When you are planning a wedding in Charlotte, NC, it can seem like there are dozens of tasks that need to get done. You have to book a caterer, pick a cake, find a dress, book a venue, solidify a guest list --and that is only for starters. Knowing the right questions to ask will not only help you to find the right vendor, but will help you to communicate your wishes to the vendor. When you are looking for a photographer, there are a few things you should be looking for. To help you in your quest, here are a few questions that you should ask.
1. Will You Be Taking the Photos?
If you work with a photographer that owns his own business, then you will probably find yourself talking to the person who will be taking your photos when you go in for the consultation. If you are going through a studio that employs multiple photographers, that may not be the case. When you sit down for your consultation, make sure the person you are talking to is the person who will be shooting your event. It will help to ensure that you are both on the same page and that he or she knows what you want.
2. Do You Have a Portfolio I Can Look At?
Obviously, you aren't going to hire anyone to work for you without having an idea of the quality of their work. When you do get to see the portfolio, make sure to ask if the vendor in question took all of the photos. If he works for a studio that employs multiple photographers, you may be handed a portfolio of the studio's work and not the individual photographer's. You should also find out if any of the photos were taken by an assistant.
3. What is Your Working Style?
Some photographers like to choreograph their shots. Some will mingle in the crowd to get candid pictures. You will probably want a little of both. You might have some staged pictures of the bride and groom, the families of each and the party that stands up with you. You will also, probably, want some candid shots of the festivities.
4. Do You Offer a Photo Booth?
Not every place does this, but it is a fun thing for guests. They can drop into the booth and get a picture as a souvenir from your big day. If the photography business you are working with doesn't have a photo booth, you may be able to rent one from a party supply store.
5. How Far In Advance Do I Need to Make a Reservation?
You should already have set the date for your big day. Knowing how far in advance you must book someone to do the photography will let you know how much time you have to decide. Do not wait too long to make a decision, though. You don't want someone else to get your date before you do.
6. Do You Have References?
This is something else you want to know about anyone that you hire to work for you. Their portfolio may be beautiful, but if they are difficult to work with or if those beautiful photos are the exception rather than the rule, you should know that up front. Ask for references and then check them.
7. What is Your Back Up Plan?
Stuff happens, especially in Charlotte. It's a part of life. If some unforeseen circumstance prevents your person photographing your event from being at your event, does he have a back-up provider? Does he have back-up equipment if his breaks down at the last minute? Does he have liability insurance? Make sure your guy is prepared for disasters.
8. How Will You Be Dressed?
Most vendors understand that there is a level of professionalism that has to be met when you are shooting an event. Most are prepared to meet those professional expectations. That being said, never make assumptions. It is a good idea to check in to make sure that he will not clash with your event.
9. When Will You Arrive and How Long Will You Stay?
How long the photography professional stays at your event will depend on what you want him to do. Staged shots might take place before the reception. You may want him to take some candid shots at the reception. You may not need him to stay for the whole reception. If there are certain events that take place that you do want shot-- such as the toast, first dance, etc-- you should make sure he sticks around for those events. If you want him to also take pictures of the “get away,” then you should make sure he sticks around for the whole thing. He may charge extra if you want him to stick around, so find out in advance.
10. What Kinds of Packages Do You Offer?
These days, you can get photo packages to suit all needs and budgets. But photo packages can include more than just photos. Now you can get CDs, albums, t-shirts or just about anything else. On top of that, you may want to give out photos to friends, family members and especially members of the wedding party.
You should also decide if you want him to only photograph your big day or to take engagement photos, too. Not only are engagement photos a nice keepsake for you, but you will want them for the invitations. Find out what your vendor offers. He can help you create the right package for your needs.
11. How Long Will It Take to Get My Photos?
This is an important question to ask. Depending on your who photographs your event and what sort of package you ordered, the length of time to receive your photos after you order them can vary. You will want to know when you should be patient and when you should be concerned enough to contact the photographer.
12. When Will I Receive a Contract?
No matter who you are working with or what sort of vendor they are, do not work with them if they will not put everything in writing. Putting things in writing makes sure that everyone is on the same page. It also ensures that you have recourse if something goes sideways.
Do not be afraid to ask questions when you are looking for someone to photograph your Charlotte, NC nuptials. Knowing what to ask will help you to weed out the lack-luster and get the right person for the job. It will also help you to make sure your wedding photographs are exactly what you want them to be.