16 Questions you need to ask your Wedding Photographer

by Namrata Nautiyal
8 comments
Wedding Photographer

A wedding is incomplete without the perfect photographer and in today’s day and age that photographer includes – candid + traditional + cinematographer + some other things as well. We think that life will get easier with new innovations and new technologies, but it just gets more complicated. Or so is my personal opinion.

Indian wedding photography. Bridal photo shoot ideas. Candid photography  Indian bride wearing bridal lehenga and jewelry. #IndianBridalHairstyle #IndianBridalMakeup

I have been looking out for a photographer (photography agency) to cover my wedding for a long time now. In the process, I have already made an excel sheet giving them ranks out of 5 based on their facebook or website pictures, quotations for traditional photos + videos to candid photos + cinematography + wedding film + album (coffee table book, matte finish or gloss) all documented in one place.

If any of you want to get some rough idea about these agencies, let me know and I will share that sheet with you 🙂

I think with every meeting with these guys, I have learnt something new. From understanding the logic behind ridiculously high costs to the timelines required for delivery to also meeting agencies which want to trick me, I have been through it all. In fact, I am still going through it.

So with all this happening, I thought it would be nice to share a list of questions that YOU need to ask your photographer before making that final booking. Its of utmost importance that one clarifies on every point beforehand to avoid any discrepancies later on. In most cases what happens is we book the agency months before, we decide on things and they send out their terms and conditions across which you sign at the moment. But there is always some plus minus happening during wedding planning. Its important that you have your set of QnA’s sent out and answered over mail just so there is no room for any arguments in the future.

Wedding Photographer

So here goes…

P.S. These are the questions that I had recently sent out to an agency which I was planning on selecting. [I don’t think its working out with them]

 

#1 Who would be the Photographers and Cinematographers?

Ask the agency to send their profile i.e. their work, experience, the weddings they have covered…also, if they have covered your kind of wedding in the past. Very important. The more the experience, the more they can charge you and that’s valid. Otherwise NOT!

But what I have seen is nowadays with this latest fad going around of wedding photography, any agency proclaims to be excellent charging exorbitant amounts without any reason. Its sometimes gets quite difficult to reason with these guys…so careful about that.

Get the whole (exact) idea of who will be around to click your pictures and video.

 

#2 Meet the Photographer & Cinematographer

Extremely important. After all, they are going to be part of such a monumental occasion in your life. At least you should be able to get along with the team. They need to make you feel comfortable and at ease during all the “pressure-cooker” times of the wedding 🙂

Take some time out and go and get to know them. If they are making that effort to get to know you, your story, you need to build a rapport with them too.

Wedding Photographers

Source – Pinterest

Do not compromise on this at any cost.

 

#3 Lens used by the Photographer & Cinematographer

Ok, this is not crucial as such, and if you are anything like me…you wouldn’t have any clue about photography except for blurred awesome images 😛 But even then, what is the harm in keeping the information. May be you can check it with someone who actually knows the stuff. Its just a good to know thing.

 

#4 What are the number of photos guaranteed (Candid +  Traditional – separate)

The key is to negotiate, negotiate, and negotiate some more. Nobody wants to do extra work (in editing etc) so agencies by default try to give the lowest possible number of pictures. Do not agree at the first go. Also, if possible ask for raw images as well…all of it !

May be just after the wedding these pictures will not have that much importance, but wait for a couple of years and come back to them…and you will relive that wonderful day with every single picture you have.

So please do not compromise on this quantity. More the better.

 

#5 Are there any fixed photo-shots that are guaranteed?

Indian wedding photography. Hindu wedding rituals

Source – Pinterest

What I mean by this is standard pictures like say in an Indian Wedding – when the groom applies sindoor on the bride’s maang, or the mangalsutra moment, jai mala moment, bidaai etc etc. There are tons of these standard moments which if missed are gone forever. Wouldn’t it then be nice if an agency is going to tell you upfront that these shots are definitely going to be covered.

Remember, everything in writing has more importance than blindly promised over a phone call or meeting. 

 

#6 Have a look at an actual (deliverable) album of their past client/s

Most of the time, what I was shown was a sample album. It honestly doesn’t give you any idea of what the final product will look like. Why? Because if you actually have a look at someones wedding album, you get to know if the agency has done a good job in including all the key pictures…the placement…how often has family been included…the kind of mix between candid and traditional shots and a whole lot more.

