So you just got engaged - first of all, congrats! This is such an exciting time. Please remember to take some time for the two of you to celebrate and enjoy this new chapter. I know that wedding planning can be a huge undertaking, but enjoying each stage together is really important.
One of the biggest decisions to make is choosing a photographer to document your love. There are so many amazing photographers out there and I promise you will find someone who if perfect for you. I've gone ahead and created a list of MUST asks when talking to potential photographers.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to make sure both you and your partner feel comfortable. From an initial conversation it is pretty easy to tell if this is a person you'd get along with. Always ask the photographer to hop on a call or a zoom to get to know them. And if when you hang up you're like "wow I really loved talking with them and would so comfortable hanging with them all day" then that's a GREAT sign they may be the one. Here are a few other things to consider:
Ask the photographer to see a FULL gallery. Remember, all photographers and other business owners are posting their highlights to their social media profiles and websites. They are their favorite and best images - but don't be afraid to ask to see them all to see if it aligns with the style you're searching for. Bonus points if they have a gallery from the venue you are getting married at!
Ask if their final gallery includes watermarks. There's absolutely nothing wrong with having watermarks on photos, I feel like I have to preface with that. I even used to use them. But it's important to find out what your final gallery will look like/what is included in your package. Chances are you're going to want at least some, if not all, of your photos without watermarks so its important to find out if any digital files without watermarks are included or if you'll have to pay more for those.
Ask what their process is after the wedding, or for their editing timeline. Knowing things like this ahead of time eases any anxiety about seeing your photos afterwards. Many photographers have timelines they follow to deliver your galleries or sneak peeks after your wedding day. Ask for their expectations and you'll never be in the dark about where you stand. Don't want to wait forever? Choose a photographer who may have a sooner timeline. Either way, the expectations are set beforehand.
Ask them what is included in your package. If you have ANY questions regarding a package or a contract, don't be afraid to ask. Knowing your package and its contents beforehand is important.. will you have to pay extra for an engagement session, or a second photographer? Make sure everything is clearly outlined.
Ask them about their travel fees. Most, if not all, photographers charge a travel fee. Again, it should be clearly outlined beforehand so that there is no surprises later down the line.
Find out what their deposit is to hold a date. Deposits are often non-refundable, but are important to secure your date. It's the money that is due right away when signing the contract.
Ask them to walk you through a "typical" wedding day that they photograph. You can learn a lot by walking through this with them. Of course, each day varies but you can learn about their communication styles, shooting styles, and if they're willing to take the reigns if need be. Sometimes timelines run behind schedule and you need a photographer that will stay calm but also command the group to get things back on time.
I feel like these tips just scratch the surface. I cannot stress enough that you should meet with the photographer beforehand and feel absolutely comfortable asking them ANY of these questions (or questions you may have come up with on your own). Your day is all about you so you should feel in control and like you know exactly what you're getting into when you sign that contract.
I hope this helps take some of the burden off of this big decision! Any other questions? Feel free to aks.
Until next time, live creatively friends.