I have been photographing weddings for over 6 years now and in all of my conversations with couples, I have heard every question in the book, ranging from “What do you wear?” to “Can we see all of the unedited photos, too?” I get it, though – hiring a wedding photographer is a BIG DEAL, an expensive decision, and one that you’re going to live with for the rest of your marriage. After all, the photos are what last long after the cake is cut and the decorations have all been pulled down. So I want couples to ask me lots of questions! To help get the conversation going, I thought I’d share the 5 questions that I get the most, along with my answers. (NOTE: I have a page of FAQ’s on my site as well, so check that out, too!)
1. Are you available on our date? This is the most important question you must ask! And you should ask it first, since if the answer is “no” it really ends the conversation!
2. How much do you cost? This is by far the most asked question that photographers receive. And it seems like a good place to start until you realize that we don’t really have a set number that we charge everyone across the board. Every wedding is different and so most wedding photographers create customized packages based on how many hours you need her, whether you’re asking for one or two photographers, if you’d like an album, if you’d like an engagement session, how far away the wedding is, if she needs overnight accommodations, etc. When I get emails asking how much I cost, I explain that we really need to have a conversation about what the couple is looking for and how I can best be of service. Ideally we spend about 30 minutes on the phone and after that, I can give a more detailed estimate and make a recommendation. Instead of asking “How much do you cost?” a better question would be “When can we meet or talk on the phone to discuss a customized estimate for my wedding?”
3. What is your approach to wedding photography? Even though I believe that a photographer’s approach should be clear from her website, marketing materials, and portfolio of work, I still think this is a good question to ask. It’s one of those questions that gets at the photographer’s motivation, personality, and values. One of my core values is that I want my clients to have a stress-free and fun experience during their wedding day so that they look and feel comfortable in front of the camera and my approach reflects that value. I not only document the festivities, but I help my clients know what to expect and how to manage the day so that they can feel relaxed and just have fun. I call myself a “wedding navigator” because I really stand by my clients and help them navigate their entire day.
4. Have you ever shot a wedding at X venue before? My opinion is that the answer to this question doesn’t really matter because you’re hiring a professional photographer who has worked at countless venues, knows how to manage different lighting situations, and can problem solve on the fly. I know, though, that you chose your venue for its uniqueness, stunning beauty, and special nuances, so you want a photographer who understands all of those things. Whenever my clients communicate to me that it’s important I know their venue before the wedding day, I offer to walk through the property with them so they can show me their favorite places and we can make a plan for getting beautiful photos.
5. Do you charge for travel? Given that your photographer will be with you most of your wedding day (potentially in two or three different places) and given that your wedding may not end until close to midnight, knowing about travel fees and reimbursements is important. Sometimes we need hotel rooms the night before or the night of a wedding, sometimes we need compensation for the mileage, sometimes (in the case of weddings on Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket) we need ferry tickets. Be aware that the answer will likely be “it depends…” and then be open to having this conversation.