I cannot emphasize enough on how important it is to have a photographer who is a full-time professional. I have to admit that when I started out as a photographer and was doing it part time not once did I get asked if this was my full-time job. Of course my fees reflected that I was starting out but some photographer's fees will not reflect that they are not yet experts! Trust me if they were experts, photography would be their full time job. For example, I focus on candid photography. The great candid moments that I capture are not by luck. They are a combination of my technical excellence, mastery of light and experience of capturing the right moment at the right time. So unless photography is not high on your priority list for your wedding day (which it may not be) and you are willing to take a risk than hire a full-time photographer.
2. Do you only do wedding photography?
Now my answer to this question may surprise you. The answer should be... NO!
On a wedding day a photographer will need to wear many different "hats" as a professional:
- A food photographer to capture your amazing wedding cake and other delicious food you have spent hours organising for your guests.
- A profuct photographer for detail photos such as your lovely new wedding bands and all the decorations.
- A portrait photographer for posed family photos.
- An architectural photographer for overall photos of the venue, the church etc...
- A studio photographer when setting up lights for the evening party.
If a photographer focuses solely on wedding photography that says they may not be as well rounded as another wedding photographer whose work you love AND who shoots different types of photography.
This question does not have a right or wrong answer. However, it is an important one to ask to make sure that the photographer's style matches your expectations. For example, my answer would be:
"I like to take charge when it comes to the group photos so that they are done as fast and efficiently as possible (trust me group photos are not on the guest's priority list and could really put a big stop the flow of the day). However, for the rest of the day I like to photograph events as they happen and capture all those candid moments which wouldn't happen if I asked people to pose."
This is also a very important question. Some photographers will have a team of associates who shoot for them when they are not available. You want to build a relationship coming up to the wedding with the photographer who will be there on your wedding day so be clear to ask that question. Also, no matter how trained they are every photographer captures a wedding differently so make sure the portfolio you are looking at is from the photographer who will be capturing your day!
We have heard enough horror stories about brides and grooms who have waited months before they received the images from their wedding. There is a way to avoid this. Find out from the start and make sure it is written in the contract. A full-time organised professional photographer should really not take more than 2-3 weeks to deliver the digital proofs.
6. Do you have a backup system in place for your digital files?
A trustworthy professional photographer will have a copy of their work off-site. Ask about this. Without a proper backup system, the photographer could potentially lose all of your images. However, this is easily preventable if there is a backup strategy.
Now that they have answered all your questions and that you are happy with them. BOOK THEM NOW! Good photographers book up fast and no one likes to go with option B.
Phew, glad your photographer is booked. Now on to the next wedding planning task...