As I venture into the wedding planning for our wedding along with being in the industry for 12 years now, I know the importance of reducing wedding stress. So here I am creating content to try to help you through this process, even if we aren't a great fit for eachother I'm happy for you and excited to help in any way I can.
I started my journey into my photography business 6 years ago and as I head into my seventh wedding season I have a lot to be thankful for and one of those things is my growth (business wise not physically I’m still 4’9”!).
For years a lot of “fauxtographers” have been stealing images of those hard working photographers and passing it off as their own to book clients, make fast money and skip the whole building process… this needs to stop! There are too many scams of these people taking off with money and not showing up at all which is definitely not something you want to go through.
For wedding couples or parents looking for a professional photographer… please do your homework! Make sure their website is professional and full of images that jive together creating a legit portfolio! I have had to cover last minute for a wedding because the couples’ photographer took off with their money and pulled a no show! So please make sure you are dealing with a true professional don’t be afraid to ask these questions (after all you are putting a lot of time and money into this day you want to make sure you are getting what you pay for):
1. Ask the photographer what gear they use. A professional photographer uses professional gear… enough said.
2. Are they ok without flash in a church if they are not allowed to use one? They should be and their gear should be able to handle the need to use the higher ISO. Obviously a lot of us prefer the ease of natural light but we can’t always work with it so educating ourselves in lighting for all situations is very important!
3. What is their backup plan for photos if it is raining? Are they ok to resorting to indoor photos? As much as I love the being outdoors there are times that we need to last minute ditch the natural light outside and do indoor photos which I feel just as comfortable with!
4. Do they have a backup gear in the event something happens to their camera during your wedding day? I make sure I have 4 cameras with me just in case I have a second shooter with me we both need to be backed up in case something breaks or stops working. I shoot with 2 at the same time at all times.
5. How do they back up your images? Do they have 2 memory card slots in their camera? I have 2 in both my cameras and thank goodness because I had 1 card fail mid-session on me before.
6. Do they properly back up in more than 1 place post wedding day? What is their process post wedding to do this? Computers crash, hard drives crash… be sure that your photos are being backed properly up before they are delivered to you. I have 6 hard drives plus 2 cloud based storage sites… a little overboard yes but I sleep well at night.
7. Do they have business insurance that carries liability insurance? A lot of wedding venues require a copy of this from wedding vendors so to be sure the person you are paying to be there gets to cover the time at said venue be sure to ask and get a copy of this. Not only that it is something they should have to cover themselves in the event something happens to your photos, damage to their equipment, etc its always good to have your butt covered!
8. Ask to see a gallery of a full wedding if their website doesn’t showcase a lot of images or if they don’t have an album to sit down and show you. If they refuse to show you this then you need to move on. Not every image will be perfect but it should be consistent in style, composition and quality. The gallery should showcase that they can shoot in variety of lighting (the church, the reception hall, mid day sun, etc).
9. How do they dress for weddings they photograph? I know this seems odd but if they show up to a consultation in yoga pants you might want to ask this…
10. How many weddings have they photographed? Have they photographed many that are close to the same size as yours? There is a big difference in covering an elopement style wedding to a wedding with 300-400 guests. I usually suggest having 2 photographers for weddings over 200/250 people. If they have only photographed 2 weddings that’s FINE (we all start somewhere)but just know them well, make sure you are seeing a gallery to know they can handle all the lighting situations. A lot of photographers are starting to second shoot to learn before doing their own weddings and so some may only have second shot wedding images to show and that is great as long as it is THEIR work.
11. Ask to see a copy of their contract, read it, understand it and get a copy once you have signed it in a timely manner. If their contract is only 1 page long it is missing a lot of stuff that needs to be in a contract. Most wedding contracts are about 5-7 pages.
12. What are their payment policies? If they are offering 75% off to book now it is most likely a scam or they have no experience. It is common practice however for the photographer to want full payment 90, 30 days , 2 weeks or a week prior to the wedding day this is just to avoid late payments or chasing a couple down at the reception for payment when they should be enjoying their evening.
This list could go on but I think these are the important ones but the best way to know if this photographer is for you is to trust your gut feeling.
Please note: I know hiring a professional isn’t in every couples budget and that is fine however be very aware of what you are getting and who!