Soooo how many posts are there about this very topic online? 206 milliony billion? Pretty close!
The problem is that lot of the questions wedding blogs and sites tell you to ask your photographer are to be blunt, bullshit, link bait, SEO crap that’s trying to sell you something. You don’t need to ask your potential wedding photographer “What is your photography style?” (If you can’t determine a photographers style and aesthetic from viewing their website and Instagram, you probably shouldn’t hire them.)
Here’s a few better questions to ask your Edmonton wedding photographer that will give you useful information and help you make your choice.
1. Can I see an entire wedding that you’ve photographed?
There are many horror stories online about folks who’ve booked a photographer based on having good pics on instagram, and they’ve ended up disappointed in their wedding photos. Yes, I dove down a reddit rabbit hole reading these horror stories to research this!
That perfect portrait you’re seeing on someone’s instagram feed in dreamy light literally represents 1/125 of a second during a 10 hour day. But you’re not hiring a photographer for 1/125 of an second, you’re hiring them for your whole wedding day. Which means you need to see a whole wedding day they’e photographed before you spend thousands of dollars.
Does your chosen photographer show a variety of photos? Do they show moments and candids, photos from the ceremony and reception? Or is everything on their website just portraits? Word of warning- there are so many workshops and classes where photographers build up their portfolios by photographing models in ideal settings – “styled shoots” Sure, these photos are pretty, but they’re also in perfect lighting conditions, incredible decor, and you’re looking at models, not real people. They just don’t reflect the reality of a wedding.
You’ll feel something if you’ve found the right photographer. Wedding photography is a big investment and photos are the only thing you have left after your wedding – please make sure the gallery of photos you see gives you all the feels.
2. Have you photographed a wedding at this venue before?
There is no “correct” answer to this question. A great Edmonton wedding photographer can walk into any reception venue, church or community hall and figure out how they can photograph it/light it to get the best results.
If your photographer says “No, I haven’t photographed a wedding at LaDeDa hotel before.” you can follow up with “Do you have an example of a wedding in a hotel ballroom that is lit similarly?” That’s what photography is all about – the photographer’s control and mastery of lighting to capture moments. If your wedding is at a darker venue, ask for photos from a darker venue.
3. Can I give you a list I found on the internet with my must have wedding photos?” Yes, absolutely, and I’ll do my best to get every single one.
But remember that you are not downloading a template for a wedding. You’re planning a unique, amazing, emotional and profoundly human event, not items from a checklist.
So you might not get the photo of your wedding dress hanging from a tree, or whatever this list says you absolutely need, because during the time alloted for those photos, you were having an emotional moment with your grandma, and I chose to focus on that instead. (Besides which, I guarantee your wedding dress looks way better on your body than hanging from some random branch.)
4. Will I be working with you directly, or will my wedding be photographed by one of your associate photographers?
Associate photographers are contracted employees that work for the business. They can be just as awesome and as talented as the main photographer.
If you will be working with an associate photographer, it might be a good idea to get in touch with that person directly, chat about your day, and see if it feels right. Often, associate photographers cost a bit less than the main photographer, so if you are on a budget and the photographer you are chatting with is too much for your budget, you can ask if they have an associate you could work with who charges less.
5. Do you have a backup camera and lighting equipment?
The only right answer for this one is “Yes.” I bring an extra camera/s and I bring an extra flash. Flash isn’t necessary but it might be needed if you are having a wedding reception in a darker venue.
6. Do the cameras you use have a second memory card where my photos will be copied in case a memory card is lost?
The internet is full of stories of woe – the photographer’s memory card was corrupt. The photographer put the memory card with the couples’ wedding photos in their pocket, and then washed those pants. The memory card fell in the lake. Got lost in the mail. Threw itself off a mountain. Got swallowed by a baboon. (again the reddit rabbit hole – this shit is wild!!)
Bad stuff happens sometimes! I have 2 cameras, and each of them has instant backup to a secondary card at the moment the photo is taken, so it instantly exists in more than one place. I back everything up right away when I get home from a photo shoot. Your photos exist in triplicate, in case something happens. It’s the least I can do to ensure the safety of your wedding photos.
7. Can I read your service agreement before I book you?
Make sure you feel comfortable with everything you sign. Ask questions to clarify. Most service agreements will outline what happens if there’s an emergency, and when you can expect to receive your gallery of photos after the wedding.
8. What happens if we postpone?
Remember 2020? Your photographer should have an easy to understand reschedule policy if something happens and you cannot have your wedding on your scheduled date. They should have this info in their contract/service agreement. Retainers are not refundable if you cancel, but if you reschedule, most photographers will apply your retainer payment to a new date for an admin fee. Read your service agreement because there’s a chance you may lose your retainer payment and have to start fresh if you rebook on a new date.
And remember, the “correct” answer to each and every one of these questions means nothing if the photographer’s work doesn’t make you feel something. Choose a wedding photographer whose work makes you smile, or laugh, or even tear up. You will spend a lot of time and a lot of money on this one day, and you’ll only have the photos left to remember it. Interview more than one photographer, and look at lots of portfolios and examples of weddings before making the final decision! Happy planning!