Part of our This Is What Makes a Brilliant Wedding series
At the first meeting with a couple at the studio – I usually say, “Do you have any questions you’d like to ask me?”, and this is usually answered with an honest answer of, “We have no idea what we should be asking!”, which is fair enough!
So here are ten questions you should be asking a photographer you’re about to put your trust in to work on the biggest day of your life!
1. How many weddings have you photographed?
The actual number isn’t that important, but think about how much you’re planning on spending. If you spend £300 on your photography and they’ve only shot 5, 10, 30 weddings – then that might be OK with you.
However, if you’re trying to get that amazing idea of a wedding out of your heads and in to reality, then experienced suppliers matter. What if it rains? What if a vital guest goes missing during group photos? Or the person taking the ceremony stands right in front of you for your first kiss?
All these things have happened to us, on many occasions – and guess what? It’s not a big deal any more. It takes quite a lot to catch us off guard at a wedding.
2. How many cameras/lenses/memory cards do you bring to the wedding?
This kind of question should pop up a few times in your interrogation of your photographer. Whatever they need to shoot your wedding, they should have at least two of.
Full stop. End of discussion.
And don’t let them off the hook that easily either – if they shoot on an all singing, all dancing amazing camera, and their backup is a budget 10 year old model – that’s not exactly reassuring.
Ask them if they’d be happy shooting entirely on their backup gear ;)
3. How many different locations will my photos be backed up in, and are you fully insured?
Snoooorree, I get it, backup & insurance isn’t exactly the most riveting conversation you can have with the person who’s photos look so amazing on Instapin, does it really matter?
Only the most important part of their service.
Imagine seeing that preview of the photo they took on the back of camera – and instantly knowing you made the right choice!
But… Then they were burgled/had a fire/had a flukey laptop failure. You know the rest of the story.
4. Does your second shooter work with you at every wedding, or do you have a few people who it could be?
Second shooters can either just hang about taking photos in the background, or they can be a valuable addition to your day, helping advise people on the running of the day, keeping track of group photos, assisting with lighting in the evening.
Point is, you want your photographers to be concentrating on you – not getting in each other’s way, or ending up shooting the same photo by accident.
5. How bossy/in your face are you on the day?
I guess this is down to personal preference but here’s what we believe. We stay as much in the background as possible. We don’t pose, we don’t recreate, and we don’t heckle your guests for smiles.
However we are as efficient as can be with group photos – because we need to be. Everyone has been to that wedding where the photographer was herding cats and took hours to get the job done.
We make a list of photos with you weeks in advance, we plow through that list with one of us shooting and one rounding up the next group with the help of the ushers.
Worst case 30 minutes. Then we’re back to ninja’ing around in the background.
6. Can we have digital copies with full printing rights?
We love albums – they’re timeless, to the point, and an all round perfect way to show off your photos. Doesn’t mean we force you to have one, and we will encourage you to consider digital copies either instead of or as well as.
They’re your photos, why shouldn’t you be able to FaceTweet them, or make a print for a birthday or Christmas present? (The Christmas after your wedding is so easy to sort presents for)
7. Is Photoshop included?
I’m not talking full fashion magazine airbrush style, but if you get a beautiful portrait of you guys, however one of your relatives is stuffing their face with a cupcake in the background, it would be a shame to not be able to use that photo.
Our Photoshop game is pretty A+ at the most ridiculous stuff you would never imagine being asked to do, but for the record, most couples would probably leave the embarrassing relative in!
8. Is an engagement shoot included?
True, on most couples you can see the visible cringe when you mention it’s included. We seem to book only clients who aren’t massively keen on having their photo taken.
This is the exact point of the shoot. Get that awkward first 10 minutes out of the way on some random day a few months before your wedding.
You’ll quickly realise it’s nowhere near as bad as you thought, and will be thankful you didn’t waste the first bit of your wedding day fearing our cameras.
9. Do we meet up before to go through the timings and group photos?
You like the photo style, but a photographer isn’t just taking photos. They’re involved with the running of the day, and although they’re not going to be barking instructions at you as to what you should be doing at what point, do you really want them asking you questions on the day?
If your photographer isn’t bothered about asking questions up front then are they going to be a pain on the day?
10. What if it’s windy/rains/blinding sunshine/cold/snows on the day?
These are in order of disruption to photos. Wind is the devil. Photoshopping winded hair is the devil.
Everything else is not as big a deal – so long as your photographer is prepared and knows their stuff.
Snow alters exposure, rain is completely different to edit (we also carry umbrellas just in case), and blinding sunshine is the most unflattering light if you don’t know how to use it.
Each requires different technical knowledge and experience, especially cold weather – that requires them to know how to use all of their equipment as fast as possible so you don’t all freeze.
Bonus Questions? I got carried away
11. What if you’re ill and can’t attend on the day?
Big one this. Doesn’t matter how skillful or prepared your photographer is – they could fall seriously ill the morning of the wedding.