Wedding Album

Source – Weddingdocumentary.com

The feeling between seeing a sample album (one which has some model’s shots) and seeing an actual wedding album is two very different things. So, don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Insist on wanting to see at the very least 2 albums to get an idea of their work.

 

#7 Timeline for deliverables

Ask them to put down actual timelines from the start of the next day of the wedding to when they will send out raw images (if at all), processed images, images for the album, video, and whatever else. Break it down and get actual dates for each of these.

I honestly have no clue if agencies actually adhere to their timelines, but as a customer of their service, you are at loss if they cannot deliver as per their timeline. And I don’t know what one can really do about that. You just have to wait I guess.

 

#8 How many photos would be there in the album, the type of album

Try to get this number more as well 🙂 Normally, they have package deals where you can either go for say 300, 450, 500 images and so on. Again it depends upon your negotiation skills how far you can stretch the agency to give you what you want.

Albums are expensive these days. From what I have gathered, the prices go upwards 10k so why not get the most of out of it !

 

#9 What is the kind of editing for photos?

Every photography agency has some unique style of editing. While for some agency you might see a lot of colors, in others you might see a lot of soft shades and pastel kind of editing. Then there are some who love the black and white and vintage looking images. Depends. Also, the language I am using here is totally non-technical and I am sure incorrect…but you know what I mean naaa…

Wedding Photos

Source – 500px.com

Its important to know what your agency is comfortable with. At first, they may be like whatever you wish for is our command kinds. But beware, you might just end up getting something totally different at the end of the day. Its better if you have a look at some of their past clients deliverable’s to get an idea yourself.

I would suggest opt for an agency whose editing style you like. You can easily view the company’s facebook page…that’s the easiest way to know about this 🙂 Don’t ask an agency to do something that they don’t do usually or may not be so good at, you will only have yourself to blame later for this!

indian-wedding-portrait-black-white-bride

Source – Maharaniweddings

 

#10 Ask for all the un-edited raw images

I know, I know, many may not agree to this at all. But what’s the harm in trying. As I mentioned above, you will love to see these not right after the wedding, but years later. All these images will be priceless then. Also, photographers usually come with their DSLR’s, even the raw images won’t be that bad I can assure you.

So, just try your luck!

 

#11 What is in the package? – Couple Portraits, Getting Ready Shots, Pre-Wedding?

Some agencies might not give you core details of everything that will be covered. They might simply tell you, don’t take tension – just leave it upto us. DO NOT FALL FOR THAT !

Ask about every small little detail of what is included and not included in the package. They might get super annoyed with you, but that’s ok. Its your wedding, even they understand your need to be hyper. Its important to get these details sorted out, otherwise you will keep on spending additional amounts on the last day when the agency simply says no to your requests.

Wedding Photos

Source – Tumblr

 

#12 Talk to them about the decor of your wedding – stage, mandap, lighting

No photographer can just get up one day and come and shoot an entire wedding. If you need details, they need details too to do a good job. So, give them all the information. If you have a night wedding (like mine) its important to mention it – just so they are accordingly prepared with the lights, lens and whatever else they might require.

You may think it is not so important, and they will figure things out – but don’t leave that to chance. Make sure there is little or no scope of disaster. You don’t want to deal with all that on your wedding.

Wedding Decor

Source – blog.evantinedesign.com

One thing that I was thinking of was having lights on the reception stage. Now, I wasn’t sure whether changing light colors or just background lights will take away the show from me and my groom. While the decorators rule is to always flatter his work and his client’s ‘tastes’, a photographer will clearly tell you whether it is a good idea or not.

So, include him in that decision making. You don’t want to end up looking in rainbow colors because of the lighting. Things like these are important to clarify upfront before setting anything in stone.

 

#13 Watermark, Company Logo on the photos?

Nowadays, all the photography agencies put their watermark or company logo in the wedding pictures. I find that ok to some extent but somewhere I don’t know I feel like erasing it also. I just want to see the picture. Not read the company logo in every picture. Its a little annoying.

So check with your agency if they are flexible with it. May be you can negotiate basis, all social media pictures can have the logo but otherwise no logo maybe? Or something of that sort…But important to find out.

Indian Weddings

Source – Wedmegood

 

#14 Is their any time limit for the shoot?

Weddings by default go on for way longer than anticipated. You don’t want to be then caught off-guard with extra time charges by the agency. Find out if they have any time limits for covering the wedding. The best way to do this is give them proper idea of the function timings…considering they are in the business, they will be able to figure out better than you how long the event will go on.

