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Top Ten Questions a Bride should ask about her photographer

Wedding Day Moment with our bride and groom at the golf course in Champaign.

Wedding day moment with our bride and groom at a golf course.

While mindlessly clicking through Facebook I ran across numerous lists the bride should ask of her photographer . . . and wondered what the heck they had to do with anything. Seriously, one of the lists had the bride asking whether or not the photographer shoots film or digital; in this digital age a photographer would be advertising they use film just to be different.

Another wanted the bride to know what kind of equipment the photographer used.  Does it really matter if they shoot Nikon, Canon or Sony? What bride has the time to do the research on the professional level cameras?

So, time for a list of real questions along with why it is a good questions (and our answer to it.) And since this ended up being a bit long, we’re dividing it over three days of posts. Today, #1 to #4

Our List of the top 10 questions a bride should ask her photographer:

1. How much will you work with me before (and after) the wedding?
2. Do you have back-up equipment?
3. Will you work with me on a shot list? Do you work off of your own? Or do I have to supply it completely?
4. Do you have liability and other insurance?

Now — I figure that in addition to the questions, I might as well answer them for myself and Krystal and our business.

1. How much will you work with me before (and after) the wedding? 

Maybe I should actually change the question a bit, as in “Do you want help with your wedding day planning?” Any good photographer will make time to help. They’ve seen things go right and wrong and should know what works best. So you have the best day possible. You don’t need an hour for family photos if you only have two sets of parents and no other relatives. On the other hand, 15 minutes is impossible when looking at parents, step-parents, grand parents and other family.

We’ll spend hours with you before and after the wedding . . . first to create your shot list, then to offer suggestions and even to just understand you better. We work out a timeline and supply it for you to have and to use. We build into the timeline places for things to go wrong (something always goes wrong.) And even time for the bride to go to the bathroom! (A wedding gown does not make this an easy task)


Lists to make sure the day goes well

We consider this planning to be of supreme importance. This bit of professionalism sets us apart from many photographers who will only get a list from you and work with it. Or not even have a list. I’ve been to weddings where the photographer yells, “Okay, time for family photos! Who wants photos with the bride and groom?   Not good. They might even expect the bride to organize it there on the spot. Really, not good.

After the wedding we continue working with you to determine your style of album, your photo selections, sizes and how well the image will fit your decor.  We call it a Premier Showing and we don’t skimp on the importance of this time.  This is when we select those images that will bring a lifetime of memories. We want you to get what you will always cherish.

2. Do you have back-up equipment?

Seems like a no-brainer but I don’t know how many times I’ve seen on Facebook forum’s some relatively new, and usually cheap, photographer absolutely freaking out that their one camera suddenly has problems and they need to borrow one. Or their lens suddenly doesn’t work correctly and they need a new one. And the even worse one, where you see the post on a forum going — my camera is flashing “error” what do I do? Sorry, wedding day is too late for that. Back up equipment is essential.

Ed has been shooting for more than 30 years, many of those years as a photojournalist for newspapers. Weddings are like news events — there is NO SECOND CHANCE! We both carry two Nikon DSLRS with us when shooting and even have another back-up with us. We switch cameras throughout the day so we always have another backup of your wedding day. And we carry multiple lens and multiple flash units. Why?  Because equipment does fail! If something of ours fails we just quietly replace it. The couple and wedding party never even know.

We’ve heard many horror stories of “pro” photographers who have only one camera body and maybe two lenses. And then something goes wrong. Totally unprofessional.

3. Will you work with me on a shot list? Do you work off of your own? Or do I have to supply it completely?

In your welcome packet, there is a list of possible wedding shots (images that you will cherish for years, for your album, for your wall.)  No wedding photographer should operate without one. Although many experienced photographers have this list in their head., having it in their head does not help you plan your big day.   We work with lists before and during the wedding day to make sure you get what you desire to the absolute best of our ability. And you get copies of those lists. This is our starting point, but we are flexible to all the things that can and do happen.

Working with the Ashley and Rick on their wedding day photos

Working with the bride and groom,  Ashley and Rick, on their wedding day photos

For example, we recently had a groom’s mother who forgot her dress at home, so off went the groom’s dad to get the dress. Two-hour round trip. He did not tell anyone he was leaving — and he was the best man.  All of our  pre-wedding image planning went out the door with him!.  However, this is one of the big reasons we do so much planning — so something like this does not then ruin your day.

And, yes, we will capture  memories of a wedding day that are not part of the list, also,  because we don’t know some are coming!

4. Do you have liability and other insurance?

You need to know if the photographer carries insurance to cover the cost if something goes terribly wrong. And we’re talking catastrophe’s like someone falling over equipment and requiring medical care.  We absolutely do. And have since the very beginning.

In fact, some reception venue’s require a photographer showing evidence of insurance before they are allowed to shoot there. We’ve heard stories of a wedding photographer not being allowed in to shoot the festivities of a reception because they did not carry insurance. Not a happy bride who found her photographer was not allowed to work.

Professional photographers have insurance.. Period. It’s not just for their own protection but for yours (as the bride and groom!)

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