There are tons of articles all over the internet about what questions you should be asking your wedding photographers as you interview them. We even have one of our own - check out “Questions You Really Should Ask Potential Wedding Photographers”! But out of all the things you could ask, there are a handful that we, as wedding photographers ourselves, don’t think match up to the same level of importance as the rest. Not all interview questions are created equal, and not every question you ask will truly get to the heart of whether of not that photographer is right for you.
In this article, we’ve rounded up a few of the questions we get that, for the most part, we think are not that important to ask - and what we’d recommend you ask instead!
Have you worked at my venue before?
On the surface, this seems like an awesome question. You should be able to quickly get a sense of a photographer’s experience or level of comfort shooting at a particular location. Because experience should predict skill, right?
Unfortunately that’s not always the case. By potentially deciding not to work with a photographer solely because he or she hasn’t worked at a particular venue before, you could be closing the doors on some very talented photographers. Let’s dive into why this question might not be as important as you think.
As photographers, we put a ton of time into honing our skills to be able to shoot well in any conditions. Low light, bright light, in barns or on the beach - there are basic skills and strategies that we can put to use to create beautiful images no matter where your wedding is. The photographer that you’re choosing to work with will have their own style and has likely taken years to develop it! Trust in them that they will be able to produce images in their style no matter where you put them!
If you’d really like to know if this photographer has worked at the specific venue before, and they say no, we encourage you to ask this follow up question: “how will you prepare to work in this venue?”. You may find that, even if the photographer has never worked there, they have a great process in place to visit the venue, meet the manager, and tour the facility all in preparation for your big day.
What we think you should ask instead: “have you worked at a venue similar to ours in the past (ex: a barn or the beach)? Can you share an example gallery of that wedding? If you haven’t worked at our exact venue, what will you do to prepare for our wedding there?”
How would you describe your style?
This question is so subjective - if you ask 5 people to look at the same photo and describe it’s mood or vibe, there’s a great chance that you’ll get 5 different answers! Sometimes, even multiple photographers with the same or very similar style will describe it differently.
A photographer’s style is usually a pretty personal decision and the way they describe it will usually be in a way that feels right to them. You may have had very different words in mind when looking at their work - but that’s art! Everyone is entitled to their own interpretation.
What we’d encourage you to ask instead - to yourself - is: do you like their images, and do you feel there is a sense of consistency to them?
You should take some time to review the photographer’s work before you get on the phone with them, be that through their website or instagram. Hopefully you liked their style enough from that review that you decided you wanted to reach out to them. At the end of the day, if you enjoy their images, does it really matter how they describe their style? A rose by any other name, right?
What equipment do you use?
Unless you’re a photographer or camera enthusiast yourself, the answer to this question might not be very meaningful to you. We could list out every piece of gear in our bags, but at the end of the day, the most important piece of the puzzle is who is behind the gear and what they are able to do with it.
There is no question that professional quality gear helps, but no matter how expensive the camera is. it won’t produce great images all on its own without a talented photographer behind it. We have seen great photographers bring 3 cameras and 5+ lenses to a wedding, while others (still great) have a single body and lens; each of us takes a different approach, and that’s reflected in our styles.
The one caveat that we’ll always make in the equipment conversation is this: wedding photographers should be using cameras with dual card slots. A wedding day is too important to trust one memory card to work perfectly all day long. Memory card corruption is a very rare thing, but it does happen. When this happens, best case scenario is that the data recovery process adds an extra couple weeks until you get your images. Worst case scenario is that your wedding images are gone. Having two memory cards being saved to at all times help to mitigate the risk that this will ever happen to you. And as wedding photographers ourselves, we sleep much better at night knowing we have dual card slots so it never happens to our clients.
What we think you should ask instead: “Do you have a camera(s) with dual card slots that you’ll be using at our wedding to make sure our images are protected?”
Interviewing wedding photographers can be a long and sometimes stressful process. It takes time for many couples to feel comfortable enough to say “yes” to someone and trust them with the honor of photographing one of the most important days of their lives. Hopefully some of the ideas in this post can help you make the most of your time with potential wedding photographers by asking them the kinds of questions that will actually get you valuable answers!
For more ideas about great questions to ask your potential wedding photographer, check out our post: “Questions You Should Really Ask Potential Wedding Photographers”.
If you’re in need of a wedding photographer in the South Jersey, Jersey Shore, or Philadelphia area, we’d love to chat! Click here to start the conversation :)