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Welcome to the blog! I’m a small-town Florida girl and Army wife relocated to the Seattle Suburbs, documenting love from one coast to the other. I live for a good PNW mountain breeze, sweat pants, and local eats. Let's be friends!

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5 Tough Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Filed in: Resources, Weddings

ask your wedding photographer these 5 questions

5 Tough Questions That You NEED To Ask Your Wedding Photographer

My heart aches every time I read a wedding photographer horror story or hear a sad personal experience. Just like every other industry, things happen and I absolutely hate for someone to not have their beautiful memories captured and preserved the way they should be. These questions won’t tell you if your personalities are a match, or if the style of work and experience is what you’re looking for. These are the though questions that NEED to be talked about BEFORE a hard drive crashes to make sure you are hiring a responsible professional.

  1. HOW DO I KNOW OUR WEDDING IMAGES ARE SAFE WITH YOU?

You would think this is a given, right? Not necessarily. Many people in the industry are teaching themselves and unless they’ve done a lot of research, worked closely with someone or already had a negative incident occur, sometimes they just simply don’t know. Here’s how I protect your images and recommend other professionals to do so as well:

  • Professional Equipment: I use only professional camera equipment that allows me to capture your images to both an SD and CF card. This ensures that if one card fails, the photos are still copied on the second.
  • External Hard Drive: Once I get home, I back up the images to an external hard drive with a power source. While no one can guarantee the stability of a hard drive, these tend to be more stable than portable drives.
  • Cloud Storage: I have all the images automatically sent into a cloud storage system. I use BackBlaze and would highly recommend it to others.
  • BONUS: For extra security, images stay written to an SD card until the final photos are sent to you. That means, your photos are in 2-3 places at all times.
  1. WHAT’S YOUR BACK UP PLAN IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY? 

Most photographers I know work rain or shine, healthy or sick but sometimes things can happen out of our control. Your photographer gets in a car accident or has pneumonia and is hospitalized. What do they do? Honestly, we HATE to think about this. It’s the absolute worst feeling but we have to be prepared. In the event that something like this happens, your photographer should be able to give you a reliable plan without many loopholes so someone reputable is there to cover your day. Here’s what I have on my back burner just in case:

  • Written Plan: If I’m incapacitated, I have written out instructions for my husband or second shooter to do the following:
    • Assign a lead photographer: Because I have a second shooter for every wedding, they would become the LEAD photographer for the day. I’ve vetted this person, their experience and equipment. Plus, they are already briefed about your wedding day.
    • Find an assistant or second shooter via our professional community: We have a local “Wedding Emergency” Facebook group. I would post in that group to try and find someone who can come and and fill that second shooter spot.
    • Post processing – I would still handle all of the post processing and communication about your photos to ensure the quality is consistent with my brand.
  1. DO YOU HAVE BACKUP EQUIPMENT? 

So let’s be honest, things happen. This is a must! Even better – ask if they have professional backup equipment. Make sure that your photographer’s back up equipment is still high quality and not just a camera that can “get the job done.”

  1. DO YOU HAVE A CONTRACT AND INSURANCE?

These are strictly just to make sure they care about what they are offering you and are knowledgeable about the trade and risks. Contracts protect both the photographer and the client. Do you need to know their exact insurance company? No absolutely not. But asking these questions is just one thing to make sure you’re along the right track.

  1. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET BACK MY WEDDING PHOTOS? 

This question brings to light your photographers care for customer service. This answer can range all across the board. If you get your pictures back the next day, did they really take the time and care that they should have when retouching them? If it takes 10 months to get your photos back, I would say they don’t value their customer service. Reasonable is different for everyone but, your photographer should have your photos back to you within a time range of time that you’re comfortable with. On average, most wedding photographers have a turn around time between 6-12 weeks. All of my weddings clients receive their photos in under a month.

  1. BONUS: DO YOU WORK WITH A SECOND SHOOTER? 

YES. I strongly disagree with anyone who tries to argue that this is not important. It’s one of the reasons why I include a second shooter in every single wedding package. Does it make me any less of a capable of a photographer? Of course not! This is strictly for YOUR benefit. Here’s why I think a second shooter is absolutely necessary.

  • Two people can cover more ground. It’s just a fact. I’m still very much a hustler but I love those candid in-between moments and this allows for more of those tiny seconds in time to be captured.
  • Different angles and focal lengths. Having a second eye, someone who is not always directing, can take a second to look around and breathe, sometimes produce the most creative and artistic imagery.
  • Equipment malfunction – it happens. It’s one of our worst fears. If that happened at a pivotal point in the day, wouldn’t you rather have someone who can step in immediately while the other photographer switches to back up equipment?

So bride and groom to be, talk about these things in your consultation so you don’t have to think about them later.

DISCLAIMER – Every photographer has a different workflow and there are tons of great companies other than the ones I specifically recommended. There are no exact right or wrong answers necessarily but you should be in agreement with all of their responses. This is simply a guide to help couples know what red flags to search for.

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