So you’ve decided to spend the rest of your life together, now what? Wedding planning can be a whirlwind of big decisions like picking the perfect date, a beautiful venue, the best photographer, a talented florist, a tasty cake, and a million other choices! At the end of the day though, you’ll have your spouse and your photos. That’s it! I fully believe that choosing the right photographer for your big day is one of the most important decisions you’ll make! Here are the top 10 questions you should ask every photographer during your search, as well as my responses so you can get an idea of the types of answers you should be looking for – or so you can see if I might be a great fit for you!
- What do your packages include?
Make sure to get the details on exactly what you’re paying for. Ask about any hidden fees such as charges for downloads, USBs, additional coverage, travel, etc. My packages start at $2200 for 6 hours of coverage and include a complimentary engagement session, unlimited pre-wedding consultations to discuss wedding timeline and specific shots requested, and digital download with printing rights of each professionally edited image. Please contact me for a full list of pricing and services!
- What is your photography style with regard to shooting and editing?
Every photographer has a different way they shoot as well as edit. When it comes to capturing your big day, I’m all about being intentional with my photos – making sure to capture each detail and moment in an authentic but creative way. I prefer to capture genuine moments between people, so I typically have my long-range zoom lens on my camera and ask the couple or the bridal party to chat about something fun or take a slow walk to invoke natural expressions. Rarely do I ask my couples to “say cheese” unless we are taking formal family portraits after the ceremony! I edit my photos to be true to the atmosphere that day. I carefully edit each photo to make sure the colors stay consistent with what they looked like the day of the wedding. I want my couples to look back at their photos in 20 years and remember EXACTLY what their wedding day looked like, down to every last detail! I do tend to tone down the “neon greens” that Michigan tends to output during the Spring and Summer months, but not in an unnatural way.
- How do you deliver photos? How many photos will I receive?
These days most people are looking for digital downloads, but others prefer a hard-copy like a USB or a CD. Be sure to ask a potential photographer how they deliver their images to you so you know what to expect. All of my images are delivered via digital download. Personally, I average between 50-100 images per hour of coverage.
- Can I see a full wedding gallery?
When looking at websites and social media, of course professionals are going to put their best work out there. Those are great, however you want to make sure to hire a photographer who can shoot in all types of locations, weather, and lighting conditions. Especially ask to see photos that include a night-time reception if your wedding will have a reception after sundown, or in a location that does not have windows. After initially meeting or speaking with a couple, I always send them a link to my most recent wedding gallery that includes an after-dark reception so they can see a full gallery. I also include photos from the reception in all of my blogs so that future couples can see examples of my lighting diversity there as well.
- What is the turn-around time for edited images?
Turn-around time varies for every photographer, usually based on their workflow, editing style, and whether or not photography is their primary career or not. My turn-around time for weddings is between 4-8 weeks. I always provide a sneak peek on social media within 24 hours, as well as additional sneak peeks as I am editing!
- What do past brides have to say about their experience with you?
Always. Check. Reviews. This is for any vendor you choose, not just a photographer! You can see testimonials from my past couples (and other clients) on my Facebook business page, my website, and wedding specific reviews on my WeddingWire site.
- Do you have insurance and a business license?
This is an important question to ask for a few reasons: most importantly because many wedding venues require that the vendors you choose carry their own liability insurance. It also gives many couples peace of mind to know that the photographer (and other vendors) are licensed and are paying their taxes accordingly. Life on Purpose Photography LLC is insured up to 1 million dollars through State Farm and is also licensed with the State of Michigan.
- Will I have the copyright of my images?
All my clients receive a print release/printing rights to their images. A professional photographer should never sign over the copyright for their images. I wrote a great blog last year to help clarify the difference between the two, but here is a quick summary:
With a print release…YOU CAN:
~ Post on social media
~ Print unlimited amounts in any form
~ Share with family and friends so they can do the above as well
~ Edit the images in any way (no cropping and NO Instagram filters, etc.)
~ Claim the work as your own
~ Use them for commercial gain
- What is your backup/storage system like?
The last thing you want is to be one of those horror stories you read about online where the couple didn’t receive their photos because the photographer’s computer crashed or something!
Here’s my process for backing up and editing photos to make sure nothing happens before the images are delivered to my clients:
1. All photos are recorded simultaneously to 2 separate memory cards on the day of the wedding/session.
2. RAW files are uploaded to my computer within 24 hours of the wedding/session. Cards are NOT wiped clean until after final edited images are delivered to the client (in case of a computer malfunction).
3. After image delivery to client, edited images are transferred to an external hard-drive for storage for up to 1 year, as well as stored in the cloud indefinitely.
- How much of a deposit do you require? When is the balance due? What are my payment options?
It’s important to know up front what the payment process will look like and if there are any extra fees involved. Photographers generally require anywhere from 25-50% down in order to reserve a wedding date. In order to book your wedding date, I require a 25% non-refundable retainer and a signed contract. If a couple decides to add more hours onto their package at a later date, I always honor the price rate at the time of contract signing. The balance is due 30 days before the wedding date. All of my invoicing and payments are done securely online through Quickbooks which allows for a checking account transfer, or debit/credit card payments. Couples can make small payments periodically, or pay off their entire balance all at once, it’s up to them!
- What do your packages include?