Choosing a wedding photographer just might be the most important decision you will make during the wedding planning process. After the wedding your flowers will wilt, only crumbs left from your cake, your dress will be preserved and packed away and you are left with nothing but your memories and photographs. You hope that you will always remember every detail about the day, but as time goes on and you encounter more life changing events, those details will begin to fade. It's imperative that you have someone you can trust to preserve those moments for you! It's amazing how one image can conjure up so many forgotten memories.
You've got to love more than just your photographer's images. Someone can take breathtaking images, but a personality type that does not mesh well with you and your fiancé is a disaster waiting to happen. Your wedding photographer will be spending a lot of time with you and your guests, so you want to make sure he/she is not going to offend anyone or make anyone feel uncomfortable. You can tell a lot about a person in the first 30-60 minutes of conversation. Meeting with a potential photographer is an important part of your decision making process, but contrary to what you might think the first initial meeting is not a time to ask all of the technical questions like, what are your prices, what is your style, or how many images can I expect to receive? Those questions should be answered BEFORE you schedule a meeting. Email all of your questions to your top 3 or 5 photographers and after reviewing their responses you can narrow it down to those you'd like to meet. (READ MORE: Essential Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer).
Now you're wondering, if I've already had my questions answered what is left to talk about at the meeting? Good question! The meeting is nothing more than a final interview to see if you will be comfortable with the photographer as a person. Do you like their communication style, are they easy to talk to, are they a good listener? These things are going to be very important when the wedding day arrives and essential when trying to wrangle in your friends and family for portraits. Don't forget they will be mingling about the dance floor and tables with their camera. You don't want someone who is awkward around people to make your guests feel uncomfortable.
To ensure the day runs smoothly and efficiently your photographer will need to communicate and coordinate with other vendors and will need to be able to handle themselves in fast paced high stress situations. I've put together some questions and topics you can ask your photographer that will allow you to really get to know them beyond the technical stuff!
Questions to Ask a Wedding Photographer During Your First Consultation
1. What made you choose wedding photography as your focus area?
2. What do you like most about photographing weddings.
3. How do you handle organizing the formal portraits, especially if family members are not cooperating?
(this will give you an idea of how they would handle themselves in a high paced stressful situation)
4. Have you ever had a guest drink too much and do or say something that was inappropriate? If so, what did you do?
(this may seem like an odd question, but there is a lot of drinking that occurs during the reception and with drinking comes bad judgment, so it's likely a guest may cross the line. This answer is important because you certainly don't want your photographer to be upset or feel uncomfortable, causing them to be distracted during your wedding, but you also don't want them to make a scene and become confrontational (even if the reaction is warranted).
5. What do you like least about wedding photography?
(if they say" nothing" they're not being truthful! I LOVE shooting weddings, but there are parts of it I like less than others. This will tell you a lot about your photographer. If they say having to work with a lot of different people , well that may be a red flag!)
A photographer who is more service based is probably going to ask you a lot of questions about your wedding and work on getting to know you which speaks volumes for how they will treat you if you book with them! This shows that they are more than just a "show up and shoot" photographer. They are going to make your experience more personalized rather than just showing up and taking pictures.
If you absolutely cannot schedule a meeting with a photographer at least try and Skype or speak with them on the phone before you book with them! Spend some time on their blog searching for more personal posts. This can also tell you a lot about them!