Getting together as a photographer and client can be anxious on both sides. What if you don’t ask the right questions or you forget to ask the questions you’ve been wondering all along? Here’s a small guideline for questions that can help streamline your consult.
1. Go over the date chosen, and Times or Packages needed.
This may be a silly, because it should have already been talked about by the time you get together. It’s good to make sure that you are both on the same page and make sure the photographers schedule is free for that. Once a date is chosen, it is good to determine how many hours will be needed and make sure that is in budget for the couple. Some photographers have set packages, other may be able to customize a package. Make sure to go over what is included, what is expected, and the turn around time on when the photos will be included. These things should always be outlined in a contract that you all can go over together at the consult or the couple can go over together at a later time.
2. Sunset & Time of Ceremony
This is one of my top priorities when I meet with my clients because this determines how the whole day with go. There are factor that play into each timeline, but the biggest thing that you can’t change is the amount of light during that day. If you don’t want to see each other before walking down the isle, you will need plenty of time after the ceremony to get pictures of not only family, but the entire bridal party, and your bridal portraits. Most don’t want their pictures to be dark using flash, so it’s great to take into account what time sun sets and plan for your ceremony at least 2-2.5 hours before sunset in case things run late. To find what time the sun sets, type into google sunset, the date you are getting married, and the city you’re planning on getting married to determine that. It’s always best to consult with your photographer about their thoughts on ceremony and how much time to allot for pictures.
3. First Look?
Here is one of those variables for the timeline of a wedding– are you going to see each other before the ceremony? Some people don’t know what this is, but it’s just what it implies, the first time you look at each other in your wedding attire. It gives you as a couple time together to see each other and revel in those emotions together. This isn’t a requirement for many photographers, but some require it in order to complete their job to the fullest extent. A first look not only allows for pictures to be completed in a timely manner, you don’t have to worry as much about making your ceremony 2-2.5 hours before sunset. This allows for bridal party, family and bridal portraits to be done prior to the ceremony. Some couples say that they feel more at ease and not afraid to show emotions because there isn’t a ton of people watching.
4. Are you getting ready at the same location or at separate locations?
As we talked about packages, this is one thing to determine– will there be a second shooter? If there is an additional photographer at a wedding, it is easier to get ready at two locations because they can split up. If there is only one photographer, there is a lot of time lost traveling between the two locations. Something to think about and discuss when planning a wedding and hiring your photographer.
5. What time is send off?
I’ve found this is a super important question, and helps with my timeline for my couples. Most start off with “What time will you start?” That’s absolutely great question, but I prefer to ask, “When is your send off, or are you having one?” The reason I ask this is because if my couples are having a send off, I don’t want to leave before hand and miss out on that event. By determining what time send off is, we can better determine starting time. If there isn’t a grand exit and send off, then the next thing to think of is how long will you want your photographer at the reception? Couples: here’s a way to think about it; if we are only at your reception for an hour, you will have to jam pack all the fun things really fast (like cutting the cake, first dance, dances with parents, bouquet toss and garter toss). That gives you no time to sit down, eat and relax for even 30 minutes. We want you to be able to mingle and enjoy. So to send off or not?
6. Are you going to do all the traditional reception activities?
This includes, first dance, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance, bouquet toss, garter toss, and cake cutting at a minimum. There are other fun traditions that others do, but these are the most common. Sometimes there are certain circumstances that prohibit an activity being completed, for example, a parent passing away. We as photographers want to know details so we can be prepared wedding day and informed what is happening at the reception.
7. Do you have a coordinator?
All I can say is, if you have the budget for it, please hire a coordinator! They keep things running smoothly and relieve you as a couple of stress. If you do not have a coordinator, be prepared for your photographer to take over and direct things. Someone will need to make things run smoothly so make sure that you have a photographer that will be able to take control of things.
8. What are your must have pictures?
Pinterest is our best friend for this, but please realize these are just ideas, and there isn’t a way to create the exact photos that someone else has created. This is a rough guideline to make sure that you get the pictures you want, or at least your top 5. I tell my brides that I like to just go with the day and capture your day as it progresses, but if there are things you absolutely have, I limit it to your top 5 must have, otherwise we will be taking pictures of someone else’s big day instead of focusing on your day and how it makes your feel.
9. Can we visit the venue together?
I always like to go with my couples to the ceremony and reception location to think of where we would like to take pictures throughout the day. It helps us to be on the same page and create the pictures of your dreams!Hopefully these tips help you when you meet for a wedding consult and can make planning a little less stressful for both parties!