So, I have been meaning to write this freaking post forever. I have met with so many other photographers and talked about this very topic about a million times. Every time they see me they politely yell at me to write this post.
So what I, and what I assume many other photographers, really want to talk to you about is all the wrong questions you are asking us and tell you the questions that really matter. We want you asking questions. We want you making informed decisions. This is YOUR wedding day! You should have the the right team working with you.
We know that once you get engaged one of the most exciting parts is planning. A lot of you get those awesome planning organizers. Listen, I had one. They are great tools but the "What questions to ask your photographer" section can really do you an injustice. For example
"What is your style?"
Now this question can be great if you know what you are asking. Do you know all the styles of photography? Do you know what you want or like? If you don't, then asking me isn't really going to help. When looking at photography try to realize what it is you like.
Right now the trending categories are
Documentary/Photo Journalistic : This style can be more of a hands-off approach by the photographer who will shoot the moments of your wedding day as they happen. A photographer's goal in this type of photography is to go un-noticed and let your day unfold. There will be very little in the way of posing or organizing of individuals and groups.
I find myself more in this category.
Fine Art : This style of photography is led by the individualism and personal creativity of the photographer. Therefore, it will have the ability to produce a unique set of images of your day. Depending on the photographer – there may be a great deal of intervention - or there may be none.
Jenn and Derr, owners of Flora + Fauna are hands down some of my most FAVORITE photographers. Their work is jaw dropping and a great example of fine art. Take a looksie!
Traditional/Classic : This style of photography has a very formal approach. The images are usually highly posed, simple, classic, and timeless wedding photos. The photographer will essentially tell you exactly what to do and when to do it.
Amanda and Landon of The Veil Wedding Photography have a beautiful approach to classic wedding photography. It's so pretty.
These are the top three main styles of photography in the wedding industry. Many photographers may even be a mix of styles. It's important you always look over your photographer's website from top to bottom. Get acquainted with their work. All photography styles can be beautiful. You have to decide what calls to you.
A lot of us are kind of a mix of styles, I know I am, and many of us are paving a new path in this industry. We are happy to explain and tell you all about it, we just want you to understand what we are saying.
"Can we see an album of a full wedding?"
Lord, this question is outdated. EVERY photographer has a blog, LOOK AT IT. We don't take hours out of our lives to post weddings to our blog for you not to see them. This is our way of showing you a full wedding. Please do us a favor and take the initiative to look. I will be 100% honest with you. When I get questions that are easily already answered on my blog it frustrates and hurts me. My goal is to be very vulnerable on my website so that by the time you contact me you are pretty confident you want to book with me. I could bet many others are the same. When you don't look it tells us you may just be bargain shopping and not really interested in our talent.
I am here to tell you we put our best of best in our portfolio. Duh. We know that is the first place you will look. But any real photographer who is confident in their work and ability will post blogs from various weddings. We want you to look over our work and be sure you like what a full day looks like. We don't want you surprised on your wedding day.
Also if the photographer you are interested in doesn't have a blog this could be a red flag. Maybe they are in the process of building it or overhauling it - I TOTALLY get that. If that is the case they will certainly have online galleries of weddings they can show you. If they don't you should ask WHY.
"What type of equipment do you use?"
Some of you may know the difference between my Mark III and a the 7D Mark II but for the most part you don't. It isn't always about the equipment it's all about how you use it. TRUST ME. Just being honest. If you know you want to print anything bigger than 16x20 then you should be asking about mega pixels.
What I want you to be asking is
DO YOU HAVE BACK UP EQUIPMENT?
This is probably one of the most important questions you can ask. Your photographer should have at least 2 camera bodies. What if one breaks? That is kind of what modern technology likes to do at the worst time. What if an overly excited drunk dancing man knocks one out of my hand and it crashes to the floor? (true story) This is your wedding day, there are no take backs. If their camera breaks and there is no back up then what?
This may piss a few photogs off. If you can't afford two yet then rent one. It's just careless and dangerous to show up with one camera. The same goes for flashes (if you use off camera lighting be sure to have extra bulbs), and lenses (at least 2 AT LEAST).
"Do you like to use natural light or flash?"
This question isn't in any of the books I looked at while preparing for this post, it should be. It is often I will get inquires for weddings that are completely indoors with no available light. I have in no way shape or form posted any photos on my site that do not have natural light in them. I will, on occasion, pop a flash out for the reception and dance photos, but as a whole I am a natural light photographer.
It is important that you know what type of lighting you like in photos and evaluate your day. If you have pinned and fallen in love with all these photos of outdoor weddings or receptions be sure your wedding follows suit. Once you know what you want be sure your photographer is in line with it. Again you don't want any surprises on your wedding day!
"Can I have a discount? Why is it so expensive?"
Here we go. You may not like me after this. Good, high quality wedding photography is not going to be cheap. It just won't be. If you are thinking less than 3,00o for the engagement shoot, digital files and 8 hours you will be kidding yourself. Weddings are a luxury expense. If you can't afford it you probably shouldn't be buying it. I could go on about what it cost to run a business but it isn't necessary. I do get it to a degree, I do. I never pay full price for my car.
However, our smart phones are nearly $1000. MANY of us have the one you know I am talking about. It's all about your priority. When you attempt to buy your phone do you ask for 1/3 off ? You will only have that phone max 4 years. My photos will be around for generations.
There is also something I really want to express here. In Jacksonville, for the most part, we are a community of photographers. We all get dinners together, text daily, even shoot together. We know what the others are charging. Many of my closest friends are photographers and we actually all try to stay in the same price range so we know you aren't hiring us based on price but based on our work and personalities - we believe in community, not competition.
*side note it will be shared in our community groups on FB if you are rude or trying to pin us against each other for better pricing*
I am going to end on that note for now. I will post part 2 soon!
Thanks Flora + Fauna and The Wedding Veil Photography for allowing me to share your photos!