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What to ask your wedding photographer

The 10 things you must ask any wedding photographer before you book them

I’m Juan Muino and I am a professional wedding photographer in Cambridge.

Booking any professional service can be confusing and sometimes stressful, especially if you are planning your wedding day. Our aim is to make booking your wedding photographer as easy as possible.

Here’s our quick guide to what to ask a wedding photographer before booking them…and more importantly the answers you should expect to help you decide who to book to record your very special day.

Here are the top ten things you should must ask your wedding photographer, complete answers are below.

  • Can you describe your photographic style?
  • How long have you been a professional photographer
  • Are you fully insured?
  • Can I look at the last two complete weddings?
  • What exactly does your coverage consist of?
  • What’s your turn around?
  • What exactly will I get?
  • Can I contact your past clients?
  • Do you use a second photographer or an assistant?
  • Do you bring back up equipment?
1. Can you describe your photographic style?

You have to be happy with your wedding images; a photographer should never push their style onto any wedding day.

Likewise, if I feel that my particular style isn’t what the bride really wants, then I would rather recommend another photographer than undertake the commission.  You must be so proud to share your wedding images with your family and friends; your wedding photographs shouldn’t just be placed in a drawer and forgotten about. As a little update, I’ve just written a blog post regarding traditional wedding photography and you can read it here.

2. How long have you been shooting professionally?

Just lately I have seen a lot of new photographers appear on the scene. A wonderful website and a cool camera from a department store doesn’t make you a pro.

Personally, I have over 20 years experience of shooting professionally, commercially, and editorially as well as shooting weddings.  Your wedding photographer needs to be competent, be professional but also be able to demonstrate people skills.  You do not want to be held up during your big day, your wedding photographer needs to be confident handling people.

3. Are you insured?

It is REALLY important that you ask this question, not only because the photographer should be covered in case of injury to a third party but also because most wedding venues require that the professional wedding photographer show their insurance documents prior to working in their venue. In fact I have heard of a wedding photographer being asked to leave a venue because they could not prove that they had Public Liability Insurance.

The minimum requirement is that a professional wedding photographer should have Public and Indemnity insurance.

4. Can I look at the last two COMPLETE weddings you’ve photographed?

The important word here is complete…it is very easy for a photographer to attend a few portfolio-building courses and then advertise their services as a wedding photographer. Shooting a wedding tests every aspect of your professionalism. There is no substitute for seeing complete weddings to make sure that the photographer you book is capable of attending and shooting your wedding. Ask to see a minimum of two complete weddings, either in book form or on the web. 

5. What exactly will your coverage consist off?

This is a great question to ask because not only will it give you a definite idea of what will be photographed, but it can also help you plan your wedding day schedule. For example, if you are getting bridal prep shots then you’ll be able to allow a few more extra minutes for this to happen…or another few glasses of Champagne.  If you want formal group shots then plan a little extra time during the day for this to happen.  Your wedding photographer should be able to help you schedule this.

6. What is your turn-around?

A good wedding photographer will always get swamped during the wedding season…so you have to have a clear indication of when you will get to see your images, and when you’ll receive your finished book there after.

The time taken to produce your wedding album depends on your requirements and it’s not unusual for me to produce a book six months after the wedding.  However, you need to have a clear idea on the schedule.

Because of my excitement about a wedding, you’ll usually get to see a sneak peak the very next day (usually sent via email)…and by the time you return from your honeymoon you’ll be able to see your online gallery. Then, when you’ve finalised your shots, we will work together to produce either your book or your album, which usually takes another two to four weeks (although I aim to do it much sooner).

7. What exactly will I get (books/albums/images/back-up service) and what are your additional product prices?

Be completely clear of what is included in the price, and get a definite indication of how much things like additional books or re-prints will cost. I’ve heard stories of really cheap bookings, only for the bride to be surprised at the cost of re-prints and other extras. You’ll get a full price list detailing every cost of additional services, so you can budget. Additionally, when you book me you’ll get a clear contract of what exactly you will get.

Also, if your wedding photographer offers the images on a disc, then find out if they are high-resolution (good enough to print) and if there will be a watermark (the photographers name/copyright info on every shot) placed and what you will allowed to use the images for.

8. Can I contact your past clients?

Like any professional service provider I rely on my past clients to build my reputation, so I have no problems with you contacting my previous clients and should you decide to book me then I’ll be more than happy to supply you with references.

9. Do you have a second shooter/assistant?

In most cases I always attend a wedding with my second shooter or an assistant. Not only are they my second eyes, but also help make sure that I shoot everything I need to as quickly as possible to cause the least amount of disruption during the wedding party.

10. Do you bring back-up equipment?

If you are a professional photographer then you will have enough equipment to ensure that you can professionally cover a wedding. Although I use top end professional camera equipment me and my team always carry back-up cameras and back-up lenses…just in case.

This is just intended as a quick guide…but if you have any questions or would like to have a chat then simply contact me or visit our comprehensive FAQ section.

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