1. What style of work does your photographer specialise in?
This is a crucial question. If you've got your heart set on an informal, reportage-style of photography, don't choose someone who specialises in traditional posed shots and family line-ups. Likewise, if you're looking for a photographer who offers digital special effects such as retouching or hand-colouring, make sure this is an option before you book.
2. What qualifications do they have?
Qualifications aren't essential for taking great pictures, but it's always reassuring to know your photographer has the necessary skills needed to shoot really creative pictures and to handle tricky weather conditions such as low light, harsh sunlight or dark skies.
3. Will the person you meet at the initial consultation be the person taking your pictures on the day?
It's important to form a rapport with your photographer if you're going to feel relaxed in their company. Ask who will be taking your photographs, and make sure you meet them before signing a contract.
4. Do they shoot digitally or on film?
Some photographers swear by film, while others have converted to digital, so ask your photographer why they prefer their chosen format. Bear in mind that photographs shot on film will need to be individually scanned if you want them to be uploaded to a website or saved onto a CD - and this may add to your final bill.
5. Do they offer a pre-wedding shoot?
Some photographers will offer you a photoshoot ahead of your wedding. This will give you and your photographer the chance to develop a rapport, will get you accustomed to being photographed and will help your photographer discover under which circumstances you look your best.
6. Have they taken photographs at your chosen wedding venue before?
Always choose a photographer who is familiar with your venue, or who is willing to waste precious time on the day searching for the perfect spot for that romantic pose.
7. Are they available to show you any testimonials and photographs from other recent weddings?
There's nothing like praise from other couples to make you feel confident in your chosen photographer. Equally, it's important to take a look at other people's photographs so you can check you're happy with the photographer's style, and point out any shots you particularly like (or dislike).
8. Do they offer black and white as well as colour photography?
If your photographer is shooting digitally, this won't be an issue, but if they're using film, you might like them to have one camera for those atmospheric black and white shots and another for colour shots of details such as the flowers and cake.
9. Do they offer different photography packages for you to choose from?
Most photographers will offer a number of packages. If none of them suits what you want, ask whether they'll give you a bespoke quotation. For example, if you're on a tight budget, you might choose to have a photographer just for an hour or two.
10. How long will they stay?
Ideally, you should look for a photographer who covers individual elements of the day, rather than setting a time scale. Decide whether you want them there to capture everything from you getting ready right through to the first dance, or perhaps just from the ceremony to the cake-cutting. Setting a time scale is risky if things run late and they start billing by the hour.
11. Do they charge for transport?
If your photographer is local, this is unlikely to be an issue, but if they're travelling any great distance they may charge an amount per km. You might even need to provide overnight accommodation, so be sure to confirm this before booking.
12. Will they require refreshments?
If your photographer is spending any length of time at your wedding, it's only fair to assume he or she will need to be fed. While a sandwich might be sufficient if they're only there for a few hours, consider offering a main course from your wedding dinner if you've booked them for the entire day.
13. Will they offer a discount for a weekday wedding?
Wedding photographers are in greatest demand on Saturdays, so some might be willing to lower their prices if you're getting married mid-week, even if they don't advertise the fact. Don't be afraid to ask!
14. Are they happy to work alongside a videographer?
While your photographs are an essential memento, a video will enable you to listen to those vows and speeches for years to come. The only problem can arise when a photographer and a videographer both want to stand in the same spot to capture those magical moments. If you're planning on having your day filmed, make sure you tell your photographer they will be working alongside a videographer.
15. How many pictures will you receive?
The number of photographs you receive often depends on the package you've chosen. Generally speaking, digital photographers will take more shots than a photographer using film, so you'll have a wider selection to choose from.
16. Who will own the copyright?
Most photographers will retain the copyright to your images so that any reprints not included in your package will need to be ordered through them.
17. How will the final set of photographs be presented?
Most packages will include some kind of album, so ask to see an example of what your photographer offers. The easiest way for friends and family to see and purchase your wedding photography is on the internet. Many photographers offer this service as well as providing an album, but it's always a good idea to check.
18. Are they insured against mishaps?
None of us likes to think of the worst-case scenario, but there is always a chance something might go wrong with the camera or the film gets damaged. It's important to find out whether your photographer has professional indemnity insurance, and exactly what this covers.
19. When will you need to pay?
Unfortunately, you will need to part with your money at some point, and you need to know when. Expect to pay a deposit when you book and the remaining balance just before the big day or after receiving the photos.
20. When will you see your pictures?
The first thing you'll want to do when you return from your honeymoon is look at your photos. Ask how long it will take to put the images online and when you will receive the actual prints.
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