I’m very fortunate and I get to meet a lot of Brides, and a lot of Grooms… ….yesterday the couple I met had printed out from internet “the top twenty questions to ask your wedding photographer”…. Some of them were great questions, so I thought it would be a good idea to write my own set of “What to ask your wedding photographer? ” questions here….

Are you available ?

I was emailed yesterday asking “When should you book your wedding photographer? As soon as you find one that you like, after you have booked your venue. Good photographers book up a year or two in advance.

My answer: I don’t know…email me your date and let’s check I book up early ;-) info@riclatham.com

 

How experienced are you ?

This is one of the best questions to ask a wedding photographer. Realistically you don’t want someone practising their skills on your wedding day.

My answer: I shot my first solo wedding back in 2003, before that I learnt the ropes by assisting and second shooting for other photographers

 

How many weddings have you shot ?

Another great question, but only as long as they can also show you this to be true ! To be good at something, it takes practice…photographers are constantly learning, but if they answer less than 30 then they are still learning the basics !

My answer: I haven’t counted recently…but my last 250+ weddings are over here in the client galleries.

 

Are the images on your website yours ?

This may sound a bit silly, but it’s worth asking. A lot of photographers go on wedding courses/workshops etc and the images on their sites have been set up at a workshop, they’ve just clicked the button! There is also a growing trend for photographers to show images on their websites from “Styled shoots”….there is nothing wrong with styled shoots but the photographers should not try and pass off these images as “Real Life Weddings”. Why? because they have possibly spent hours setting up theses shots, and realistically they would not be able to reproduce them on your wedding day.

My answer: All the images on my website have been taken by myself, not by assistants, second shooters etc. Every photo is from “Real Weddings”, not a stylised shoot in sight.

 

What happens if you are ill ?

Another great question !

My answer: I have never failed to attend a wedding yet. With that said, I have a network of professional photographers who we all have an SOS agreement, in the event of an illness or circumstance that prevented me from attending, I would endeavour to get the wedding covered.

 

What happens if your camera breaks ?

Any good professional photographer will have backups of everything. Ask them what they have. The backup camera should still be as good as the main camera, not a cheap one, because it’s only a backup !

My answer: I take at least one spare camera body and spare lenses with me. I carry spare lights, batteries…spares of everything, even cufflinks…you’d be surprised how Groom’s/best men/father of the Bride…forget to pack their cufflinks !

 

Does your camera have two card slots ?

What? I know starting to get a little technical…but modern professional cameras can have two memory card slots. What would happen if your photographer only had one? Well, if the memory card corrupted the images from the day could be gone. Two cards in the camera mean we have an instant backup, when I take a photo it is automatically written to both cards.

My answer: Yes, I currently shoot with Canon 5DSR cameras, they have two slots. When I take a photo it is written to a compact flash card and an SD card at the same time.

 

Do you have insurance ?

All professional photographers should have insurance.

My answer: Yes, I have Full Public Liability Insurance (£5 million), Professional Indemnity Insurance (£200,000) and my equipment is also covered by a separate policy.

 

Should I get wedding insurance ?

This is a question for yourself, if you have a big budget wedding then yes, I personally would look into. Accidents do happen, problems with venues do happen…I know it’s very rare but if the venue was flooded, had a fire etc what would happen ? Whilst the venue would rearrange your day all the other suppliers might not be able to, and you would possibly lose deposits etc. Debenhams do wedding insurance policies for about £50.

My answer: Yes, if I were getting married I would get my own insurance.

 

When should I book a wedding photographer ?

Again this is more of a reminder for you !

My answer: Even though I am biased…I would say as soon as you can, I have weddings booked in 2 years in advance. Good wedding photographers tend to get booked up very early on. I would say most couples tend to book from about 14 months or so before their wedding date. Though I do get last minute couples a week before sometimes !

 

How do I book you ?

My answer: Well you can ring/email, if you are in the local Manchester area then I am more than happy to come and meet you both. I bring sample albums and proof books showing various full weddings. If after we have met I send out the contracts. Once the contract is signed and the deposit is paid your date is booked in. The deposit is 20% of your package price, the balance is due one month before the wedding. If you live in another part of the country we can either chat on the phone or arrange a Facetime/Skype call for our initial meeting. I have a lot of customers that no longer live in the Manchester area, but are coming back to get married.

 

What is your style of photography ?

My answer: Friendly ! I know that most people do not like having their photo taken…I’m not so keen myself. For the most part of the day I will be taking candids…watching you and your guests and capturing what’s happening. I have lots of galleries online, and will discuss your requirements when we meet up. I tend to be as unintrusive on your wedding day as possible… “My husband and I would highly recommend Ric. Ric is easy to talk to and puts you at ease especially if you don’t like to get photographs taken – you forget he is there (in a nice way!) Ric made our wedding day extra special with the finished photographs as we relive our amazing day again and again. Thanks again ric :)” Sarah and Lee – Speke Hall Wedding

 

Can I have group shots ?

