Bride Guide: How to Interview A Wedding Photographer | Kansas City Wedding Photographer Merry Ohler
Truth? I love in person meetings. Social media and email are all well and good, but there is nothing I love more than meeting with my potential clients for coffee or at happy hour and getting to know each other a little. This is an art that is becoming lost in our increasingly electronic world, and what I have found in my last few appointments is that couples aren't quite sure what questions they should be asking - or how to ask those questions.
If you find yourself in a similar boat, follow these steps to discover how to interview a wedding photographer...or wedding planner...or caterer...fill-in-your-blank.
1. Determine what style of wedding photography you like best.
With regard to wedding photography, do your research. Browse wedding websites and magazines. Check out your friends' wedding albums. Figure out if you prefer more classic, posed images, or if you lean toward something more modern and moody. Do you love images which are warm and subtle? Or do you prefer an edgier, cool toned edit?
Once you know what style you prefer, look at their work. Check out their website, their Facebook page and Instagram account. Do you see that kind of work reflected there? If not, consider that you may need to move on to someone else. If you do see work that echoes your preferences, make sure when you meet that you tell them which images you loved from their portfolio from the get go. Some photographers are very consistent in their work, while others prefer to flow with a variety of styles. If the photographer you are meeting is one of the latter, it is imperative that you express what you want stylistically. If they feel they may not be able to deliver that, they may not be the right fit for you.
2. Make a list of questions.
This is the hard part. What to ask? And how to ask it? Rather than deliver your questions rapid fire, keep them with you as a guideline for your conversation. An experienced wedding photographer will likely touch on these automatically, but it is great to have a reference sheet available in case the conversation goes off track.
You will spend more time with your wedding photographer than with any other person on your wedding day, so your comfort level with whomever you hire is imperative. Technical and timeline questions are important, but the heart and personality of the photographer should take precedence. You are trusting this person to document your memories of a day that can't be repeated, but you are also trusting them to interact with the people you love most. You need to be able to trust that whomever you hire will treat your nieces and nephews with kindness, your grandmother with respect. You don't want to find yourself worrying about whether or not they will use inappropriate language or jokes that make your wedding party feel uncomfortable.
If you find yourself stuck, you are welcome to use a few of these:
- How long have you been a photographer? How long have you been photographing weddings?
- Would share with us why you choose to specialize in weddings? Tell us about one of your favorite couples. What was their wedding day like?
- Do you have a "favorite" part of the day? If so, will you share what part and why it's your favorite?
- Tell us about a wedding you photographed that didn't go as planned. How did that unfold and how did that play out from your perspective?
- Do you use off camera flash when necessary? How comfortable are you at using that? Can you send us links to work you have done with off camera flash? (This is vitally important for your reception and low light moments.)
3. Ask for an in person meeting.
Most wedding photographers prefer to meet in person for a consultation - this helps us to make sure we are the right fit, allows us to answer any questions and help you to see the big picture of your wedding day. If you run in to a wedding photographer who seems reluctant to meet, this may be a sign you should look elsewhere.
4. Have a candid conversation with them.
When you meet, introduce yourselves and see how the conversation flows. Share a little of your story and get to know them. Ask open ended questions that encourage conversation. Keep your phones in your purse or pocket, and make eye contact. Smile often and pay attention to what they are saying to you. Take notes and jot down questions you think of as they are speaking so you won't forget them.
Pay attention to how they interact with the two of you. Does the conversation flow easily? Are you both comfortable? Does he or she make you feel confident that they can get the job done and has the equipment necessary to deliver great images?
Ask your questions throughout the conversation, and don't forget to ask the photographer if they have any questions for the two of you.
5. Thank them for their time and let them know you'll be in touch soon.
If you are meeting with multiple photographers, it is professional courtesy to let them know you are doing so. Be sure to thank them warmly and let them know when you plan to make your decision. If you know at this point that you want to hire them, you may tell them, but I recommend to discuss with your significant other privately, first.
Great work! If you followed these steps, you will have successfully interviewed a potential wedding photographer! (Or wedding photographers!) While these questions and steps are tailored to interviewing wedding photographers, you can easily tweak them for videographers, caterers, wedding planners or coordinators....really anyone within the wedding industry.
Now that the interview is over, talk to your significant other and find out how they felt. Discuss any concern points, and if you are all on the same page, move forward with hiring them - or not.