After photographing weddings for 6 seasons I’ve learned one important thing. There’s no one size fits all for wedding photographers. It may seem obvious to some, but considering how often I get asked, “what questions should I ask you?” I thought I’d help spare you and your fiancé from a few Saturday meetings and a lot of frustration. I’ll outline my personal tips for interviewing photographers. Focusing on sparking natural interview conversations and inspiring your dream wedding photographer.
The following advice is based upon personally and professionally attending many weddings over the years and successfully interviewing photographers and hiring the team of my dreams for our wedding which was published in Together Journal. I’ll help you narrow down your choices, select the right fit, get inspired, and I’ll even chat about budgets too.
For the sake of time I’m going to assume you’ve already done your research and found a list of potential photographers you’d like to narrow down and interview. If not, here’s some advice on how to choose a wedding photographer. So at this point, you’ve probably sent them emails, asked about pricing, availability, and set up a meeting. Now what?
- Location, Location – I personally enjoy meeting at a coffee shop to keep things casual.
- Get personal. Instead of just jumping into a hard black and white list of questions start by introducing yourself, getting to know each other and talking about your ideal wedding day. Think about the vibe and flow of the day vs. minute details about timing or vendors. If you’d like to give them a sense of your style feel free to bring a pinterest board on your phone with inspiration for things like your dress, flowers, venue, etc so they get a better understanding of what you like.
- Please don’t bring a google list of questions that have no meaning to you. This is a big one for me. I’ve sat through quite a few meetings where I felt as if I was being interrogated by my potential future client and it didn’t feel good. When you ask questions just to ask them it creates a sense of doubt and doesn’t feel genuine. It’s important to understand that your photographer is interviewing you too!
- Budget. This is always a tricky subject and varies greatly. Make sure to do your research ahead of time and find out a standard rate for your area. Then when you discuss make sure to ask questions to help you understand why the price is set where it is. The more you can understand their experience level, quality of equipment, education, and portfolio you can decide if they are worth the investment. A few key factors that can contribute to budget are the photographers experience in the industry, if they are a boutique company, and what they offer in their collection.
- Things to consider and ask yourself before you meet:
- Are you looking for a personalized, one-on-one experience? If the answer is yes, you want a boutique photographer vs a large company.
- Are photos a high priority to you? This is a really important question. If you want quality photos, prepare to invest in them! It’s worth it, and you get what you pay for.
- Do you prefer feeling natural, un-posed, and in the moment? If so you’re looking for a documentary style photographer vs a more traditional style focused on posing.
- Are you obsessed with artsy shots of your details and venue? Ask to find out if your photographer enjoys details and storytelling. Some photogs prefer portraits and some like both equally.
- Did you click with them? Personality really plays into how your photographer interacts with everyone at your wedding from your vendors, your family, guests, and you! If they are introverted their style might focus more on storytelling and blending into the background. While some photographers may be very outspoken, interactive, and flashy. Asking about their personality and interaction style while also observing them during your interview will help you decide. Ask yourself, could I hang out with this person all day? Would I feel comfortable having them around for intimate moments like while I’m putting on my dress, our first look, or during private conversations with friends and family
- What style of images do you enjoy? This is where you need to put in your research! Unless you have formal training in the arts or design most people really aren’t versed in different photography styles or how to find out more about them. I highly suggest spending some time on a few popular wedding blogs and paying attention to the photos.
- Are they light and airy or moody with shadows. Are people posed and formal or candid and moving.
- While you’re looking through try to locate specific identifying words like boho, intimate, romantic, alternative, glam, pop-up, modern, traditional, and the list goes on. See if the images you’re drawn to start to fall under similar categories. This can help you define your style.
Most importantly, let your guard down, trust your gut, and find your dream team! By building an awesomely skilled team of vendors it takes the pressure off of you to just enjoy your day and let them do their jobs. You won’t have to micromanage professionals which allows you to just have fun. My biggest piece if advice is to trust your gut and choose vendors you just click with. If you like their personal style, personality, and their portfolio that’s great. Don’t ever try to change someone or ask them to create something out of their wheelhouse. Spend the time finding vendors who are already doing things that inspire you! This will create a space for you both to enjoy what you’re doing, get excited, and collaborate. I hope this helps you when interviewing photographers! Good luck.