My answer: Of course, It’s your wedding, I’m there to capture the day how you want. During our meetings we plan the timeline of the day, so that we can get what ever photographs are important to you. Some of my couples just want 3 or 4 group shots whilst others want 20-30.

 

What happens if the weathers bad ?

Ask your photographer, are they okay with studio lights, what would their plan be ?

My answer: We have a plan ! During our meetings we will talk and plan about what will happen. I have my own studio and I am more than happy at bringing in studio lights etc to light up any venue should we need to be inside. A lot of winter weddings are all shot inside and so bad weather at a wedding is not a problem. Even if it is raining/snowing etc there are ways a good photographer can use the weather creatively.

 

How long till I get my photos ?

My answer: I aim at getting your gallery online within 2 weeks from your wedding date, you would be sent a password to view them. Then the disk/USB stick would be sent out. If you are having the Photo Booth, the Photo Booth images go online within 48 hours of your wedding.

 

How long does an album take to produce ?

My answer: Once you have selected your images it generally takes 1-2 weeks for me to design your album, and depending on which album manufacture it is with, it can then take 1 -6 weeks for delivery. Most of my Wedding Albums are handmade in Italy and they generally quote me 4-6 weeks for delivery. I do have some albums that can be made very quickly, though still excellent quality. One bride last year was flying back to America 3 days after the wedding, her album was with her on the plane !

 

Is it you that turns up on the day ?

Whilst this may seem obvious, some photographers have ‘associates’, other photographers that work for them. So it’s definitely worth checking. If they do work with associates ask them to meet the person who would be attending…you’re going to be spending a lot of your wedding day with this person…you want someone you like !

My answer: Yes, I am the person that would be attending on your wedding day. If you book me, it’s me that turns up !

 

How do you dress ?

Sounds silly but I have seen Videographers turn up at weddings in Jeans !

My answer: I work with a lot of different cultures and will dress accordingly. For most weddings I will be in a dark suit, dark shirt. I don’t wear a tie as they get in the way, I’ve tried !

 

Do I need a second photographer ?

A lot of Photographers offer two photographers to “capture all the angles from the day”, to be honest most of these tend to be Husband and Wife, Boyfriend and Girlfriend teams. I’m sure some of them are very good, but you are really paying for one main photographer and their second half…who are generally are not ‘really’ photographers.

My answer: It’s up to you, personally I don’t think it’s necessary for most weddings. I photograph weddings with up to 600 guests on my own, quite easily. I do sometimes shoot with a second shooter if the Bride and Groom want, the only reason is normally if you wanted Bride and Groom prep photographing and it was in two separate locations. The second shooters I use are professional photographers ( not my wife, she does take a mean iPhone pic though !) A second shooter costs £250 added onto any package price, this is for 8 hours.

 

What equipment do you shoot with ?

I know, another technical one. Whilst equipment is not what makes a good photographer good…it certainly helps. Your main reason for asking is to see if they have backup gear…what happens if something breaks. A very good photographer can take amazing photo’s with a relatively cheap camera. However they must have backups. It also works the other way, having £10,000 worth of camera is completely pointless if you don’t know how to use it . I would expect any professional wedding photographer to have at least two camera bodies with them on the day, and various lenses to suit the venue where you will be. They should also have lights, big and small, backups of everything !

My answer: I currently shoot with 2 x Canon 5dSR camera’s with a Canon 5d Mark 3 camera as a backup. I always have at least four camera bodies with me. I have a variety of lenses, for the photography geeks out there I currently shoot with a Canon 35mm f/1.4L, Canon 50mm f/1.2L, Canon 85mm f/1.2L, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8ISL, Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS, Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS and a Canon 65MPE f/2.8 5-1 macro lens.

 

Were you ever in the cubs ?

It’s an important question, show’s their character ;-)

My answer: When I showed my 10 year old this he said “that’s a strange question Dad”……”Be prepared” Cub scout motto…as a Wedding Photographer I like to be ‘very’ prepared !

 

Do we have to feed you ?

My answer: No you don’t have to feed me, I know this has been something that a lot of photographers have in their contracts, my Wife sends me with a packed lunch !

 

How do you take your coffee ?

My answer: Who me…a drop of milk, no sugar thanks…I’m afraid at certain points of the year I live on caffeine, so if there’s one going at the wedding, I’d be more than happy to accept.

{2018 update: very sadly…I am now 3 years caffeine free, so if there’s a decaf going, I’ll gladly accept ;-) }

 

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