So, the key is to provide them with the smallest of the details of all the functions…

 

#15 Do you want your pictures splashed on the company site and their facebook page?

Somebody told me once that agencies charge extra if you want to maintain your privacy online 😕 Already things are expensive, so better find out about this as well. If at all this is the case…keep a condition that all images need to be pre-approved by you before being uploaded. Also, the number of pictures allowed to be uploaded. Try to being it as down as possible. That’s the only way.

perfect indian wedding photo booth!

Source – Pinterest

 

#16 What about backup photographer & cinematographer?

You are booking the agency months in advance. Things change overnight and months is a long way to go. So, make sure you know who the agency is blocking as their backup photographer and cinematographer for your wedding. Normally once booked is booked…but sometimes crazy things happen. And you really don’t want to be in the middle of that mess.

Find out who is assigned to you…and take a call if you are ok about those back up photographer and cinematographer. At the last minute, you might just get anybody just showing up to cover your wedding…then doing all of the above points just becomes one big fat waste !

 

These were some of the questions that I had in mind whenever I sat to finalize any photographer…Do you have any other questions that you feel should be included in this list?

 

P.S. Also, who is your wedding photographer?

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8 comments

Anuja Shah August 17, 2015 - 2:21 pm

Hey,
A much needed post. All the points r apt. Also, i would advise to take the event wise break up from the agency/photographer. Earlier me n my groom were planning to keep a common photographer – i just wanted to cover the wedding (2 mains- one for my side, one for his, n 1 assistant) whereas he wanted him for mehendi (1 main, 1 assistant), reception (2 assistant or 1 main and 1 assistant) as well as pooja (2 assistants)- n he gave us an entire package but since both of us were keeping it common we asked for a event wise break up coz only the wedding is my side of function – and wat arrived did not make any sense – in the sense that the main photographer is the costliest n the assistants r cheaper n u can calc n derive their costs based on the package, however since the quotation was not in our budget we tweaked it a bit deciding to cut the assistants in some functions n replacing the main with the assistant in mehendi etc… however, that dint work – with the photographer insisting that the overall package wont fall below a particular amt.

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Frugal2Fab August 17, 2015 - 2:37 pm

Hey Anuja,
Glad you liked the post. I am surprised the photographer actually gave you a event wise break up. None of the guys I spoke were willing to. In fact, I kept pestering them about the cost factor, but somehow its really difficult to judge the pricing of a service provided. Another thing I noticed is agencies which were charging X amount till like last year have increased their rates by twice-thrice this year. And its all the more worse during peak seasons. No negotiation possible.

This particular agency I was in talks with had some photographers on their panel, and got the rest as freelancers as per the need. So, ultimately they made their margin and were giving newbies in the name of authentic work. For the longest time, the person in charge wasn’t even telling me who would be covering the wedding…I have so many stories about photographers, I think I can write another post on them >_< Sick of all these wedding vendors!

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Anuja Shah August 18, 2015 - 11:18 am

Hey,

We got the same after a lot of pestering n coz we told them that the gurl n the guy r keeping you as a common photographer n the guy sides functions r more- so if you dont give us a break up how do u divide the costs btw the two families etc etc…. ultimately he gave in.

Dude, don’t go with the freelancers you can get them for super cheap rates on your own- one of my friends even had two free freelancers at her wedding – (they clicked the pic for free as they needed to build their portfolio, they only charged for prints or gave her an option to take the pictures on a hard drive n get them printed on her own). Talk about the rates, all the wedding vendors have doubled their dates- heck the caterer also told me diwali k baad rate badh jayenge n one told me saal main do baar revise hote hai ek july main ek diwali k baad…

Wat i ve done with the photographer is i have gone for our family photographer who is traditional per se – n therefore cheap- i m gonna pick up a lot of candid images from the net n show it to him n tell him this is wat i m looking for…. n i trust that he ll b able to do it – the candid ones are way too expensive for my budget- n the traditional one’s cover the mangalsutra, sindoor, brides entrance n all the ceremony’s as such also- its just those candid pics like wearin my jewellery, applyin make up, drapin my duppata, my heels etc…which they don’t cover but i guess that can b managed by givin them a few references. Another advantage of havin a not so famous photographer is u can show them other ppl’s work n they are willing to replicate whereas the famous professional one’s will just do as they please or even tell u thats not my style etc etc.

