Twenty Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer – a little question and answer session with Alan Hutchison of Alan Hutchison Photography
Choosing your wedding photographer is one of the key items on any couples’ wedding planning list. Your wedding photographs are one of the few tangible things that will remain long after your wedding day so it makes sense to give your photographer a bit of a grilling before making your final decision. So what wedding photography questions should you ask?
Well to help with your decision-making process, I thought I would suggest some sensible wedding photography questions, and at the same time give you my response. Kind of like talking to myself really (but don’t tell anyone).
So here we go: Twenty Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer
1. How would you define your style?
I personally shoot mostly with a photojournalism (or reportage) style, but I mix this with a blend of contemporary fashion-inspired images. We call this “Weddings with WOW“. Ultimately , I work with you to get the final “mix” just right, but I aim for a contemporary rather than traditional look. I want to be able to tell the story of your day in pictures, and ensure everyone has a relaxed and fun time doing it and at the same time give you some images of YOU that ALL of your guests would like to hang on their wall. You can find out a bit more about our style of photography here.
2. I have certain ideas I would like – can you do these?
Of course – I love to hear new ideas. I’ll try anything and work with you to get the look you want (Within reason – just don’t mention parachutes).
3. Can you show me a complete set of recent wedding pictures?
On this website you’ll find some of of the weddings we feature on our blog (sadly we don’t have time to feature them all) and our Wedding Portfolio. However, when I meet you both face to face to present my photography, I will show you examples of a number of completed weddings – so you are seeing what a final finished album would look like, rather than just my favourite images.
4. Are you insured?
Yes, I am fully insured for Public Liability and Professional Indemnity and all our equipment is covered for loss damage, flood, plagues of locusts etc.
5. Are you a member of any professional photography organisations?
Yes. I am very proud to be a fully qualified member of the Master Photographers Association (MPA) and I hold a Licentiate qualification with them. I am also a fully qualified (ASWPP) member of the Society of Wedding and Portrait Professionals (SWPP). I hold an Associate qualification with the SWPP which is the second highest level of qualification generally available and only held by a very small percentage of Professional Wedding Photographer in Scotland.
6. What happens if you fall ill on the day?
I take an aspirin and plough on. On a more serious note, being a member of two professional associations, I have access to their “SOS” systems to help out in a crisis. I also maintain reciprocal relationships with a number of other photographers who offer standby support if such an event were to occur.
7. What happens if your camera develops a fault?
I have backups, and I have backups for my backups. Basically I have a huge range of professional camera equipment and I duplicate everything. So if a camera or lens were to fail I have another to hand. That also applies to our computer equipment for processing your photos and how we store your valuable image files. We have numerous file backup systems and keep two copies of our images off-site at all times.
8. What happens if it rains?
We all might get a bit wet and I love a good challenge! Unfortunately in Scotland, this does tend to happen quite frequently, so I always plan for it and will discuss a “plan B” with you before the big day. I also carry a couple of very handy large umbrellas and my cameras can withstand a lot of rain – basically it won’t stop you having stunning pictures. (One of our best ever weddings was shot in Monsoon rain conditions on a dark November afternoon – and one of the images from that wedding won us the SWPP Members’ Choice Wedding Photographer of the Year 2010.)
9. Can my other guests take pictures?
Of course they can. I positively encourage them to get involved and can quite often be found handing out little titbits of advice to fellow photography enthusiasts.
10. Can you take a picture of my favourite Aunt / Uncle / Cat etc and how long will all the family group shots take?
Yes, yes, and yes – if there are any “must-have” pictures on the day, just let me know. All I do ask is, that if there are a lot of “formal” group images to be taken, then please allow me a little more time within your planning schedule.
When working out the time required between the Ceremony and the Reception I always suggest allowing 5 minutes per formal family group and if you are doing a group shot of all guests then allow 15 minutes. Then add 15 minutes for the general congratulatory hugs etc after the ceremony.
Think about how much time you want to spend your two selves on your Couples shots – the longer you spend the better results, but ideally we like to spend about 30-45 minutes with a couple on their own.
Typically most weddings we photograph will have one large group photo of everyone and typically around eight to ten formal family group photos, so this still gives you plenty of time to get back to your guests and mingle before sitting down for the Wedding Breakfast.
Okay that’s the first ten of twenty questions to ask your wedding photographer – phew! If you’re still with me we’ll carry on….
11. When will I see my pictures and when will I receive my Album, oh and do I get digital copies of my images?
My objective is to have your images ready for viewing by the time you return from Honeymoon (14-21 days generally).
