Wedding magazine recently uploaded an article with the 20 key questions you should ask your wedding photographer. We've taken the time to answer thee questions so you know you're making the right choice hiring us!
1. What style of work do they specialise in?
From traditional to contemporary, formal to spontaneous, each photographer will have their own unique approach and will be most comfortable using this style. Whatever you do, make sure you like their portfolio!
At Adam Drake, our core focus has always been capturing the joy, fun, love, glamour, detail and often the drama of the wedding day, creating a very personal and beautiful record for couples to cherish. Our pictures portray the candid, unexpected and often the surprise elements of your wedding combined with some beautifully lit fashion inspired couple portraits, so every couple has a wedding album that is individual to them.
2. What qualifications do they have?
Sometimes, this question is relevant; sometimes it is not. Qualifications can be a great way of determining the training a photographer has gone through, but beware, many will have learned 'on the job' shadowing a well-known or respected photographer.
Lucy and I (Adam) trained in the traditional way, by shadowing a professional to learn our craft. We let our images speak for themselves rather than hiding behind qualifications and we have plenty of different couples, weddings and a vast portfolio that will confirm how consistent and reliable we are!
3. Will the person you meet at the initial consultation be the person taking your pictures on the day?
Receptionists, partners and colleagues can all step in to carry out initial consultations, particularly during the busy season, and this shouldn't be a problem, as long as you can see the portfolio. What you should make sure though is that at some point, you get to meet the person taking your photographs! Ultimately, you have to be comfortable in front of them on the day!
We ask all our couples to come and meet us personally to have an initial consultation; this gives us an opportunity to get to know what your wedding theme is, what your style is etc. This also gives us the chance to get to know you as a couple and what you want from your wedding photography. We mostly shoot weddings together but sometimes, we can do it separately; whoever the couple meet in their initial meeting will be who is shooting their wedding. The relationship we have is crucial to the outcome of the images this is part of the reason why we have a pre-wedding shoot; it helps build the relationship and relaxes the couple so on the day itself they find it much easier.
4. Do they shoot digitally or on film?
Digital versus film is a big debate; digital is more commonly used, but some like the tradition and effect of a film camera. The problem is, you really have to trust the photographer and the technology; they cannot check what they are doing, so if something goes wrong, you may not find out until after the day and there's no way you'll be organising a repeat performance!
We shoot digitally; this enables us to upload them all on to a memory stick for you to keep and also helps us to touch them up and add them to an exclusive log in area where they can all be viewed with a unique login and password.
5. Do they offer a pre-wedding shoot?
With some photographers this will be available, and it may or may not come at an additional cost. You do have to find the time to have it done, but it's a great way to build the relationship and you can make clear what you do and don't like.
We do offer a pre-wedding shoot which is included in the price; we do this as a chance to get to know you and get you used to being in front of the camera. This also helps couples to feel comfortable in front of us and we can work out which sides they don’t like being shot from etc. The photos we take in this initial shoot are offered to the couples and some couples have made a selection of their photos into a canvas that people can sign at their wedding instead of a guestbook.
6. Have they taken photographs at your chosen wedding venue before?
This isn't essential, but can be great to make sure your photographer knows the best spots!
If we are shooting a wedding at a venue that we haven’t photographed before, we go and visit the venue beforehand. This gives us a chance to suss it out and find spots that would work really well in the photographs. We also like to look at options for both indoors and outdoors so that we can get some really beautiful photos, whatever the weather. We work with the venue to ensure that the group shots work smoothly and don’t take over the day.
7. Are they available to show you any testimonials and photographs from other recent weddings?
They should be! Unless they are just starting out, a wedding photographer should have a good, varied portfolio which is readily available.
We have a number of testimonials available on our website. We ask each couple to fill out a questionnaire after they have returned from their honeymoon which not only includes their thoughts about us but details their wedding and their story so we can include this in our blog posts that we put together of each wedding.
8. Do they offer black and white as well as colour photography?
This will be personal choice, but if you want B&W, you need to check they offer it.
