What questions should you ask your wedding photographer? Lists as long as your arm float around on blogs and in wedding magazines, often hastily cribbed and recycled from one another. Most of the questions tend toward the obscure and the meaningless, just to pad out the experience a little bit more.
The truth is that there are only five truly important questions you need to ask your wedding photographer. More importantly, I'll let you know what answers you should be looking for to help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
5. Do you shoot RAW or JPG?
Truth be told the answer to this question and the question itself barely matters. You could just as well ask what brand of camera they shoot with or if they use prime lenses or zooms. What you're trying to learn from your photographer is how much they know about the technical side of their craft. If they shrug and say they don't know, then they're probably not the right photographer for you.
At Ryan Richardson Photography, all of our wedding photographers shoot in RAW. It's a format that sacrifices a tiny bit of speed and a lot of file size for greater flexibility in post-production (especially when it comes to white balance).
4. Can I see a full wedding?
It seems a little obvious, but it's easy to get blindsided by galleries and highlights. So maybe you don't want to look through hundreds of pictures of someone else's special day, but you should be able to get a look at 50 or so images from a single wedding (or maybe a full album) that will give you a better sense of what the photographer is capable of than a highly cultivated portfolio.
If you'd like to see one of our full weddings, you can view a slideshow here.
3. Can I see a copy of your contract?
A photographer is more than just a man with a camera, he's also a man with a business. A contract protects both you and the photographer in case something goes wrong and you should be able to get a look at what you're signing before making a commitment. A contract should also spell out any payment terms and other questions you have in the event of an emergency (such as a sudden change of date). If there isn't a contract, you should be wary.
2. What separates you from other wedding photographers?
In the digital age you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a few wedding photographers. How does your wedding photographer stand out from that crowd? If they can't answer that question, then why are you trusting them with your most precious memories?
At Ryan Richardson Photography we take pride in our ability to connect with our clients. Beautiful pictures and memorable moments don't happen when you're nervously posing for a stranger, that's why we treat our clients like our friends (only we charge you more). The pictures are pretty good too.
1. Are you available on my wedding day?
It's a simple question, but I get a lot of brides who forget to ask it. If the answer to this question is no, then there really isn't a point. If you'd like to know if we're available for your wedding date, then why don't you ask?
There are plenty of other questions you should have for a wedding photorapher. For many couples, this is often their first time working with a professional so there's a lot to learn and even more to talk about to make sure you're making the right choice for your big day. Also, toss in a few curbeballs during your meeting, see how they react (please do not use calculus word problems however, we're in the arts).
- Ryan Richardson is a Massachusetts Wedding Photographer