Twenty questions for your wedding photographer

Tips

Apr 20, 2020

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Before hiring your wedding photographer, ask these twenty important questions! (Bonus: I provided my answers!)

Tybee Island Wedding – Esther Griffin Photography

How would you describe your shooting style?

Documentary/Journalistic/Authentic. 

I started my career as a journalist, and I still shoot in that way, capturing a wedding day as it naturally unfolds. Even during the portraits part of the day, I capture the couple as they authentically are by giving them natural things to do that create interaction and evoke real emotion.

What about your editing style?

I capture in a unique way, so straight out of camera, my images have a signature look. I’m neither “light and air” nor “vibrant and moody,” but instead my style is somewhere in between. I shoot in a way that creates light- and color- infused images, and then I edit with a gentle touch. I’m often asked if I shoot film because my images have that classic look. I don’t do extensive Photoshop retouching, but I’m happy to provide a quote based on the number of images and the work to be done.

Do you deliver color and black-and-white images?

I do convert some images to black-and-white if I think the image is stronger in black-and-white. If you want an image in color or in black-and-white, I’m happy to convert. I will also provide a quote to convert a full gallery.

If we hire your company, who will shoot my wedding?

I will. Some brands have multiple photographers, but I shoot and edit every wedding I book. 

How many weddings have you shot?

Hundreds. And you can see from my 5-star reviews that I bring my very best to your best day ever. I love what I do, and it shows!

Do I need a second photographer?

Maybe. I shoot many of my weddings alone. Two things, however, will require a second photographer: first, if you want the FULL getting ready period of both the ladies and the men captured and second, if you want cocktail hour covered while I shoot post-ceremony family photos. If we do need a second, I work with a handful of skilled photographers. The cost is $100/hour with a minimum of five hours.

Do you charge for travel?

I shoot weddings in Savannah, Tybee Island, St. Simons Island, and Jekyll Island, Georgia; and in Charleston, Bluffton, and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. This is the area that I consider my home base. For weddings beyond, I charge for costs associated with travel and accommodations.

When, what and how do you deliver after the wedding?

I deliver a preview gallery of 50 images within 2 days of the wedding. The full gallery is delivered within 8 weeks of the wedding. I deliver a minimum of 75 edited images for each hour of wedding day coverage.

I deliver high-resolution digital images in an online gallery that you can share with friends and family.

Do you offer albums?

 Yes, I do. 

I offer a beautiful array of prints, including metal prints and matted framed prints and canvases. 

I also offer fine art albums (that are easy for you to design), gallery boards, hardcover books, and print sets in handcrafted wooden boxes with personalized engraving.  

No purchase is required, but I offer you special discounts. You can also download and print on your own.

What steps do you take to plan for the very best wedding day?

With input from my couples and their planners, I develop a photography timeline for your wedding day that maps out in detail what I’ll be photographing, when and where. I also carefully plan family photos so we’re ready to do those well. I create a list of groups, and I gather in advance the first name of each person in each group. I also gather the names of each member of your wedding party.

This helps me get to know the names of your close family members and friends, which helps me give them direction on the wedding day.

How do your business logistics work, including contracts and payment?

I have an online contract. It’s extensive. I believe in laying out every detail to make sure we’re all on the same page. 

I divide payment into five equal installments. The first is due at signing and is the non-refundable deposit. Your date is reserved when I receive the signed contract and deposit. The next four payments are due in the months leading up to the wedding. I send email reminders when payments are due.

I use online questionnaires to gather information from my clients. They’re quick and easy to complete.

Each client has an online portal, a single webpage where clients can access their contract, invoice (where they can see payments made and upcoming payments), and wedding day details including the photography timeline and list of family photos.

Do you have insurance?

Yes, I have insurance on my equipment and liability coverage on my business.

What is your refund/cancellation policy?

If the wedding is cancelled six months in advance, all payments made are refundable except the non-refundable deposit (20 percent of the total price) and payment for any services already performed, such as an engagement shoot.

What do you bring with you on the wedding day?

  1. Cameras, lenses and photography lighting equipment, including back-up equipment 
  2. A bridal emergency bag with a sewing kit, fabric tape, bobby pins, Band-aids, cold and headache medicine, crochet hooks (to button all those buttons on the back of wedding gowns), moleskin for heel blisters, earring backs, etc.
  3. Styling kit with pretty hangers, velvet ring boxes, silk ribbons, silver and brass trays. I use these items to photograph bridal jewelry, invitations, dresses, and shoes. 

What do you wear to the wedding?

I typically wear a black dress or black tunic with black pants. I, as well as other wedding vendors, typically wear black to blend in and go unnoticed as much as possible. 

How far in advance do we need to book?

Clients typically book a year or more in advance; however, I sometimes have availability in a shorter time frame, especially on Sundays, Fridays or other weekdays.

Where can I read reviews of your work?

You can read reviews here, here, here and here.

If we have ideas for photos, can we tell you?

Of course! Please always tell me if you have an idea, if you see your grandparents dancing and you want me to capture it, if you want a group photo of friends at the reception, etc.

I also use online questionnaires to gather information leading up to the wedding, including special things about your day that you don’t want me to miss.

My clients hire me because they trust me. I may want to shoot at a particular angle or spot because of how the sunlight is filtering in, but I ALWAYS want my clients to tell me what they’re seeing or thinking. We’re a team.

Can we share images on social media?

Of course! You have full rights to share images on your personal social media. And my contract asks your permission for me to share your images on my feeds.

Do you archive our images?

No, I don’t, but I make it easy for you to do so. Your online gallery will be live for one year. After that, you can choose to pay an annual subscription to keep it live. It’s a great way to keep the images safe and secure, always easy to access. And you’ll have access to the fine art products offered in my online store.

How do you feel about other people taking photos at my wedding?

Many people ask their guests to put away phones during the ceremony. That’s completely your choice.

If someone is keeping me from doing my job well and there’s no way for me to work around them, I’ll politely let them know. 

Do your packages include an engagement shoot?

Yes. I love doing engagement shoots. It helps us get to know each other. My couples often – no, always – tell me they’re awkward in front of the camera. Of course they are! Everyone is, but I give my couples things to do. I give direction that creates natural interaction and evokes authentic emotion.

The engagement shoot helps my couples see that creating beautiful images is fun and easy. 

  1. Zubida says:

    Nice article on how to hire a photographer asking some important questions that can help you to choose the right person. Because hiring a professional photographer is serious stuff. Depending on where we do business, a qualified, professional product photographer could cost thousands of dollars, that’s why choose the right person is important so that we can feel certain about our investment.

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