You’ve chosen the dress, booked the venue and ordered the cake, however, you still haven’t chosen the person who will document these intricate wedding details. Arguably one of the most important vendors you will choose is the photographer who will capture the essence, emotions and precious moments behind your big day.
How are you going to make an informed decision? Don’t fret! We chatted with photographic experts Marc Douglas and Barbara Ann Cameron and accumulated 10 questions that every bride-to-be should ask before signing on the dotted line.
1. Are You Available?
While this seems like an obvious question, don’t jump ahead of yourself. Begin your selection process with quick phone interviews. There is no need to get emotionally invested in someone who is unavailable for your date in the first place.
2. Tell Me About Yourself
Go into your interview armed with buzzwords that describe your photographic expectations (i.e. candid, formal, artistic). Proceed to ask your candidate how they would describe their work—if your buzzwords pop up in their description then you may have found your match.
3. Hit Me with Your Best Shot
When looking through a photographer’s portfolio you are going to see a selection of their best shots; keep in mind not all your photos are going to look like this. To get a better sense of consistency, Douglas recommends asking to see photographs from one full wedding (everything from people getting ready to the ceremony and reception).
4. The One That I Want
You need to be sure that you are meeting with the actual photographer who will be present during your day. Photographers working within the same network may have the same policies, but each individual will have a different style and personality.
5. The Full Experience
Capturing a wedding on film is a learned discipline. A wedding photographer must react instantly to surprise situations (like the bride’s reaction to hearing an emotional speech, or the groom moments before wiping away a tear). Timing and quick thinking is key! Ask your photographer about their wedding experience.
6. Now What?
Being uncertain of what to do or how to pose while being photographed is excruciating. You need to decide on how much or little photographic direction you need on your day. Do you want a photojournalist type (who has a no intervention policy) or a prompter (who directs: kiss, dip or move into better light)? Be sure to ask your photographer about their approach.
7. Details, Details
Vocalize your wedding theme and dress code to your photographer, Cameron suggests. You wouldn’t want them arriving in jeans to a black-tie-affair, or in a gown for a casual wedding on the beach.
8. Backup Plan
What happens if your photographer is sick? What if their equipment breaks? Although troublesome, these are scenarios you need to keep in the back of your mind. Each individual photographer should have their own policies, so be sure you are aware of them.
Ask your photographer how much time they need allotted for formal shots. You want your day to go as smoothly as possible so plan accordingly.
You need to ask yourself one very important question about your photographer, both Douglas and Cameron insist: “Do you like them?” You will be spending the entire day with this person, and you need to decide if your personalities mesh. Am I comfortable around them? Can I laugh with them? Go with your gut and you can’t go wrong.