One of the most common first things to do after getting engaged is looking for a photographer. How do you know where to begin? Photography is one of the few professions that have absolutely blown up the past few years and it seems like everyone is a photographer. So how do you know which ones you can trust and which ones should be avoided? I recommend asking questions, and a lot of them! I'd say that these five questions are key to helping pinpoint dedicated, talented, and photographers who will fit your needs.
Can you send me a gallery? This should be a pretty easy ask, so if the answer is 'no' that could be a red flag. Seeing a photographer's past wedding galleries helps give you an idea of what your wedding photos could potentially look like. Notice I say 'could potentially.' That's because every wedding turns out differently since every wedding is unique to it's weather, location, couple, etc. But seeing a past gallery will at least let you see the editing style and organizational habits of the photographer.
What's your focus in wedding photography? Determining what your photographer's main focus is during your wedding is actually a pretty big deal. If their goal is to get artistic shots, you may be missing out on the actual emotion and story of the day. I'd say that the best response you can hear from a photographer is that they are some sort of story teller. To me that means that they understand the link between photography as an art and as a means of telling others about your day.
Do you offer engagement sessions? Listen, if you want to have the best photography experience at your wedding please, please, please, ask your photographer to do your engagement session. This is such a key moment because it means that you get to meet your photographer ahead of time and you get to learn a little bit what it's like to be photographed by them. Your photographer will be with you your entire wedding day, so it might be nice to know them and understand how they work a little bit before the wedding.
What can I expect from you? This is a great question because every photographer runs things a little bit different. One common misunderstanding is that some photographers charge per photo and others charge a lump sum. Making sure that you and your photographer are clear on all fronts is a pretty big deal.
Do you offer pre-wedding assistance? This is a big deal for some couples, and a lesser one to others. It seems like the details of planning a wedding never end, so having a photographer walk with your through your day-of timeline can assuage a lot of fears that some couples have. It's also nice to have a sounding board for ideas, photographers experience a lot of weddings, so having access to someone who can give knowledgable advice or recount past experiences that went well or poorly is really valuable.
Hope this helps as you're on your photographer hunt!