Questions to Ask When Hiring a Photographer
It is helpful to understand the pricing structure, deliverables, and expectations for all vendors, but especially your photographer, as your photos are the one lasting takeaway you will have from your day. There is no standard pricing structure in this industry, and skills and experience of photographers run the gamut. The old addage "You get what you pay for" often comes into play in this industry; don't be one of those brides who doesn't see her album for a year (if ever)!
Before you speak with your photographer, you should look through his/her work and make sure you like the style.
Of course, pricing is important, but don't over look other critical elements.
Once you have narrowed your choice, use these questions to help you choose a photographer. Meet in person, if you can. Go with your gut! Don't underestimate the importance of "clicking" (pardon the pun) with whomever you hire- they will be with you all day, and during some intimate moments.
The Money Question: What does your price include?
Will you customize your package?
Does your price include the original digital files (jpgs)? If not, what is the fee for a disc?
Does your price include editing of the images? May I request editing and how much? Do you charge extra to convert images to black and white, for instance?
What are your print prices when my family and I want to order prints to frame?
What are your album prices?
Will your print/album prices change between now and a year after my wedding?
Does your price include a second shooter?
Do you charge extra if the event runs over time?
Do you charge a travel fee?
Do you require a deposit? What is your refund policy in the event of a date change or cancellation? What is your policy in the event that images do not turn out/equipment malfunction or etc.?
What are your deliverables and when may I expect them?
How many files can you expect to receive? And when? (Make sure this information is in your contract)
How many album choices do you offer? Are they customizable? When can I expect the album?
Experience questions. Whom am I hiring?
Will you be shooting my wedding personally? Will you have an assistant?
Will you be editing my images?
Do you have references with whom I might speak?
Will you arrive early to scope the venue?
What kind of equipment/ backup equipment will you have?
What is your experience shooting events of this kind in this setting (outdoor, indoor/dark, night time, woods, etc)
How many events do you shoot in a month/week/day? Will you be shooting another event the day of my wedding?
What is your style/philosophy?
Do you shoot traditional (posed), editorial (candid) or photojournalist (no posing)? Can you combine editorial with some poses?
How will you dress for the event?
Is it okay with you for other people to take pictures?
Make sure to see their work (and like it).
Communication style is very important. Are they reliable? Will they show up on time? Will they confirm with you prior to the date?
Do you LIKE him/her? This person will likely be with you in your dressing room, with your family, riding along with you in the car, sometimes. And should something go wrong, it is always easier to discuss difficult things with someone who's communiction style and personality is easy.
Don't be shy about asking for deliverables and dates in your contract, including print prices, if they are not already.