Asheville’s Top Destination Wedding Photographer reveals 5 important questions that you should be asking your Wedding Photographer and the Hidden Meaning behind their answers.
The key to finding wedding vendors that you love? Having a conversation with them to ask the important questions before you sign that contract! This is especially true with your photographers and videographers. You’ll be spending almost the entire day with them, so in addition to loving their work, you kinda need to like them too! Not sure what questions you should be asking? Here are five questions that you should be asking if you’re uncertain.
Question # 1
How long have you been shooting weddings professionally? How many weddings have you photographed?
Why it’s important: Experience is everything. Because, there are no ‘do-overs’ in Wedding Photography!
What you Should be Listening for: Hidden within this answer is a good indication of what you’re gonna get. Listen, I understand that there’s a photographer for every budget and less experienced photographers usually price themselves accordingly. Is it possible that you’ll get super lucky and find a rising star for dirt cheap? Sure, but I wouldn’t risk it. Weddings are expensive AF and there are some corners that will inevitably need to be cut but your Wedding Photographer is not what you wanna bargain shop for! I remember very well what it was like when I was first starting out. I think I charged around $700 for my first wedding in 2008. I still remember the couple, Amanda & Scott. As an inexperienced 24 year old photographer, I didn’t have high end equipment, I didn’t know a thing about lighting or off camera flash or how to handle the multitude of varied and often undesirable lighting conditions on a wedding day, I was so nervous and felt so panicked under the pressure, hands shaking as I fumbled around to adjust settings quickly to capture the action. I am so grateful for the couples in those early years for allowing me to learn on the job. Today, I can’t even bring myself to look at those images from twelve years ago because: holy shit were they bad! 😉 Funny thing is, almost every seasoned wedding photographer that I know will say the exact same thing about the work they produced in the beginning. We all had to start somewhere… but do you really want your wedding to be someone’s learning curve? You want a photographer who is experienced, professional, confident, organized, efficient, calm under pressure and highly skilled. You want a photographer who can perform flawlessly in any situation. That comes with experience. Lots of it.
*PS – If you’re reading this and I photographed your Wedding between, 2008-2013… hit me up for a portrait session. You deserve it! 😉 xo
Question # 2
How would you describe your Wedding Photography Style?
Why it’s important: Photographers all have different methods and approaches when photographing a wedding day. Photographer’s also use varying photography styles to capture a wedding day. This could range from a classic/traditional style of wedding photography which is more posed portraits to a more “candid” and photo-journalistic approach for capturing a wedding day… or maybe they’re into more artistic & creative portraiture and enjoy utilizing creative lighting or maybe they’ll say that they’re a natural light photographer. You’ll want to have done your homework on the various styles of photography in order to choose a style of shooting, editing and storytelling that you love!
What you Should be Listening for: Hidden within this answer is the way that photographers like to work. Most Candid / Photojournalistic storytellers tend to be on the quieter side and they can easily fade into a room without being noticed in order to capturing those truly authentic moments. While classic/traditional photographers are more confident and assertive, you’ll definitely notice them when they walk into a room, they’re comfortable directing a shot to achieve the exact look they’re aiming for. It’s a little more of a structured approach. The more artistic / creative fine art portrait photographers usually have a singular vision that they’re pretty excited about and they have the skill to make it come alive jusssst the way they see it in their beautiful minds! Press your photographer a little bit for examples of when they like to use each of the styles that they mention when answering the question and you’ll have a clearer picture of how they’ll work with you throughout the day!
Incase you were wondering, I’m an extroverted – introvert. So, I’m kind of a mixture of all three of those styles at various points throughout the day! 😉
Question # 3
Can we see the full galleries of a couple recent weddings?
Why it’s important: Unlike an instagram feed, an album or a highlight gallery, a full gallery will give you a better sense of your photographer’s overall style, consistency, skill and attention to detail. Make sure these are from weddings they’ve shot in the last year so that it’s an accurate representation of their more recent work.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: If after taking a deep dive into your chosen photographer’s website, portfolio, blog, social media and reviews from previous clients, if you are still not totally convinced, you should definitely ask to see a couple full galleries to make you feel completely confident in your decision! With that being said, you should probably reserve asking for this from all of the photographers early on, during the research phase. I would instead reserve this ask for a single photographer or a couple photographers who you are strongly considering hiring for your wedding. Any legitimate professional wedding photographer is going to have recent galleries that you can look at. If they give you an excuse about why they can’t or fail to deliver, you need to keep it move’n girl!
