During my time as a photographer, I’ve had many brides contact me with what seems like questionnaires printed on the web on “What to ask your wedding photographer”. Although, I’ve never been hesitant to answer any questions, the only problem when I sat back and thought about it, is they seem to be written by editors and not actual professional photographers so for that reason, I decide to create this post to help educate brides to dig deeper than what you see for face and price value.
So let’s get started…
1) What’s your photography style?
This is important to know because it helps with consistency and being confident in knowing what your end result will be. This applies to lighting, editing, and the overall emotion their portfolio evokes.
I would consider myself a Traditional Classic Wedding Photographer. My key emphasis are always my couples and the genuine love and overall emotion that surrounds them. I work very diligently to make sure my background, their body alignment and even their attire is picture perfect before I take every single shot. For the most part, the couple, bridal party and family portraits are photographed in that style. Getting ready, ceremony and reception are shot with a photojournalistic approach; meaning I fade into the background and become “invisible” to the crowd in order to get these candid or unposed photographs.
2) Why are you worth the amount you charge?
This question, well I can’t really elaborate. Your gut feeling will tell you what you need to know and how genuine they truly are with there response.
For me, I love creating personal relationships with my clients. It’s extremely important for a wedding photographer and a client to be comfortable with each other as individuals to help the big day transition smoothly and comfortably. The more my clients are relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera, the more raw and genuine emotion I’m able to capture behind the lens and that is something that is extremely important to me.
I’m passionate about my work and the images I take. Every single image I produce has to be absolutely FLAWLESS so I’m basically a perfectionist, to an extent..lol. I pay attention to detail; from how relaxed the pose looks, to your hair and makeup and this all falls into the traditional portrait photographer, I mentioned above. I believe the tiniest of details can either make or break a great photo that is why it’s extremely important that I make sure my clients are picture perfect for every photo.
I’m somewhat of a take charge type of photographer so you won’t have to worry about posing or anything of that nature. For every wedding, I come prepared with enough experience and knowledge to already envision our next scene before it has begun. The work is not done when the music stops and makeup is off. I take great pride in the images I produce so for that reason, I do all of my own editing. Yes, that’s right. You’d be surprise to know many photographers actually outsource their editing.
3) Are you insured?
Yes, I am! If your venue needs proof of insurance, please allow me a few hours to get that sent over to you.
4) Can I see a full wedding from start to finish?
Of course you may! I pride myself on the consistency of my work. I understand all photographers post their best shots from each wedding on their websites so it’s hard to determine how well he or she will perform on the wedding day. That is why I encourage all potential clients to view full events from all photographers they meet to see how well the photographer performs throughout the day.
I do post the highlights from each wedding in my portfolio to give you an idea of consistency however, I included also included two links, too two of my weddings from start to finish.
5) Can you photograph in different light settings such as candlelight, sunset, very sunny, night time, inclement weather?
This is a very important question, because it will really determine how flexible the photographer is while shooting your wedding. In the great state of Texas we all know how unpredictable the weather is so ideally, you want a photographer that can shoot both natural and with artificial light, in case it rains.
There are three important factors to capturing great images: having the eye, knowing your camera and being able to understand and manipulate light. Lucky for you, I’m an expert at all of them! First of all, I come prepared with PLENTY of lighting. I can always add light. So, night time photos, sunset photos and candlelight ambiance are never a problem. However, removing light is not possible. So, what do you do when it’s too bright? You have to know how to use that light to it’s fullest potential. I avoid bright sun. Shaded areas are best but if we have to be in the bright sun, it’s all about the positioning. As for inclement weather, unless it’s seriously raining out, nothing can stop me! But, heavy rain could ruin my equipment and then I’m definitely out of business!
6) Will I get “HIGH” resolution photos?
A lot of photographers say they will give you the digital files, but that can be deceiving as some photographers only give a 8×10 resolution. So if you ever want to print an 11×14 print, you have to spend hundreds of dollars with the photographer for the rest of your life. That way prints and frames can ONLY be ordered by that photographer and no where else.
All of my packages and (or) portrait sessions include the high resolution edited files which can be printed up to a 30×40 or higher and they are also not watermarked as well.
7) How many images do you typically deliver from an engagement session? From a wedding?
I typically deliver anywhere from 25-30 files for the portrait sessions. Excluding the mini session that will only include 10-15 files. For weddings, I typically deliver 60-80 images per hour. However, please note I don’t put a cap on the number of images produced for each wedding. These numbers may increase or decrease depending on the flow of your day and the number of details and formalities needing to be captured. Please feel at ease knowing from the moment I arrive, to my end time, I’m literally shooting non-stop. There’s always something to capture, whether it be the couple, family or guest.
8) Do you deliver every image you shoot?
I do not, I eliminate duplicate images, test shots, missed focused shots, shots with bad expressions and other images that doesn’t meet my high quality standard. For example, because I shoot with low apertures, sometimes I take a few extra shots to make sure I have the perfect focus. I don’t expect you to have the expertise or the time to zoom into each image to select the one with the sharpest focus, so I spend hours doing that on my end. In another example, candid laughs and emotional tears are some of the best images from the day. Unfortunately, they can also yield some unflattering facial expressions. I might snap a few extras of any of these moments to make sure I have a great shot with the ideal expression for the moment. With my expertise of processing thousands of images each year, you can guarantee you will receive the very best quality work of images.
9) How do you make us feel relaxed in front of the camera?
This is a very important question to ask. Truthfully it’s hard to even answer my own question! All I can say is I absolutely love what I do and I genuinely care about the wonderful people I meet, the places I go, and everything else in between. Read a quote a while back and couldn’t be more true for me. “If the photographer cares more about the people than the lens, and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the vital instrument.” –Eve Arnold
One way I do this, is by giving a complimentary engagement session with my collections so that we work together before the wedding day and then trust is built.
