The second Monday of the year! I hope this one's a little easier for you than the last. ;)
We can all agree to say, the holidays = engagement season, right?! I could fill up a whole hand of friends and family that got engaged over this season, and I'm SO excited for each one of them! First day of engagement: cloud nine. Second day: your smile seems like it'll never leave your face. Eventually, maybe the second Monday of the year ;), you suit up for the infamous wedding planning season - something many of us have NEVER done before, but are expected to know exactly what to do and what questions to ask.
As a photographer, January is one of my favorite months of the year since it means meeting with new clients + dreaming up the following year's wedding season! It's a BLAST. I get to have coffee with new friends, hear about their love story, and their vision of their day. Other times it's over the phone, via email, or messaging through The Knot. Whatever your style, I'm always happy to chat!
The other night I was on the phone with a potential client, and she said, "This is my first time ever looking for a wedding photographer, and I don't even know what questions to have!" Isn't that the truth! I felt the same planning my wedding with everything else. I obviously had the photographer part down ;), but what are the questions that will get you to the point of knowing if a photographer or vendor is right for you?! What are the questions you need to ask to make sure you're both on the same page for what you want?
Today, I am going to share a list of 15 questions that will get the questions flowing. If something sparks a question you may have, don't be afraid to ask your potential photographers! Photographers know their businesses inside + out, and a good photographer will know the industry. They are more than happy to answer your questions!
I will also be answering all of the questions as if someone were asking me.
1. Do you have my date available?
Hopefully, yes! ;) I have all of my booked dates listed on the Pricing page of my website for your convenience. If I don't, I will provide you with a list of photographers with a similar style to mine.
2. How would you describe your style?
When I'm shooting a wedding, I'm looking for all of the little details that couples put into their day. These little details are not only beautiful + a blast to take pictures of, but they also tell so much of a story of who the couple is. Couples also spend a LOT of time + money into making the little details of their day.
I also capture the day as it unfolds, to best tell the story of the day. I capture your bridesmaid dancing with her mimosa when getting ready. If I see your mom beaming as she watches you + your dad walking down, I capture it. I capture your faces of embarrassment + hilarity as the best man shares something you never wanted your distant relatives to hear.
And finally, it makes the day go a lot smoother if I'm directing poses every once in a while. I understand that people hate being in front of the camera most of the time, and have no idea what to do with their arm. Having this structure along with the candids allows the day to feel more comfortable + look a lot better in the photos.
3. How many weddings have you shot, and how many do you usually take in a year?
*This question is especially important! If you're hiring a photographer who has only done 3 weddings, the chances of them missing a big moment are a lot higher. For the second part, a photographer who's shooting 30-35 weddings a year is going to be exhausted + drained creatively by the middle or end of the season. It's hard for them to truly pour into their clients' experience.
I've done 43 weddings so far. I know most of the ins and the outs, and can sense when something is about to happen. I take about 25 weddings each year. I limit myself to provide the best experience + quality for my clients.
4. Do you have a second shooter?
Depending on the package you choose, yes! See a list of my packages on my Pricing page.
5. Would you recommend getting a second shooter?
This is truly up to the couple, and what they're wanting. A second shooter is nice for a backup, in case anything happens. It's also nice for the couple who's wanting more candids + a different perspective of the day (especially important during the ceremony). Many brides do choose this option, since it gives them more peace of mind, but I've also gotten to the point of where I'm comfortable shooting a wedding by myself. I am a quick shooter ;)
6. What packages do you offer?
All of my packages are listed on the pricing page of my website. Please let me know if you have any questions!
7. What is needed from me at the time of booking?
A 20% retainer is due at the time of booking to formally reserve your date. This is non-refundable. I will also send you files through your new planning event on HoneyBook, which include the contract and a questionnaire for you to fill out.
8. How do you deliver the photos?
I send the photos through an online gallery, where you can download the high resolution photos with one click, make favorite folders, order prints, or share the link with your friends and family. There is a code required to download the photos.
9. Do you offer professional printing?
Yes! You can order prints directly through your online gallery. The program I use allows me to choose the lab I want to order through, and also allows you to order prints with a couple of clicks. I highly, highly recommend not printing at Walgreens, or a generic printing lab. The quality of the photos is much greater through an approved printing lab.
10. How long does it usually take to get the edited photos after the wedding?
You can expect your photos 4-6 weeks after your wedding day.
11. What happens if you're sick on our wedding day?
I will provide a backup for you whose style is similar to mine. I will pay the photographer to shoot the wedding for me, and I will edit the photos to guarantee my same style.
12. Can I provide a list of photos I want for you?
Yes, you can. Since I have photographed nearly 45 weddings, I know what to look for in a typical wedding. However, if you're looking for a specific pose, or a ring shot you found on Pinterest, I would be happy to capture that. I just ask that you keep requested photos to under 10, so I can shoot the day with my personal style.
13. Will you help me plan the schedule of the day?
Yes! I will send you a file on your HoneyBook event with a Timeline outline. You will tell me what time your ceremony will be, if you're having a first look, if you're having a cocktail hour, and when you want to enter your reception. I will come up with a timeline for you based on these things that you can definitely help edit if you'd like! We collaborate on this, and I just make sure there's enough time for each photo event. :)
14. What is your personality like when shooting a wedding?
*This is highly important, since you'll be spending the majority of your wedding day (the best day of your life!) with your photographer. Make sure you like who you're spending your day with, or it could make your wedding day not so great.
A lot of clients tell me that I made their wedding day relaxing and fun. I have a calm personality, and make jokes to keep the atmosphere happy. I try to keep you both comfortable and having a good time when you're in front of the camera. My husband Taylor shoots with me a lot, and he's the social butterfly, making friends with your family members and bringing energy to the table. Last weekend, a groomsman asked him to fly our reflector like a frisbee and Taylor obliged... ;). I looked over to see my husband and a group of groomsmen having the best time with a reflector.
15. What makes Ali Leigh Photo the best choice?
We truly have a desire to serve our clients well. We do this in our initial meeting, the engagement session, in our craft + editing, in surprise gifts, throughout the planning process, and on your wedding day if you need me to clean up a mimosa spill, call your mom, or fix your necklace. If you're looking to be smiling and relaxed throughout the whole process, we are the right fit for you. We keep in mind how important of a day it is for you, and makes sure it's the best experience it could possibly be for you.
And there you have it!! These questions will get you started with the conversation with your potential wedding photographer. There are obviously a thousand more questions you could ask, but these are the main questions or answers I bring up when holding a consultation with a potential client. Enjoy the process, and make sure you're a good fit with your photographer! They can definitely make or break the day.