During my consults I often see brides come with a either a printed list or a list in their head of questions they should ask a wedding photographer. I understand where they are coming from: booking the right photographer can be one of the most stressful decisions to make about your wedding day. The pictures you receive will be one of the only tangible things left of your wedding after the cake is cut and the dances are done.
The stress of picking the right wedding photographer leads to planning-overload. You’re not sure what you should be looking for, you really want to make sure you’re picking the right one, and there are so many photographers to chose from. How do you find the right one?
The most common way is to search on Google or Pinterest for “Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer.” A million results come up. You pick one that has a lot of questions, print it out or save it, memorize some of them, and try to remember to ask them.
Then the consultation happens, you ask the questions, you get a bunch of rehearsed answers, but you’re no closer to making a decision. What happened?
The truth is you’re asking the wrong questions. The whole wedding industry is wrought with ways of taking advantage of a bride’s anxiety. The more anxious you are, the more time you spent reading magazines, visiting websites, buying guides, going to bridal shows…driving yourself crazy.
Top 3 Questions To Ask Yourself About A Wedding Photographer
Change gears. Instead of asking your photographer 30 questions, meet with them, see how they make you feel, and ask yourself these 3 questions instead. The decision you’re making has less to do with what the photographer will wear on your wedding day (an actual question from an actual list..) and much more with how they make you feel, how well you connect with their images, how much trust you’re willing to put in them.
Do I love their photos? It seems obvious, but I’ve met brides who didn’t love my photos. They didn’t seem to even think photography was that important. If photography is not important to you, then ask a friend to shoot the wedding for a few hundred dollars.
But if it is important to you, then the most important question you have to ask yourself is if you love their photos. Do you connect with their images? Don’t worry about the style or technique, whether they used natural light or flash. None of that matters to you — that’s all stuff photographer’s argue about when they’ve had a few drinks on a Friday night — all that matters is if the images they produce speaks to you.
Will I be able to stand them for 10 hours? Will I be okay knowing this person for a full year? No other vendor is going to spend as much time with you as we are. We meet a year before the wedding, we do an engagement session, we meet to look at the photos, we’ll talk about your entire wedding day from start to finish, we’ll be there when you’re getting your hair done and we’ll leave when night is mostly done. We’ll meet again when the photos are done again. We’ll pick photos for your album together. We’ll meet again to give your album when it’s printed.
That’s a lot of time to spend with another person, and believe it or not, photographers are people too!
Will you be able to tolerate interacting with them after all that? Do they seem like the kind of person that’s going to be helpful, kind, compassionate when you need it on your wedding day? Do you find them irritating already? Are they pompous and loud, or incredibly shy and nervous? Or are they confident and fun, but modest? What do you think of their personality?
Am I the right fit for them? Every photographer has ‘their bride.’ Ask them to describe their ideal bride. You’ll learn a lot about whether or not you are the kind of person they want to work with. That doesn’t mean that photographer’s only work with their ideal clients — that’s a dream that none of us can afford! But making them answer that question will help you put your relationship with them in perspective. If their ideal bride sounds like the opposite of who you are then maybe you won’t be a priority to them.
A good photographer knows when they are not compatible with a bride and won’t book a wedding, even if it means losing out on the gig. But some photographers will book anyone and anything with a wallet. You don’t want to them to be your photographer, because they won’t treat you with the same level of respect that their other clients will receive.
With that said, I will go through the difficult task of identifying my ideal bride.My ideal bride is a woman who values and understands the importance of photography.
I don’t care how old you are, how much money you make, how many times you’ve been married, what car you drive, what brands you admire, what phone you use, where you’re from, whether you’re urban or rural, whether you like rustic, vintage, classic, or modern. The one thing I always look for in a potential client is whether they love and value photography as much as I do.
f they understand the importance of something tangible to look back on, something more than a file you upload to Facebook, or a USB you lose in a drawer during a move, if they understand that an album is something they’ll run into a burning house to save but that a DVD isn’t, if they want something for their kids to be able to look back on, if they want something for them to look toward after a drunken fight over who should empty the dishwasher (these things happen..), then they’re my bride.