10 Questions To Ask Before You Book Your Wedding Photographer
Interviewing potential vendors for your wedding can be a bit like going on a first date. You’re a little nervous, wondering if your personalities are going to jibe and that can cause you to maybe forget a few of the important questions that you had planned to ask. Below is a brief list of questions that you will definitely want to ask of any prospective photographer that you may speak with. And if you should book us here at Model Citizens Photography, you’ll already be a step ahead since we’re going to answer each of the questions for you as we go!
What Sets You Apart As A Photographer Or Business?
Ask them what style they shoot in. Is it traditional with lots of posed shots? Or, do they lean more towards photojournalism, blending in with the crowd and taking candid photos? Many photographers will do a blend of these and other styles, but you should figure out which style you prefer and then see if that’s inline with what the photographer specializes in. Perhaps what sets them apart isn’t so much their photography, but the perks they offer in their wedding packages, or their personality. Either way, they should be able to tell you why they feel that their services are unique. At Model Citizens Photography, we specialize in the candid, photojournalism style. We often hear comments like “I didn’t even know you got a picture of that!” We pride ourselves in letting you see your special day through fresh eyes, as if you’re reliving that moment all over again each time you look at your photos. We’re also proud to go the extra mile to get to know our clients. That’s why a free engagement shoot is standard when you book with us. It gives us a chance to work with you in a low stress environment so that we all get comfortable with each other before the big day comes. By the time your wedding day arrives, we’ll be old friends and all be able to relax and take in the whirlwind that is a wedding day.
Can I see A List Of Reviews Or Referrals?
Any wedding photographer worth their salt should have no problem offering up a list of satisfied clients and reviews from those clients about their own wedding photography experience with that photographer. If they can’t provide this then you know one of two things are up. 1, they haven’t been shooting weddings long enough to have referrals, or 2, the reviews they’ve gotten have been negative. Either way, that’s not who you want to trust such a big job to! At Model Citizens, we can provide plenty of glowing reviews and even the contact info of a few of our past clients who have been gracious enough to allow us to give their info out so that they can personally tell couples of the wonderful experience they had with us!
Have You Shot At This Venue In The Past?
There are a lot of great wedding venues in Branson and the surrounding areas and chances are your photographer will have worked at a good number of them. In the case that they haven’t worked at the particular venue you have chosen for your wedding, find out if they plan to scout the location before hand. Your photographer should be prepared before the wedding day to address any lighting issues the venue may present, as well as get the feel of the floor plan and know the best vantage points for shooting. Also, some venues may have restrictions on where the photographer can shoot from and things like using flash photography. These are issues that you’ll want your wedding photographer to have resolved before the big day. Model Citizens has worked at a number of the local wedding venues and always scouts new locations, often times during the wedding parties rehearsal, which gives you even more photos for your album 🙂
Will You Be The Photographer At My Wedding?
Often times when dealing with a larger studio, the person you meet with may not be the same photographer who shows up on the wedding day. In fact, they may not be a photographer at all, but a sales rep that the company uses. Nothing wrong with that, but you should insist on meeting with the actual wedding photographer that you will be working with before hand, so that you can get a feel for their style, personality, etc, as well as ask them the questions that only they can answer. Model Citizens is a small, family run, photography business. You will always meet and be in contact with YOUR personal photographer from the day of booking until the moment we hand you your beautiful photos.
Do You Have A Back Up In Case You Can’t Make It To My Wedding
Always make sure that your wedding photographer has a backup plan in case he or she should get sick or suffer an injury and not be physically able to shoot your wedding themselves. Also ask to see a portfolio of this persons work to ensure it is of the same quality as the original photographers and a good representation of what you are looking for in your wedding photos. Model Citizens has ties throughout the Southwest Missouri photography scene and have several “go to” people we can call on should the need arise, though to date, it never has 🙂
May I See A Recent Set Of Wedding Photos?
Again, any photographer who does quality work should have no problem showing you a complete set of one of their recent shoots. It’s all well and good to look at a wedding photographers portfolio, but realize that it is comprised of only his or her top 1% photos. Not every photo can be a “Wow” photo, but you should make sure that the rest of their pictures are in line with what their portfolio represents and that they didn’t just pull 2 or 3 nice photos out of 500 sub par ones. Model Citizens has many of our recent wedding shoots available online for new clients to peruse and see an entire day from start to finish.
How Much Is Your Deposit/Booking Fee? When Is It Due? Do You Offer Payment Plans?
Eventually talk will have to turn towards payment and it’s good that all parties have a clear understanding of what is expected from them. A deposit or Booking fee is a percentage of the total price of services that is paid up front and non-refundable. This saves the date that you request and ensures no one else books the date out from under you. If you cancel for some reason, the photographer keeps the deposit to offset his or her losses from turning down other clients for that date. Model Citizens asks for 1/3 of your total price to be paid at the time of booking. You have from then until 1 week before your wedding date to pay the balance, so if it’s easier for you to pay in smaller payments, that is perfectly fine!
Will We Get A Contract?
This should just go without saying for ANY business arrangement, but always make sure your wedding photographer provides a contract. I have dealt with two separate couples who came to me after putting down a deposit with other photographers and never heard from them again. Those are usually the “fauxtographers” that you find on sites like craigslist, but still, make sure you have a contract with ANY photographer you decide to work with and that they sit down with you and explain everything within and that everyone is on the same page regarding it’s contents.
The answer to this will vary from one photographer to another, depending on how busy they are, how quickly they edit their photos, etc. I’ve heard from couples who waited up to 1 year to receive their photos! Most of the larger studios I have heard about usually have them back within 6 months. With Model Citizens being a smaller company, we usually give an estimate of 4-6 weeks.
Will You Follow A Shot List?
I have heard of other wedding photographers getting infuriated at this question. As if their creative abilities were being questioned. And there is something to be said for picking a photographer whose work you enjoy and then trusting them to do their best. But, at the same time, this is YOUR wedding! You deserve the shots that you have envisioned, and any wedding photographer willing to take your money should also be willing to go the extra mile to deliver the photos that you care about. At Model Citizens we have a standard shot list that we like to go over with the couple, usually at the time of booking, and the couple is more than welcome to add shots to that list or ask that we don’t take certain ones…whatever makes YOU happy. Because, that’s what we’re here for!
Make Up Your Own List Of Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer
These obviously are just a handful of the questions that you will want to ask when meeting with potential wedding photographers. Be sure to make your own list with the questions that are important to you, that way you don’t leave your meeting and realize you forgot to discuss something really important. Of course, at Model Citizens Photography, we’re available anytime to talk about your wedding plans, so if that happens, just shoot us a call or an email and we’ll be glad to talk over any questions or concerns you may have. You can always reach us through the contact page here on our website, or by calling 417-593-2716. We can’t wait to hear from you and start planning for your awesome wedding!