Unless you’ve got your heart set on a wedding photographer, you’re going to be spoiled for choice and with so many amazing wedding photographers available in Malawi, it is no easy task settling on just one.
However, once you’ve narrowed down the list to a handful of possible contenders, here are 15 questions you should ask potential wedding photographers, preferably face-to-face. By the time you’ve spoken with the last one, you’ll know exactly who to hire to shoot your all-important wedding photos.
- Are you available on our wedding date?
This should be the first question you ask. After all, if they’re not available on your wedding day, you can cross them straight off the list!
- What is your photographic style?
Every photographer, be they a wedding photographer or a wildlife photographer, has their own style – and it needs to match the style of wedding photography that you and your spouse-to-be are after. There’s no point hiring a photographer who specialises in highly-posed wedding photographs if you’re after a more natural, impromptu style of wedding photographs – and vice versa.
Of course, before even picking up the phone to call potential wedding photographers, you should have checked out their website or their Vow Wedding Directory profile to see their previous body of work.
- Are you the photographer who will be shooting my wedding?
Sometimes, when you visit a wedding supplier, the person you speak with won’t be the person performing the service, so ask the person you’re meeting with whether they are the one who will be the photographer on the day.
If not, ask to meet your wedding photographer beforehand. There’s nothing worse than not liking the person you’ll be working with for up to 12 hours on a day as busy and emotional as your wedding day!
- What is your photographic background?
Photographers are artists so they don’t need formal training to be a spectacular photographer, they need a great eye and skill!
That said, a photographer’s experience can make a difference to the final result. For example, even an award-winning sports photographer may have a hard time shooting a wedding, whereas someone who has shot dozens of weddings knows exactly what to capture and when.
It’s also important to ask how many weddings they’ve photographed in the past as wedding photography is an extremely specialised form of photography and you need to know that your photographer isn’t going to miss the key moments!
- How many camera people and cameras will be operating on the day?
Obviously, the more shooters and cameras, the more pictures you’ll have and the more expensive it is but do you want lots of pictures, or do you just want to capture the key moments?
This is a very individual choice, but you should know how many people will be on-ground with you on your big day and, obviously, this will depend on your wedding photography budget and whether or not you want more than one shooter at your wedding.
Typically, however, there is one shooter and an assistant.
- Are there any additional costs we may encounter?
Most wedding photographers offer a range of packages aimed at different budgets, but even with set – and very straightforward and transparent – packages, there are always things that crop up that may cost more, so be sure to know what they may be. Are there over-time fees? If so, what are they?
What if I change my mind about the quality of the album I want? And what if I want extra pages in the album or a different size?
- How will you (and any assistants) be dressed on the day?
It is important that your wedding photographers fit in on the day and don’t distract either you and your new spouse – or your guests.
Most wedding photographers dress very conservatively (or, at the very least in smart casual) and blend in nicely, but if you’re having, say, a very formal black-tie event and want them to blend in, be sure to let them know – but don’t expect them to turn up in tuxedos!
- What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?
None of us likes to think about the worst, but it is prudent to plan for it, so ask about the consequences should you need to cancel your contract with your wedding photographer. How much noticed must you give? Will you lose your deposit if you cancel? Will you lose it if you re-schedule?
Don’t be afraid to ask these questions because, in the event you need to cancel (or re-schedule), you’ll be glad you did.
- What exactly will you shoot on the day?
What’s important to you when it comes to wedding photography? Be sure to convey to your wedding photographer what you want captured. Do you want the guests’ reactions during the wedding speech captured rather than your own? Is the big kiss during the wedding ceremony a priority over, say, capturing the look on your Mum’s face as you’re pronounced husband and wife?
Find out what parts of your big day your photographer will capture and what they won’t and let them know what you want captured, too.
- In how long will we receive our photos?
Depending on what you’ve ordered, the timeframes for receiving your final wedding photography may vary from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. Most wedding photographers will have a few sample images up the very same day or within a few days either on their social media or for you to put on yours, but get a clear answer from your photographer as to when you can expect to receive your final package, whatever that may be.
Remember, if you order a physical printed album, the timeframes will increase markedly, up to three months, in some cases, but you’ll probably receive soft copies of the images before then.
Also, be sure to ask what format you will receive the final files on? Will it be on disk, USB or as one very large download – or all of them?
- What exactly will we receive at the end of that time?
Find out what you will be delivered at the end of the contract – and in what format, as mentioned above. Does it include a physical album? If so, what size will that album be and how many pages will it include?
Does your package include printed photos separate from the album or is everything digital? Will I receive mini albums to share with each side of the family and my bridal party?
- Will you back up the images?
You’ll only get one go at your wedding photos and, should anything happen to the raw photos, they’re lost for good.
So, ask your potential wedding videographer about how they store and back-up your photos should something happen to, for example, SD cards or hard drives storing them.
Many photographers shoot with two cards that simultaneously copy the images, ensuring that if one fails or disaster befalls it, your precious wedding photos won’t be lost. The photos will, usually, then be backed up to a hard drive and/or server for a limited time after they have been delivered to you.
But ask the question for peace of mind.
- Have you worked with <insert videographer’s name> before?
If you’re having a wedding videographer, ask your potential photographer whether the two have worked together previously. If they have, that’s great news – and means they’ll probably be able to co-ordinate themselves nicely. If not, hand over the contact details so they can get in touch with each other beforehand, if necessary.
- Have you worked at <insert venue name> before?
This is important because if the photographer has worked at the place/s you are holding your wedding ceremony and/or reception, they’ll know how things work, where to get the best shots – and how the light works at the time of day of your event, which all adds up to better pictures!
- Will you be putting our photos online?
Not everyone wants to share their wedding photos with the world, so if you don’t want your images going online, certainly before you’ve had a chance to vet everything, tell your photographer. If you don’t want them going online, be very clear about it as most photographers will offer sneak peeks or promote the photos they have shot on their own blog or other wedding sites such as The Vow Wedding Directory.
This article originally appeared on easyweddings.com.au