date, most photographers will require some amount of money be set down as a deposit. That ensures them that you’re serious about hiring them and it also guarantees they won’t loose out on business since they’ll be turning down all other work for that day.
Now, the amount of that deposit likely varies from photographer to photographer so you’ll want to make sure you know how much money you’re looking at spending on the front end of things.
I require a 25% non-refundable deposit. That not only secures your wedding date but also guarantees that I turn down ALL other offers for that day. Even if your wedding starts later in the day, I will not book another, shorter session in the morning. My day is yours as is my mind and energy.
The next thing you’ll want to ask is if the photographer requires the remaining balance to be paid in a lump sum or if they offer payment plans. Knowing this will help you budget all other wedding and vendor payments during the course of your engagement.
For my clients, I offer multiple payment plan options. I know that everyone’s finances are different I want to accommodate your specific needs. My couples have the choice of splitting their balance into 1, or 2, or 3 equal payments. No matter what the payment plan is, my couples’ final payments are due two weeks before their wedding date. And to make life super easy for my clients, all of their invoices and contracts are sent electronically with the option to pay online with a credit card or in the mail with a check.
3. What products do you offer?
I’m a huge advocate for getting your photographs printed. Sure, digital images are nice to share online but there’s something so cozy about seeing personal photographs hung on the walls. For that reason, I offer prints in varying sizes, wall canvases, and wedding photo albums. Prints and albums can be ordered online through the digital gallery I send to you. Or, if you’d like my assistance, we can always set up an in person or Facetime/Skype ordering meeting.
A NOTE: All of my wedding collections include a print and album credit. That credit must be used within two months of receiving your photographs.
4. Can I see one of your completed wedding galleries?
This should be one of the FIRST questions you ask a prospective photographer! While Facebook, Instagram, and blog posts are fabulous ways to showcase highlights from a client’s day – and they can give you a great idea of a photographer’s overall style – they simply don’t show you everything you might want (and need) to know. Getting to see a full wedding gallery will show you:
1) How a photographer composes a wedding story through photographs
2) The consistency of a photographer’s work from start to finish
3) The kinds of photographs that will be delivered after the wedding.
I seriously can’t tell you how important this question is. I’m super proud of all of my work and I’d be more than happy to share full wedding galleries with you.
A NOTE: It’s important to note that no two weddings are the same so their documentation will also not look exactly the same. Season, time of day, and the amount of coverage a client wants all affect what their documentation looks like. So while a photographer’s style and quality should be consistent, please keep in mind that there will be small differences between the weddings they photograph.
5. What does a typical wedding day look like if I get a full day of coverage?
Even though each and every wedding is different, your photographer should be able to give you a rough idea of what a wedding timeline might look like. When will they arrive? When will they leave? How much time will couple photos take? When do they suggest taking formal family photos? This question, while seemingly silly, provides SO MUCH insight to how much time and coverage you actually need (or want) for your wedding.
For me, a full day of coverage ideally starts shortly before the bride is ready to put on her dress – when she’s getting her final makeup touches done – and ends about an hour or so after the dance starts. Everything in between obviously can be structured based on when other events are scheduled.
To guide my wedding clients through this process, I send them a Wedding Packet that walks them through the entire wedding coverage experience – from their engagement session through their wedding print ordering session. In the packet, there is a sample timeline that outlines a typical 8-hour wedding day. This gives my clients an idea of how I like to structure the day.
Well friends…that just about wraps up Part 1 of my 2-part series “10 Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer.” If you found questions 1-5 helpful, interesting, or maybe even total “duh’s,” make sure to join the tribe below so you don’t miss Part 2.
Much love and appreciation to you all!
How do we even start to say thank you for all the work and effort you put into our wedding day?
- Josie and Scott
Lauren played such a meaningful role in our wedding, capturing the day in photos that we'll look back on for the rest of our lives. She kept Scott and me calm and sane - Lauren is a miracle worker! She put in 100% effort and gave us her very best, and that means so much to me. Seeing our photographs makes me so excited and so happy that Lauren was with us on this journey.
Lauren made the process so easy and made us feel so comfortable!
- Amy and Luke
We just wanted to say thank you again so much for your amazing work. You were seriously incredible to work with and we loved the locations you suggested for both our engagement shoot and the spots in Stillwater. We were very worried about getting professional photos done since we had never done it before, but you made the process so easy and made us feel so comfortable. Thank you!
Working with Lauren was easy breezy and FUN! She gave us our most treasured photos ever!
- GRACE AND NICK
There was a chunk of time in our wedding planning when we thought we'd go without a professional photographer to save on cost (terrible idea!) but once we met with Lauren, we knew we'd be in good hands. She checked in often and asked questions that got us thinking about other parts of the wedding that we probably would've missed. Lauren captured exactly who we are as a couple!
Lauren's enthusiasm and passion make the photo-taking process so fun – she made me feel like a star!
- Alisa AND Adam
Lauren and her team are so much fun to work with! She made us feel so comfortable on the day of our wedding, providing both silly and helpful cues to help us relax and be ourselves in our photos. Lauren’s background in dance is super helpful in recognizing simple posture changes that make a big difference, too. Oh, and the photos we got are just stunning!
Lauren was pivotal in making our wedding day perfect!
- Emma AND Erik
My husband and I looked FOR MONTHS to find the perfect photographer and after meeting Lauren we knew was the best fit for us. She made our day so much fun and easy. She found little opportunities to make the perfect photo all with a calm ease that comes from someone who has an artistic eye along with experience in understanding the flow of a wedding.
Not only is Lauren an amazing human being, but she is an awesome photographer!
- Haley AND Erick
I've been in several weddings and have worked with a multitude of photographers and I never felt as confident as I did with Lauren. I love how professional she is. She helped with the timeline way in advance and we stuck to that timeline the day of. She was also able to professionally and firmly keep unruly family members settled and focused and navigated family drama beautifully!