10) Will you help me with my timeline for the wedding day?
A good photographer should help plan the photo aspect of the day to make sure everything flows smoothly. The last thing you want to do is to be rushed on your wedding day, which is why I suggest to ALL of my couples to do a first look. A seasoned photographer should also point out various things that can come up that you wouldn’t think about. Such as the fact that a receiving line can take up to 30-40 minutes, and before you go into your limo, they do a champagne toast, which can take another 10 minutes. These are all things to think about while planning the timeline for your wedding day. A great photographer should also know when the best light is, and schedule your photos during “golden hour lighting”, even if it’s just for 10 minutes or so after the cocktail hour.
11) Can I give you a list of specific shots/poses we want?
Of course! It is so important that we collaborate on this. This is YOUR day and I want to give you exactly what you want but also keep in mind when looking at these images for inspiration, not all couples are the same. If it’s becoming a challenge, meaning the pose doesn’t look genuine then I might offer an alternative to it so it will look more flattering.
12) How long will it take before I see my images?
Engagements and bridal portraits turn around is about two weeks. Once the files are edited, they will be uploaded to your online gallery. I will text you once it’s been sent and from the gallery you can download your files to your computers.
For weddings, due to the amount of photos to cull and post process, turn around time is 8 weeks from your wedding date. I will however, send you a sneak peak within a week after your wedding. Once the wedding files are completed, they will be added to your online gallery. The gallery is for you to just view your photos. If you have any questions, let me know. If not, once I get your approval, I will mail you the custom USB drive with all the edited files you see on the gallery. You’ll also be able to share the online link with family and friends as well.
13) Once I receive my images, what if there’s something about certain ones I do not like or want/need fixed?
I allow one revision of images per your request. This revision does not apply to the overall style/editing technique. If I missed removing a blemish from your face, a misplaced hair or something along those lines, at your initial request.
14) What happens if you get sick on my day?
I have photographed over 200 weddings and have never missed one yet, knock on wood! Unless, I become injured, like near death or cannot perform the wedding due to fire, casualty, nature, terror, or other cause beyond the control my control, then my plan would be to include my second photographer being the first photographer and then I have a network of other photographers who I can reach out to as well.
15) What will you do if something happens to my wedding photos?
We all have this fear. It’s a scary one! The truth is, it really could happen to anyone. I shoot with 2 memory cards in my camera so I have some redundancy already for the day of your wedding. As soon as I get home I do three things:
1.) I take the memory cards from the wedding and upload all the files into the cloud.
2.) Then I also save them to my backup hard drive
3.) and then I save them on my computer
4.) I have about 20 memory cards and your images do NOT get removed from that card until they are 100% completed and delivered to you. So, that’s four copies!
16) Do you backup our files for storage and safekeeping?
All my clients digital assets are backed up to not only one, but two external hard drives, plus my server! Instead of asking the photographer how many megapixels their camera has, ask them if they have backup equipment as well. It’s really important on the day of the wedding for the main photographer to have at least two camera bodies on them just in case. Also ask them if they have a dual card slot. Shooting on two cards is really important! Anything can happen to a card, it can go corrupt, you can lose it, or a card reader can even eat your card. That’s why the highest end cameras have dual card slots that record the images on both cards, just in case.
17) I’ve got a friend/family member/friend of a friend/my aunt who said they’d shoot my wedding for me. Gotta save some money where I can, right?
Hearing this breaks my heart a little bit. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve meet that wished they invested a little more importance on their wedding photos because they had a ‘friend’ do it. This is one of the biggest days of your entire life. You spend months planning, finding the perfect dress, details, colors, flowers, venue, invites, cakes, etc and trust me, you aren’t going to remember the day. Time flies by and years from now it will be a total blur. Why go through all the trouble if you’re not going to have compelling images to remember it by?
18) What if we need to move our wedding date, or even worse, cancel it, after we’ve signed a contract with you?
My contract does state my policies for handling situations like these. If you’re having to reschedule your wedding because of COVID-19. I would advise you to get in touch with your venue first. It’s really up to them to decide. I’m willing to shoot on my end so that won’t be an issue. For my already scheduled weddings that dealt with COVID at it’s gestation, I advise them to get with the venue before anything is set in stone with photography. Unfortunately, they all had to reschedule. The venues gave clients multiple date options to reschedule. From there, clients crosses referenced the venues available dates with me and that’s how we proceeded to rescheduled those weddings to later this year. In an instance where I wouldn’t have been available, under these unforeseen circumstance, I would have refunded my clients their $250 retainer fee.
However, if you cancel your wedding all-together, unfortunately your retainer fee is non-refundable.
19) Who has the rights to the images?
Lily Hayes Photography, retains the copyright to all the images, per USC Title 17 (US Copyright Law). So just a little insight as to what that means, as the photographer, I retain the right to show off your gorgeous images to my other potential clients so that can see my beautiful work. You have solely, purchased reproduction rights, not the actual design. With your full print release (usage rights), you have the right to print and share the images being provided to you by, Lily Hayes Photography.
20) What would you like for dinner?
Yes! I included this one because I think it’s important to show that you care about your photographer. Let’s be honest, your photographer is there longer than anyone else on your wedding day! A florist comes for part of the day, the band or DJ is only there for 4-5 hours, but a photographer arrives way before you get your dress on. I have photographed 10 hour weddings where I never got fed and yes, it makes it harder for the photographer. Of course, I now bring snacks, but it’s still nice to offer! ♥