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5 Questions to Ask Potential Wedding Photographers

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So you just got engaged & the reality of the situation has now sunk in. Where do you start?

Obviously the first order of business is picking a date & a ceremony site. Don’t forget about securing a reception hall or the caterer, though. But then what comes next?

Choosing the right wedding photographer.

Everyone knows that one friend that had a regrettable experience with their wedding photographer, so here are some questions to make sure you find a quality photographer that can help make your vision come to life.

1: How many weddings do you photograph in a year?

There are hobbyist photographers that may shoot 3-4 weddings a year and then there are career photographers who are booked just about every weekend for the year. Not saying that one is right or wrong, but it really comes down to what you need.

The hobbyist photographer likely does photography as an extra source of income and so they may be cheaper overall, which is a positive for many people. Their experience may not be as fine-tuned in terms of the photos you get and they may not have the same equipment or resources as a career photographer, but many are eager to learn & open to advice. 

The career photographer does it as their main source of income so they likely have more experience, keep up with the latest trends, and probably have better equipment (because they can write it off!). All this, however, may come at a bit of a higher price point.

Keep this question in mind during your meeting, because everyone is at a different place in their career. Someone booking 3-4 weddings a year may have other responsibilities and that doesn’t necessarily reflect their skillset or worth. 

Choosing the right photographer is a big deal! Dive into our article Why a Wedding Content Creator is Essential for Your Wedding to find out how adding a content creator can make your wedding memories even more amazing.

2: What percentage of your business is specifically "Wedding Photography"?

In addition to knowing how many weddings a photographer may shoot in a year, it’s also helpful to know what they consider their bread and butter.

Of course, many of us can shoot weddings, but there are some that brand themselves as “Senior Portrait Photographers”, “Newborn Photographers”, “Family Photographers”, etc. 

With each type of photographer comes a different set of skills that are honed in through constant exposure.

For instance, a photographer specializing in weddings will approach your day much differently than one who typically shoots more editorial work. Wedding photographers are used to moving from moment-to-moment & a busy, chaotic day may not phase them. An editorial photographer may approach your wedding with a bit more style & may not like shooting the in-between moments as much as the posed. Getting to know your photographer’s portfolio beyond weddings is important, too!

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3: How many photographers will be taking photos on my wedding day?

Weddings can have anywhere from one to several photographers covering an event. This obviously depends on your budget, expected crowd size, and length of your day. It’s good to understand what is really needed for your wedding when you factor these things in. Tell this to your photographer when you meet with them and more than likely they will be able to help determine what your needs are. 

Some photographers are more than comfortable shooting a wedding solo, while others prefer to work as a team. Many photographer’s packages differ as well. For example, Heartstring Weddings offers a single shooter in our starter package, and a second photographer for our upgraded packages.

It’s important to ask your potential photographer what their relationship is to their second shooters. Some choose to use the same people repeatedly, while others have to depend on newer photographers that are in the middle of building their own portfolios. An average second shooter’s responsibilities could include taking detail shots or organizing equipment for the main photographer.

Just as common would be a “team” setting. This is how Heartstring Weddings operates. We both focus on different events, emotions and people throughout the day so you’re able to get more well-rounded coverage of your wedding. Instead of considering one of us the second, we both choose to be treated as equal partners. We also work every wedding together, so by now we have our routine’s and responsibilities ironed out to make your day run much more efficiently.

4. What is your turnaround time for photos after the wedding?

Some of the very first things brides want to see when they get back from the honeymoon are the wedding photos. My average turnaround is ONE MONTH during my slow season and during my peak season. (These are subject to change)

It’s good to know what to realistically expect from the start and have it included in your contract, because nothing is worse than waiting months and months for wedding photos.

5. Do we "own" the wedding photos?

It’s becoming more and more common that people want to own the photos. What I have found, however, is that what people really want is the ability to print them wherever they’d like. Heartstring Weddings provides an online gallery and print release form in every package so that you can print the photos using your vendor of choice specifically for this reason.

So technically you can print the photos for personal use as much as you’d like, but we retain the copyrights for commercial purposes.

In Summary

There are many great wedding photographers in Los Angeles to choose from, and we may not even be the right fit for you! However, we do encourage all couples to do their due diligence when trying to select the right photographer, because at the end of the day- it’s all about making sure you put your trust into someone who truly cares about preserving your memories. 

Before you book, have a plan! In addition to style and budget, consider your desired aesthetic for the photos. Our guide on wedding updos with veils showcases a range of stunning updos that will photograph beautifully on your special day.

Are you newly engaged? Discover your next steps in my recent blog post titled “You’re Engaged! Now What…”

About Author

huy nguyen los angeles wedding photographer

Hi, I’m Huy! I’m a destination wedding photographer based in Los Angeles. I love sharing wedding planning tips inspired by my experiences shooting weddings. Happy to have you here!

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