Most wedding magazines will give you a list of questions to ask a wedding photographer. Stuff like: “Can you describe your style? What equipment do you shoot with?”
Let’s be real: Those questions are boring. And you probably don’t actually care about the answers anyway.
So I surveyed some brides and photography friends and put together a list of all those questions you really want to ask, and all those things we really want you to know.
1. How do I pick a good photographer when there are hundreds listed in my area?
First, look for a forum or blog that appeals to your style. Obviously, if you’re an Offbeat Bride, you’re in the right place — I receive my best clients through the Offbeat Bride Vendor Guide. The photographers listed are both gay-friendly and accustomed to photographing offbeat weddings.
Once you’ve got a few favorite photographers, narrow it down to a handful of favorites, and set up a time to meet them. Make sure you’re meeting with the person who will be wielding the camera at your wedding, not a sales consultant or studio owner. You have to, like, trust and get along with your photographer — that way you can leave the magic of photo making in the photographer’s hands. Not only should you like their images, you should also like them! You’ll be spending many hours with them during your wedding day.
2. How many photos do I get?
The wedding photographers I surveyed typically deliver 50-100 photos for every hour of coverage they provide. Four hundred photos may seem like a lot, but your wedding photographer is preserving all those little details and the moments you missed while you were mingling.
3. I love those photos with the blurry backgrounds. How do you get that look?
You’re talking about shallow depth of field. Photographers get that look by using professional lenses that are able to focus tightly on the subject.
4. I found one photographer whose images look soft and pastel, one whose images look clean, and one whose images look like they were shot on old film. What’s the deal?
- Clean: lightly processed to appear natural
- Matte: a low-contrast look with muted pastel colors, similar to vintage film
- High Contrast: a vibrant look with rich colors that pop
It doesn’t matter which style you go with, as long as you love it!
5. Why is wedding photography so freakin’ expensive?
Add insurance, taxes, software, advertising, albums, repair, shipping, and studio expenses, and many photographers end up making less than minimum wage for the first few years of their career.
6. I keep hearing about “shoot and burn” photography. Sounds painful. What is it?
Actually, yeah, it can be kind of painful. “Shoot and burn” is slang for photographing a wedding and burning it straight to CD without post-processing. It’s usually super cheap — for a reason. Bad lighting isn’t corrected, distracting elements aren’t removed (hello, Speedo-clad photobomber!), and zits remain proudly on display.
Digital files may be important to you, but find a full-service photographer who will edit the images and print reference proofs before handing over the digis.
8. How far in advance should I book a wedding photographer?
If your favorite photographer is unavailable on your date, don’t panic. Ask them for recommendations — they may know someone with a similar style and a lighter schedule.