Just like my own blog, popular wedding resources and blogs need SOMETHING to share with their readers or else their engagement will drop — that’s just logic, right? And since they post on a daily basis or more, they are constantly looking for new content, so often times they will rewrite the same posts several times by just changing the information or adding new details. One thing I find they often cover is, “Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer.” I’ve seen lists that range from 5-50 ideas, which… seems like a lot of information! So I wanted to narrow it down to some that I think are important for potential clients to ask of their photographer. And some I’ve even tweaked to make a bit more appropriate! Here goes nothing…
1. Can we see a few full galleries?
This is an easy and short answer… yes!! You should always, always, always ask to see more than one full gallery for any photographer you are interviewing for the big day. What we post on our blog and website are just the highlights; my galleries are generally 800-1200 images, so posting that many images isn’t realistic! But you need to see a full wedding day from beginning to end to ensure the quality photos don’t end at the highlights. Look to ensure the reception is well-lit and consistent, proving the photographer can handle different lighting situations. And by seeing more than one, you can ensure that consistency remains across differing venue types.
Have you worked at my venue? should read…. Have you worked at venue similar to mine?
Note the word similar, as this is the most important part of the question. I know potential clients think it’s important to work with someone who is familiar with their space — and trust me, that makes logical sense, I get it! But as someone who works in the DMV area, there are literally thousands of venues and it’s impossible to have shot at all of them. I would say the majority of the weddings I shoot each season are at a new venue… and the reason they aren’t a total failure? Because it’s my job to be able to create beautiful images no matter where I am working and I come fully prepare to handle any situation. Heck, I could shoot at the exact same venue on back to back weekends and if there is even one different variable (weather/guest count/first look/etc) they could and will look totally different. All this to say, don’t discount a photographer for the simple fact that they may have not shot at your venue before; instead, talk to them about venues they HAVE shot at and how they approached they day to see if it’s in line with your vision! Here is an even deeper dive into this question!
3. Do you have backup equipment and are you insured?
I’ve had many sweet potential clients ask me about what type of equipment I use… and while I could go on and on about how much I love my Canon 85mm 1.2 more than the 50mm 1.2 (a wildly unpopular opinion!), unless you’re a professional photographer, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about! And you shouldn’t need to — as long you love the photos you are seeing on my website and social media accounts, it doesn’t matter what took. What DOES matter is that your photographer has backup equipment in case anything fails, which, I, of course, do. Multiple bodies, batteries, lenses, and flashes so that I should never be without a camera should the Uber driver drop your camera when opening the trunk (true story).
It’s also important to know if your photographer is insured. Many venues, especially high-end ones, require proof of insurance for vendors to work their on the day of their wedding. Additionally, it’s just a good business practice and shows you’re working with a professional. I currently hold a policy that covers both my equipment, as well as my business up to $1 million, which is the industry standard.
4. What is your backup plan if for any reason you can’t make it to the wedding?
In the six years I’ve been photographing weddings, I have never, ever missed a session, let alone a wedding. I take this job very seriously and understand the responsibilty that comes with signing a contract with my clients. So please know, before I even dive into this, if I were to miss a wedding it would have to be an extreme situation that I hope never comes to fruition. That being said, any good photographer has a back up plan in place. Personally, I hire strong, talented second shooters who will take over for me should I become unable to shoot. If the situation allows, I will still be the one to edit and deliver your images so you have that same style you fell in love with. Regardless, I will leave you in talented, capable hands!
5. What does a wedding day look like with you?
My approach to shooting varies throughout the entire wedding day based on what moment we are in. There are points of the day where I am simply there as photojournalists, during the ceremony and the reception in particular, to capture the moments as they unfold. Myself and my second shooter work to be discrete and unobtrusive so that you and your guests don’t even realize we are shooting.
And then, there are times, like during portraits, where I take a more hands on approach. I directly you entirely throughout your couples portraits so you never feel you have to pose yourselves! We still keep the posing very nature and authentic — lots of movement so you never feel stiff! I want your portraits to be a true reflection of who you are, so I always say, if you wouldn’t be picked up and twirled around in real life, then we won’t do that on your wedding day either! Our goal is timeless photography through and through, so that extends to posing as well. I will also gather and arrange different groups for both your wedding party and family portraits so you can just relax and focus on getting married!