What you Should be Listening for: “Yes, of course! Here are a couple links….” Any other response is a hard NOPE!
What equipment do you use? Do you have/carry backup equipment?
Why it’s important: Because equipment sometimes fails and unexpected accidents happen and the. show. must. go. on.
Story time: I’m not gonna name names but — last fall, I worked a wedding with a local photographer who presents himself on the internet like he’s a real big deal, doing big things, traveling all around the world, instagram famous, moderating a local photographer’s facebook group, the whole bit…. Just as he arrives at this wedding, he sits his camera on a bar stool, it falls off and breaks his primary lens. He was understandably really upset but because he didn’t have any backup equipment, it completely crippled him. He only had one camera body, his secondary lens wasn’t great and he didn’t have any backups. He ended up completely freaking out and left the wedding and I shot the entire wedding (it was huge) solo. Horror story, right!? You.Need.To.Ask.This.Question!!! Even of the photographers who seem like they’re the big deal! 😉
What you Should be Listening for: Any legitimate, professional Wedding Photographer should have at least two camera bodies and they should have at least 4 lenses (1 prime + 1 wide angle, 1 zoom or telephoto and at least one backup of their go-to lens) that they can use incase something happens to one of them.
Whats in my camera bag: It’s actually a camera suit case, but I’m so glad you asked! 😉 I carry two Nikon D series camera bodies. I carry two Nikon Prime Lenses (50mm, 85mm), I carry two Sigma Wide Angle Lenses (35mm art, and 24mm), I carry a Nikon Macro Lens for rings, tiny beads on your dress, eye lashes and other sweet details, I carry a Nikon 24-70 zoom lens, and a Nikon 70-200 telephoto lens. I also carry a Nikon fish eye lens for fun shots sometimes when the mood strikes. I have a separate equipment case that transports my lighting gear (stands, flashes, mounts, diffusers, etc.) And another case for my Drone equipment. This year, I hope to add a Sony a7ii camera body and at least a couple lenses & if I love it like suspect I will, I’ll probably switch over to Sony equipment entirely in 2021.
How soon will we see our photos?
Why It’s Important: We’ve allllll heard those stories about the bride & groom who didn’t get their wedding photos back for six months or more… you’re excited and you need to be clear on the delivery time frame so that you can manage your expectations!
What you Should Be Listening For: A single 8hr wedding day can yield between 3 – 6,000 images. If there’s a second photographer, that number is closer to 7 or 8,000 images to process. Your photographer should be up front with you about their editing process and about their anticipated delivery timeline. Be sure to request that the photographer include their estimated delivery time frame in your contract. Also, you might want to ask if you’ll get sneak peeks after the wedding and how soon you might see them… because you can’t have your profile pic be a crappy iPhone pic that some body snapped at your wedding!
What’s MY process!? I’m really intentional about the shots that I take on a Wedding Day, I don’t just shoot all willy nilly/continuously, hoping I ‘get a good un’… I’ve been doing this so long that I don’t have to shoot like that. I know exactly what I want and exactly how to achieve it. So, I usually only shoot a few frames of each moment and move on. Because of this, I usually only come home with about 2,500-3000 images from an 8hr wedding day. When I get home that night, I always upload the images to my computer and back them up on an external hard drive. If it’s not too late and I’m not completely exhausted, I’ll edit a few images right then for sneak peeks in the morning! I edit in the order that I shoot to be fair to all of my clients who are waiting patiently on their galleries. My contract sets clear expectations about this and the indicated gallery delivery is within 6-8 weeks of the wedding date. This timeframe is actually just a cushion. I like to under promise and over deliver so I give myself plenty of time, incase I get crazy busy with work or life or mom’n or something unexpected comes up. The time frame usually only ends up only being more like 4-6 weeks during peak months. During less busy months (January – March), those brides get their galleries in like a week or two! Another reason to get married in the off season! LOL So, get excited Morgan, Siobhan and Hannah. 😉
Hot Pro Tip: After you interview your photographer be sure to check out what other couples are saying about their experience. You can find our bride reviews here: Asheville Wedding Photo Google Reviews!
T-minus 1 week until our 2021 wedding season officially begins! 🙂
(FYI: I can only accept five more Weddings for the 2021 season and only 10 more weddings for the 2022 season! Get in touch ASAP if you were hoping to chat with me about yours!) XO -Brit