Being a wedding photographer is genuinely about being as morbidly forward thinking as possible. If they just hope for the best, that’s a pretty shoddy technique. So make sure they can answer this question to your satisfaction!
12. Are you scared of the dark?
“I’m getting married during winter / in a dark venue / in a tipi. I also want an evening portrait. Is that a problem?”
Photography is the art of capturing light, so yes the dark is an issue. Cameras struggle when it gets dark.
But all is not lost. If your photographer has a top of the range camera, and just as importantly fast lenses this becomes less of an issue. Likewise if your photographer can use flash well – as in you can’t really tell it has been used – then your photos won’t suffer more than they have to!
Things like fireworks/sparklers aren’t like any other part of a wedding and can be a real challenge. So I would always ask to see past work if you’re planning anything of that sort. If all the evening photos are grainy, or the flash work makes people look shiny and deer in headlight-y, then maybe rethink.
13. When do I choose products, and can I have a say in the album design?
Two questions in one here. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be tied into an album/prints/digital copies, before even a single photos is taken, so guess what, you choose after the wedding with our package.
Trust me, it’s hard enough to choose once you’ve seen the photos – let alone before!
And importantly if you do go for an album, make sure you have final say in what it looks like. We invite you in to our studio for your viewing, and this is for a reason. There are a lot of products to choose from, and we want to make sure whichever you choose is designed with your input in mind.
Even with our many years of experience, and taking a lot of past albums into consideration, we still wouldn’t want to print an album without you tweaking the design. What if we have a bitchin’ dance floor photo, but the main people in it are the +1’s of work friends who you barely know? We get to know most of your day guests, but we can’t be introduced to every person at your wedding.
Not an issue if you can just swap/crop that photo!
14. Do you pose photos in a way that makes me feel sick to the core?
Look through a load of wedding photos, and you won’t get far before you see something cringe-worthily posed.
Posing should bring out the best in you, not make you look uncomfortable. We have set of shots/poses that we like to aim for – but by no means do we do every one at every wedding.
When looking through the photographer’s photos, do the couples look like they just happened to be there. Because it shouldn’t look like they’ve been placed there by a photographer.
Every couple is different, so forcing them in to a pose that makes them uncomfortable is not going to give you a great photo.
All of our couples portraits are more guided than posed; think ‘Look at each other, walk a little bit closer together’ rather than ‘Put your hand 5cm higher, tilt your neck blah blah’.
I’d much rather have a couple looking amazingly happy and relaxed with each other and the pose 80% perfect, than spend an extra few minutes perfecting the pose and having two people looking at each other with all the romance of someone considering firing their photographer mid wedding day.
15. Are you discreet / respectful on the day?
This is down to your personal preference of course. But each photographer approaches weddings differently. Some are flamboyant and try to befriend every guest, and generally make a spectacle at every opportunity.
I personally believe that a photographer is there to document a wedding, not be the focus of it. We’re friendly on the day of course, and end up chatting with many guests, but we won’t run in to a room and shout ‘Everybody say cheese’. That’s not really documenting, haha!
The only part of your day we’ll be center of attention is the group photos as mentioned in an earlier question – because we need to be to make sure your day isn’t derailed.
16. Will your Photobooth take over our wedding?
Not every photographer has a Photobooth obviously, but those that do vary wildly. Here’s why we have always provided one, at every wedding we’ve ever shot.
How many people are going to be at your evening reception, 80, 150, 200? There’s no way we can guarantee to get a photo of each and every one. And on top of that, how many of them would walk up to the photographer and pull a ridiculous face straight in to camera? Annnd on top of that, how many would randomly bring a chalkboard to write a lovely message for the back of your album on and then hunt down the photographer?
The back page of Photobooth photos in all our albums keeps on telling the story we were working on all day. They are an essential piece of the story, and mean we can concentrate on documenting the atmosphere of your evening without having to get a photo of every person in attendance. There’s no way your guests would relax as much as they do in the booth, in front of a photographer!
With all that said, a huge, room dominating photobooth including a backdrop, with a loud photographer manning it is a really terrible way to do this.
Our Photobooth is the size of a small fridge freezer (honestly can’t think of a better size comparison at this moment), it stands in a corner by itself, and has a single studio light behind it. That’s it. Your guests wander up, write a message, press the button, and the flash goes off. The photo comes up on the screen, they laugh hysterically, and walk off.
We don’t want to interrupt the smooth running of your wedding, and we don’t want the booth to either. So that’s it, no prints on the night, no private party in the booth enclosure, just a fantastic moment of laughter and your guests are on their way again – although they’ll likely return next time they visit the bar.
My email address is Tom@Fossca.co.uk and I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about your wedding – try me. I’ve spent a long time perfecting this wedding package that I believe delivers a fantastic experience for you guys, so book a meeting at the studio and bring along your list of questions!
If you think we could be the photographers you’ve been looking for and would like to know more, visit our wedding page. Or tell us your wedding date using the button below!