I initially layout the draft album design and will then sit down with you to approve the final layout. Once finalised I then allow two to four weeks to get the album back from the printers and into your hands.
We provide a disk of digital images with all of our wedding collections – in this modern age of electronic communications we believe it would be ridiculous not to provide you with these. Please note that copyright remains with us as the photographer, however we grant you a license to use the images for personal use. We also provide an online gallery where friends and family can order copies of any prints.
12. How can I actually be sure that you’ll be any good and that we’ll get along?
Well I’ve won numerous awards and in 2010 I won the SWPP Members Choice Wedding Photographer of the Year award – the SWPP is one of the worlds largest associations for professional awards – the award was voted for by my fellow professionals.
Of course Wedding Photography is not just about the photography itself, it’s also about how we run our business and treat you as our valued client – that is very important to us and my wife Morag acts as client liaison to ensure we don’t miss anything. In recognition of our efforts in this area we were absolutely delighted and very honoured to be nominated as finalists in the Photography category in the Scottish Wedding Industry VOWS Awards for both 2011 and 2012.
On our album collections we also include a complimentary pre-wedding photoshoot, so you’ll have a chance to experience our photography skills first hand before the big day.
13. Being Wedding Photographer of the Year doesn’t that mean you’ll be out of my price range?
Our Signature Wedding Collections start from just £995 and we have a range of different options available, so we can provide you with award-winning photography whatever your budget. Apart from the Wedding Dress and the Wedding Rings, your Wedding photographs are most likely going to be the only tangible items you will have left after the big day – memories are precious, so you deserve the best of quality for your wedding day.
14. Who will actually take my photographs?
I personally shoot and process all the weddings myself (i.e. me, Alan Hutchison) and I work alongside my wife Morag as the Second Photographer on the day.
15. So if we have two photographers on the day – will that cost me more?
16. Do you cope well under pressure and what about any emergencies on the day?
Yes I’m a fairly relaxed individual, so I find I cope well with pressure – in 2010 we photographed Wimbledon Doubles Champion Jamie Murray’s Wedding. His Best Man was his brother and ATP Tour World number 3 Andy Murray, so the wedding was surrounded by the World’s media – that was a very high pressure situation as we also had to release a formal photograph to the World’s press just 30 minutes after the ceremony – not something we normally have to handle at a typical wedding. For emergencies we’ve found that keeping a sewing kit to hand is fine for 99% of all wedding emergencies.
17. (Possibly the most important wedding photography question) How far ahead do I need to book my photographer?
That is entirely down to you, but it’s such an important question, we devoted a whole page of the site to it! But general advice is to avoid disappointment you should try to reserve your date as soon as possible. However, in these modern times a lot of couples plan their wedding in a relatively short time period, so we can and do get bookings at relatively short notice. So the upshot is, book early if you can. But if you do have a last minute booking just ask – if we can’t help you, we can perhaps help find you an alternative photographer. Currently due to demand for our services we are booking weddings up to three years ahead.
18. My Wedding is not in Scotland is that a problem?
Not at all. Firstly we do weddings throughout Scotland – for more remote locations, or “Destination Weddings” as they are known, we ask for a small travel or accommodation supplement if a trip would require overnight accommodation. We can also do weddings anywhere in the United Kingdom and also Overseas – again we would add a travel supplement but this would be just to cover our expenses at cost. We have a vacation home in Florida so I’m used to working in very hot and very sunny conditions, so we wouldn’t have any problems photographing a Wedding in any location – just ask.
19. Wonderful. How do we take this forward?
It’s very straightforward. Why don’t we arrange an initial meeting, you can tell us all about your wedding plans and we can show you some more of our work? We are based just outside Stirling and have a purpose built viewing gallery in our studio so that we can present our work to you in the best way possible. If you are contacting us from a distance or are based overseas we can arrange a telephone conference call and present our work to you over the Internet.
20. Great. How can we get in touch?
Easy. Complete our enquiry form or give us a call on 01786 448546 or 07887 835431.
21. I’m a fellow photographer and this is a very useful document, Can I copy this and put it on my own website (PS I thought you said there were only 20 questions ;-) )
Sadly I have to ask you kindly to respect our copyright and please do not copy the text. The key reason is to protect our (and your) search engine rankings – if additional copies of this text end up on other websites the Google search robots flag the page as “duplicate content” and our search engine ranks (and yours) will be penalised – so please be so kind as to respect our wishes. If you don’t we’ll set Liam Neeson on you ;-)
Right. Just one more question. Can I get a coffee?
Of course, the coffees are on me.
So there you have it – if you have any other wedding photography questions not on this list, please feel free to ask me directly.
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