It is time for another chapter in the wedding photographer user manual. A good decision is an informed decision, especially when dealing with photography. It is very important to make sure that when you're shopping for your wedding photographer, that you compare apples to apples. There is a huge variety of talent, pricing, styles, and mindsets when it comes to photography, and it can be confusing if there isn't some preplanning involved.
Here are few questions that don't pop up on most FAQ's pages, but are important to ask all the same.
Definitely ask your photographer to give you a basic run down of how they would shoot your wedding day. It is good to not only get an idea of how many hours to expect, but also lets you see how much time your photographer spends shooting formals versus images of just the bride and groom and so on. It is also a good conversation starter to see if you gel personality-wise, which is a very important part of choosing your photographer. You want to make sure you feel comfortable with them since you spend more time with your photographer than anyone else on your wedding day.
When you get your images back after the wedding, make sure to ask if they are edited images. Some photographers don't edit any of their images. Some edit just the top few. Some edit all the images. Some will turn and image black and white or work on an image in photoshop for no charge, some will charge for any retouching. It is important to know how finished your images will be when you see them.
It is always good to ask how quickly you will get your images after the wedding. Industry standard is 6-8 weeks. It takes time to edit the hundreds to thousands of images taken on your wedding day. Some photographers put a due date in the contract, some don't. If you have a specific timeline in which you want your images, be sure to mention that before signing a contract.
If you get an online gallery, see if those images will be online for only a set amount of time, or if they will be archived on the site for years.
If you get your images on disk, ask what size they will be. Will you be able to print an 8x10 from the file and get a nice print? A 16x20?
Getting a general idea for album design and print time is also a good thing. Albums can take months to get back from the printers or can have a turnaround of a couple weeks. During holidays, some album companies get very backlogged and albums get delayed. Having an idea of when to expect your album is important.
Your photographer is also a good source of general wedding information. They are behind the scenes and there all day. So it can always be helpful to ask if there are any pieces of advice you can use for your wedding day.
Apples to apples comparison shopping can be difficult. Every photographer charges differently, so try to have a set of questions you ask at each consultation. It is also important to remember that a wedding photographer's fee doesn't just cover their time the day of the wedding, but also their equipment, experience, and editing time after the wedding. And make sure to check a personal reference and/or research the company online. Do your homework, so you can feel confident in your decision.