I want couples to ask me every single question they have about wedding photography, how the process will go, how I approach working at weddings, how I deal with surly uncles, and where I recommend they go for breakfast with their guests. All your wedding photography questions should be answered!
And I also know that, since you probably haven’t planned a wedding before, you might find lists of wedding photography questions to ask online. I will totally answer those, too!
However, I think a lot of the “must ask questions for your wedding photographer” don’t really get to the heart of what you want to know. Here are a few questions I wish you would ask me (and the questions I often get asked instead!)
Ask me: How do you choose equipment? Do I have backup equipment and insurance?
Not: What cameras do you shoot with?
Maybe you are a photographer and legit want to geek out about cameras (cool, I can do that all day long!), but if you are not into cameras and gear, then what you actually need to know is how seriously am I taking the equipment part of photographing your day. Knowing that I have backup and redundant equipment will tell you a lot about how I approach my gear and being able to document your wedding even in case of equipment malfunction. Knowing that I have insurance for that equipment lets you know that I’m taking my business seriously, and that a catastrophic issue the month before your wedding won’t affect my ability to cover your wedding with the same quality of equipment. I choose cameras and lenses and flashes and accessories based on what will give me the best ability to document weddings. I introduce new pieces all the time – because I want to keep evolving and bringing in new techniques that work.
Ask me: Have you shot at venues similar to ours? Can we see examples?
Not: Have you shot at our venue?
How I approach different venues depends a lot more on the people celebrating and what they’ve planned than the spaces in the specific venue. Don’t get me wrong – spaces matter. How a photographer makes use of dark space, or harsh lighting, or high ceilings or cramped rooms – those all matter to what your photography will look like. But there are also literally thousands of venues in MN and I will never shoot at all of them. I have shot at hundreds, though, so I can definitely share some full weddings with a similar vibe, similar spaces, and similar time of year so that you can see what wedding coverage looks like.
Ask me: How do you approach wedding photography?
Not: What is your style?
Style isn’t something objective – documentary, photojournalistic, natural, classic, candid, editorial, creative, fun – those are all words that could be used to describe my work, and they don’t really tell you what is different about working with me as a photographer or what the final images will look like compared to other photographers.
But how I approach wedding photography will tell you a lot about what the experience of working with me will be like. It will also give you a better sense of what photos of your wedding might look like.
I approach weddings in a very people-first way. I love spaces, I love cool lighting and backgrounds, but I want every image to reflect the couple that planned that day. That means that some weddings have a quiet and documentary approach, and some have a vibrant and editorial feel, because every couple is different. I also love to incorporate the space into the images – making sure the lighting feels natural to the space you are in, that we find great features to showcase, and that your images bring the feel of your wedding with them.
Ask me: How do we determine the right amount of time we need for photography?
Not: How many hours is a typical wedding?
There are no typical weddings, there is only your wedding and what you need. I’ve shot weddings from 2 hours to multiple days of coverage. The best way to determine your wedding needs is to talk it through. We can discuss when you want to have formal photography, what major events you are planning on, and what you want from your final photography.
Ask me: How can I use the images from our wedding?
Not: Do I get copyright to the images?
Generally what couples want to know is how they can use their wedding images going forward. I give rights to use images for any personal uses. That means that you can keep your own backups, make your own prints, email them to friend and family, and use them on social media. I also keep copyright, which allows me to make prints of your album and keep backups of them in the cloud.
Ask me: Can you work with our budget to craft our wedding photography?
Not: Can we get a discount?
It amazes me how much advice there is about choosing a wedding photographer that doesn’t include talking about pricing. I get it – pricing is going to be a major factor in choosing a photographer. I don’t want pricing to be a game or confusing – I often work with couples to tailor coverage to their budget needs. It helps us both if I know what budget you are working with!
Also, I wrote a long article called What is a reasonable price for wedding photography? That might be helpful as you set your budget priorities.
Ask me: How do you scout out locations ahead of time?
Not: Can you tour my venue?
You have probably spent dozens of hours scouting through venues and touring spaces before deciding on the space for your wedding. It only makes sense that you want me to be familiar with the space as well. I’ve rarely found it necessary to tour a venue ahead of time, mostly because the conditions change to quickly on the day of a wedding. The weather, the placement of the serving stations, the last minute mixups with where the staff will put cocktail tables, or even storm damage, all mean that the spaces available on a wedding day might be slightly different than on an ideal tour. So I generally plan to arrive early to venues to walk around the spaces on the day of your wedding in the real conditions.
That said, if you definitely want me to tour your venue, then lets set up a time to do it together and come up with a few plans for photography!