In short, my one goal is that when you look back on your wedding day, I want to you to simply remember moments and memories; I never want the day to feel like a photo shoot. Sure, I will always guide you to the best light and angles, but that joy and laughter and emotion you see throughout the photos? That’s genuine.
6. How many photos do you deliver? Are they all edited?
Personally, I don’t have a set number — on average, I tend to deliver between 75-100 images per hour of coverage. All images that are properly exposed, well-composed, and in focus are included in a gallery. I do, of course, take out all duplicates and any images that would be deemed unflattering (like, if you’re mid-eating or blinking). Things that contribute to the range in images delivered are the number of details, the number of guests, the amount of time allocated for portraits, whether or not a couple is doing a first look, etc.
And yes! I hand edit every single image you receive for color balance, exposure, crop, and straightening to ensure each looks perfect and matches the individual style I’ve developed over the years of shooting.
7. How will I received my photos and how long are they available?
I have found that the best way to deliver your memories from the big day is through an online gallery service; after all, most computers don’t even have a DVD drive and USBs are easily lost. Online galleries make delivery incredibly efficient; essentially, as soon as your images are edited and ready to be delivered, I can upload them and send them to you on the same exact day! You’ll also have access to them anywhere you have internet, which makes them easy to share with friends and family across the world. The gallery is protected by a 4-digit pin code so that no one can download your images with your permission. As a bonus, you can also order images directly through your gallery if you wish from the professional lab of my choice.
I keep your gallery active for a minimum one-year period so that you can download them whenever you wish! I’ll also send you a notification before anything is removed, so you can always give me a heads up if you need the images up longer.
8. Do we receive the copyright to our images?
This is a common question that, 99.9% of the time, is mistakenly asked… probably because a wedding website told you to ask! Most of my clients do not need a copyright unless they are looking to sell their images. What they are looking for is called printing rights which allows them to print, reproduce and share their images. And I’m happy to tell you that a printing rights release is standard with all of my collections and you’ll never find a watermark on your images! Find out more about copyright vs. print release.
9. Where can we read reviews from clients who have worked with you before?
I think reading first hand experiences from past clients is invaluable and would encourage all potential clients to seek resources where they can read more about their vendors. You can find a compilation of mine over on Wedding Wire!
And finally, the big one… the one I wish people asked but usually don’t:
10. Why should we hire you for our wedding?
I’ve always loved taking photos, but I fell in love with wedding photography in particular when I got married in 2011. I think marriage between two people is one of the most beautiful things someone can witness and feel it is truly a privilege to capture my client’s unions week after week. But that isn’t why you should hire me.
Before the wedding, you will receive fun surprises from me in the mail leading up to your special day and I will respond to any and all of your questions — photography related or not — within hours. I will recommend amazing vendors for you to work with and help you prepare your photography timeline hour by hour (sometimes even down to the minute!), accounting for all the idiosyncrasies a DC wedding can bring. My couples often get to know me so well that they say it’s like a friend is going to be arriving at their bridal suite. But that isn’t why you should hire me.
On your wedding day, I will arrive early as I’ve always been taught that early is on time and on time is late. I will help you button your dress or slip on your shoes and fix your hair when the curls begin to drop after hours of dancing. I will get us back on schedule if traffic holds us up and wrangle your self-proclaimed “wild” family for portraits. But that isn’t why you should hire me.
And after your wedding, I will hand edit each and every image to ensure a flawless gallery from start to finish. When I’m done, I will share those images within weeks and work with you every step of the way to help create beautiful albums to keep as heirlooms or share as gifts. I even love to stay in contact with my past clients, photographing their families for anniversaries or generations to come. But, still… that isn’t why you should hire me.
It’s no secret that there is a multitude of fantastic photographers throughout the DMV and across the country. You should hire me, however, when you’ve fallen utterly and completely in love with my imagery. My unique photography and editing style is the one you feel mostly closely drawn to and you can imagine spending your wedding day with me — because, after all, besides your significant other, I’m the one person you’ll be seeing more than anyone else! Throughout the entire process, I will work tirelessly to take as much stress from you as possible so you can enjoy this fleeting time and, at the end of the day, I will deliver you a gallery full or beautiful memories and moments to reflect on for a lifetime.