We do a variety of black and white photos to enhance the mood of the particular photograph but all photos are available in colour and black and white, it is entirely up to the couple.
9. Do they offer different photography packages for you to choose from?
Packages will vary, so you'll need to ask exactly what is included and what is likely to cost more.
At Adam Drake, our standard package includes: -Two photographers for the entire day as standard -A pre-wedding shoot to help the couple feel comfortable with us, and in front of the camera – these photos can be put into a signing book for the wedding if you would like -A meeting to discuss ideas and what you want to get out of your wedding photography -Addition of wedding photos to a personal, secure website that only you and your guests can view with a unique password. -A meeting at the venue to have a look round and seek any prime spots for some photographs; introducing ourselves to the venue and discussing when the group photo would work best etc. Packages can be tailor-made to each couple which can be discussed at the initial consultation.
10. How long will they stay?
Some photographers will be there all day, some will set a time limit and charge extra for longer.
At Adam Drake, we shoot from the bride and groom preparations though to the first dance. These are the two bookends of the day and provide a natural start and finish point to the album.
11. Do they charge for transport?
This might not be a consideration if you select a local photographer, but is definitely something you should ask!
We only charge mileage if the wedding is over 150 miles from us.
12. Will they require refreshments?
Do you need to add the photographers to your head count and remember to organise refreshments with the venue?
We personally never ask for refreshments but we do accept them gratefully :-) This is a contentious subject with photographers/videographers and Adam's point of view is that the client is in no way obliged to provide us with food, but if your wedding is in the spring/summer/autumn then we can’t leave food in the car so will have to leave the wedding to buy something. Most of my weddings are in the countryside so a shop is a good few miles away and could mean us missing the start of the speeches etc. If the venue can store food on our behalf, then this solves the problem!
13. Will they offer a discount for a weekday wedding?
If you are getting married on a Thursday in March then it might be worth asking! If it’s August then the chances are pretty low as it is in the middle of the wedding season.
14. Are they happy to work alongside a videographer?
Some photographers won't mind, some will have a videographer they can recommend and some will refuse point blank. It will depend how they work, their previous experiences and their own personal approach. It's always worth asking if you want both!
We offer a videography service so working with them isn't a problem for us. We have both experienced this in the past and have had some very difficult experiences; our motto is we are all in this together so help others out to keep the bride and groom happy!
15. How many pictures will you receive?
You need to ask this question for definite; some photographers charge only for their time and then photos are extra, some will 'tier' their prices according to how many you want and some will offer all of them in the price. This might affect the up-front price, but you need to work out the total cost before you sign up!
There is no limit on the number of images the couple receives from us. After you have come back from your honeymoon we sit down with you and go through the creation of your albums together so the couple to pick and choose what albums they want, and how they would like their final photographs presented. All photos are uploaded to a personal web page which can be accessed with a unique login for you and whoever you wish to share this with. All photos will also be uploaded to a memory stick and provided which enables you to view them before the meeting where the albums are created.
16. Who will own the copyright?
We retain the copyright so we can use images in our portfolio; this does mean that guests have to order through us but this is so we can control the quality of our work that is out there in the public domain.
17. How will the final set of photographs be presented?
Ask about presentation options, costs and variations etc. prior to signing up; because most photographers will retain the copyright, it is really important that you like it.
How the final images are presented is entirely up to the client; some choose just to have a digital copy but the majority choose to have an album produced.
18. Are they insured against mishaps?
It's pretty self-explanatory, but insurance is good!
Adam Drake has full public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance in case anything happens to go wrong.
19. When will you need to pay?
This will vary from photographer to photographer; for Adam Drake, a deposit is taken 30 days prior to the wedding and this can be between £500-£700 depending on what package has been arranged.
20. When will you see your pictures?
You'll most likely go on honeymoon, and hopefully the images will be available not long after that. With us, the images are generally ready to view on your own personal gallery 1-2 weeks after the wedding.