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Frugal2Fab August 18, 2015 - 11:56 am

hahaha…that’s a nice way to ask the photographer to give a break up. I have given up on these “professional” agencies as well. I am already having my engagement photographer who was really good to cover all the candid shots at my wedding. Had booked him right on the day of the engagement itself 😀 Since I know him pretty well now, I know I will be in good hands. The rates between a freelancer or a newbie as compared to someone who has a company card is like zameen aasmaan difference. There is no head and tail to the amounts people charge and like you said, even I feel its pointless to go ahead with these guys. In the end you just end up spending huge sums and get mediocre work in the name of professional pictures.

I haven’t finalized my photographer yet, but even me and my fiance are planning to hire a traditional-trying-to-turn-candid-photography agency…who has covered my friends wedding. I saw their work, they did pretty good. Even made them a wedding teaser and a decently good attempt at a candid long video. So eventually, I think even I am going ahead with those guys. Less hassles, more accommodating and they are sure to be less fussy as compared to these new age photographers.

I think with all these photographers, off late there are so many agencies coming up, that its a matter of time when these ridiculous prices will slash down. They all need work, and no matter how many weddings, its not like traditional photographers are all running out of business. I feel we are the unfortunate ones standing at the edge of the tipping point made to pay these ransom amounts. A couple of years down the line, prices will hopefully get standardized. Yeh sab woh candid photos + cinematography ka bhoot is on. Should die down pretty soon till something better comes up 😀

I am thinking of pinning all the shots like you said – sindoor, jewellery, etc etc on the pinterest board and in the end just share that with the agency. Will tell them, give me some similar shots as those. In the end I think what we all are looking for are memories. I think that’s what matters. Not some flickr or pinterest worthy pictures.

I think when it comes to caterers, going for the combo deal with the venue is a good idea. I got a much reasonable price – much lesser than the caterers actual charges. I mean even he needs work, and we also have to get married…there has to be a compromise somewhere. They can’t just blatantly rob us in every category. Lehenga mein toh no deals are as such possible, but yeh sab mein relatively its negotiable. In fact I found caterers from outside charging way more as compared to the venue caterers. That was a little surprising.

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Neha August 21, 2015 - 1:22 pm

I think one should avoid all the photographers listed on ‘wedmegood’, ‘weddingsutra’ etc websites, since once they are listed there, their prices move up significantly.

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Frugal2Fab August 22, 2015 - 11:15 am

Haha..true…I had tried calling few photography agencies from wedmegood…but as you said, their rates were almost double, so I gave up. Honestly I have no clue how to judge decent photography in comparison to price. Nothing makes sense nowadays. Candid Photography now starts upwards 25k and cinematography touches 1 lakh easily when you speak to any ABC Agency. Super fed up. Half the time I feel the photos look ordinary for the exorbitant charges.

Unless and until one is going for known agencies like Wedding Salad or equivalent, I think the only way is to rely on the company’s facebook page or get some personal reference from friends. This one agency I was negotiating with brought down their price from 2 lakhs for the entire event to 1 lakh. The minute I saw such dramatic drop, I realized they are just faking it. There is no real value to what they are promising.

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Bhargavi February 26, 2017 - 2:15 am

Hey! First of all, I wanted to say thanks for your blog! It’s given me some really good ideas and advice, since I am also attempting to have a (relatively) budget wedding, which seems almost impossible nowadays! I am currently looking for a photographer, and I don’t have much time left now as I am getting married in June! Would you be able to share your list of vendors with me? That would really help me out. I don’t have any contacts in the bussiness so I have been looking up agencies through websites like wedmegood – but as a commentor has said above, these all seem to be waaay too expensive with packages that start at 1 lakh or so. So if you could give me any recommendations of who I should contact for more reasonable prices, please let me know!

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Frugal2Fab February 26, 2017 - 7:00 pm

Hi Bhargavi,
Congratulations on the wedding. Its going to be fabulous don’t worry. I am glad you found the blog useful. I will email you my photographer search list on your gmail id in some time. Although all of them were above 1 lakh budget = not useful to me either. But anyways, do have a look. All the vendors mentioned in that list are from Mumbai. I do have a few names, but they were moderately ok-ok kinds, so will suggest them if you can’t find anybody better.
In the meanwhile, check out Canvera There are lot of budget photographers listed on the site. I did my wedding photographer search through them, and they have lots of lesser known ‘gems’ listed there. But you have to do crazy negotiations.

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