As a wedding photographer who will be getting married in less than a year, I realized how difficult it can be to narrow down a decision on a photographer.
I created this list of the 12 most important questions to help you decide who to hire regardless of whether you hire Bradley Michael Photography or not!
1. General – What You Need to Know
Wedding Photography is no where near an easy subject and interviewing / vetting potential wedding photographers can be a daunting and time consuming task. Regardless of if you are hiring Bradley Michael Photography or another studio, I have created a list of 10 questions to help you find the perfect photographer for your wedding day.
This list does contain the essential questions, but don't forget to pay attention to the soft skills like communication and service as well!
2. What is your primary style?
This should be your first question as this is going to be the style of photography that appeals to you. Bradley Michael Photography is primarily based in photojournalism with influences in fashion and fine-art wedding photography techniques and compositions. For more about my wedding photography style and philosophy, check out my work here.
3. How many other events will you photograph that weekend?
Some studios will often double and even triple book dates since their contract covers outsourcing in the fine print. However, these smaller studios may plan multiple weddings on a weekend without having the actual resources. Because of this they post to social media channels looking for an a newer photographer willing to work for a flat rate. Imagine hiring an amazing photographer and a total stranger showing up on your big day, this is actually a very common practice and something to look out for.
At Bradley Michael Photography I only book one wedding on any given day, and I will not take any other jobs. I believe that personal attention and service would suffer trying to overload a schedule. Transparent and honest communication is everything!
4. Will a contract of the services be provided? If so, can I get a copy?
There are a number of studios that don’t and will not create contracts for their wedding photography clients. You should always require a formal contract from your photographer that details and explains exactly what services they will be providing, pricing, termination terms, etc. A contract is not only created for your protection, but for the wedding photographer’s protection as well. It is considered to be best practice to hire a photographer that will build a contract with you, as well as take the time to answer any of your questions. Be wary of photographers that “don’t typically create contracts for clients” or say “As long as we have payment everything will be fine”.
5. What happens if the photographer is ill?
While it is extremely unlikely that the photographer happens to get ill on your wedding day, there is always a small chance. It is extremely important that the photography studio has a contingency plan to take care of the situation in case of illness or tragedy. Bradley Michael Photography has three exceptionally skilled master photographers that can and will take over in case someone is sick or a tragedy were to occur.
6. Do you have insurance?
Professional wedding photographers should always have the correct insurance for their businesses. Insurance protects the photographer against equipment theft, but more importantly, it will give liability protection in case Great Aunt Judith trips over the photographer’s light stand and breaks a toe. If a wedding photographer does not carry active insurance, chances are they are either very new to the industry or they are not taking their business seriously enough.
Bradley Michael Photography carries general business, equipment and liability insurance.
7. Does the package I am interested in include an assistant?
If your wedding has 50 or more guests, you should strongly consider upgrading your package to include an assistant / associate photographer. Aside from the wedding venue, there are many moments in which one single photographer just can not possibly cover completely alone. There is unfortunately no way to capture the first kiss, and at the same time, turn around and get the tear in dad's eye.
8. Does your studio allow me to choose a certain style of post-production?
Another factor in how your photographs will look is the style of post-production (editing) that the studio uses. Essentially, that they even do post-produce your images. Be extremely careful and cautious, as many studios don’t and will not post-produce your images. Instead they will give them to you unfinished and straight from the camera. In this situation, you are not receiving a finished and professional product.
Unique to Bradley Michael Photography is a Post Production Consultation. While I of course specialize in timeless post-production techniques that will never age or be dated, I always allow each and every client to select which styles of post-production they like which we use to then post-produce their images in a style unique to them.
9. Will you color correct my images?
Since color correction is the most essential and also the most basic post-production, it should always be used on every single image. Many photographers will not color correct any, or will only color correct “select” images from your wedding (Usually the photos they want for their portfolio). This means that you may have a large amount of pictures where your skin tones are orange, yellow, green, red or even blue.
Bradley Michael Photography color corrects every single image from your wedding to make sure each and every image is a professional quality product.
10. What kind of equipment do you use? Do you have backups?
I use top quality state of the art camera bodies (A7RIII) along with the world renowned finest quality G Master lenses from Sony. Click here to see what’s in my Photography Toolbox. While wedding photographers don’t necessarily need to have the best of the best, it is important to have a high quality set of equipment. Make sure your photographer has at least two cameras and three lenses along with backups of everything. I can't imagine anything worse than for the photographer to miss half of your wedding because his camera or lens broke, and he bring have a spare.
I would also highly recommend making sure your photographer has good knowledge of how to use off camera flash.
11. Should my event last longer than scheduled, will you stay? Is there an extra charge?
Knowing up front the photographer’s policy on overtime is crucial. You definitely will not want to be surprised when your wedding photographer asks for an additional $1,000 before they release your pictures to you. Even worse of a scenario, you don’t want your wedding photographer to just pack up and leave when their time is up.
12. What attire will the photographer and their assistants wear?
Even though the wedding photographers will be a big part of the wedding day, it’s extremely important that they are not distracting. Because of this, it is very important for the photographer to blend in as much as possible. Additionally, for religious and cultural ceremonies, there are certain colors that are considered taboo. Make sure your photographers will be dressed appropriately for the occasion and don't be afraid to set guidelines for what you expect. Typical Bradley Michael wedding photography attire is black pants with a black polo or dress shirt. I choose to dress completely in black because I want to go unnoticed by the clients and guests so that I can capture the event as a photojournalist in a very candid way.
13. How long after the event will the proofs, album, etc be ready?
Each wedding photography studio can vary in the amount of time it takes to produce and deliver your pictures. Studios that do not do any post production or color correction may try to tempt you by saying your photos will be ready within a week, or even the next day. However, most studios that develop and produce their images will take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months.
Bradley Michael Wedding Photography has created a consistent production schedule in order to deliver an amazing product in an exceptionally quick manner. This schedule can be seen below:
- 3-4 Weeks for Engagement, Family, Newborn, Anniversary Photography Sessions.
- 7-8 Weeks for Weddings and Receptions.