Important Questions To Ask Your Photographer Before You Invest!

Mike and I have heard so many stories of brides not getting what they should have on their Best. Day. Ever! This is heartbreaking for us. So we’ve come up with a series of questions you should be thinking about when hiring a professional photographer. We care about your special day and don’t want you to have anything but good memories and fun stories! We’re here to help! M+J

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CONGRATULATIONS on getting engaged!!

We are so excited for you and declare you will have

the Best. Day. Ever!!

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photo by M+J Photography

You’re engaged!!  The planning has begun. If you’re thinking about how you can ensure you have the right photographers for your Best. Day. Ever! consider a few things.  After all, this day will be one of the few dates you remember forever, with only your memories and photographs to look back on.

A few things to consider to protect the most important things on your day. It’s also good for your peace of mind — know you’re in good hands with trusted professionals, and avoid the nightmare of alarming  things like “I didn’t get that photo” or you never get your photos or album that was promised.  Worse yet, your photographer doesn’t show!  This isn’t to alarm you, these are just things we have heard over the years and it’s unfortunate.  It breaks our hearts!!

The most important questions you will want to consider and/or ask the photographers you are considering for one of the most important days of your life.

1.  What exactly am I getting in this package?  

You will want to know exactly what is included OR worse yet, what is NOT included in your package or whatever terms you agreed upon.  Does the time they have committed to include travel time from ceremony to reception if in two different locations?  Do I get all my photos, some of my photos, a specific number of photos?  Are they ALL fully edited, high resolution images?  Am I going to have to choose which ones I want and how many of those are edited?  Are there extra cost with upgrading products, like keepsake albums (additional pages, engraving, etc.)?  Do you get photos of all the details, like the decor, tables and rings.

This will also tell you if they have an assistant, a second photographer and when a second photographer is necessary, and more!

2.  Have you photographed in this venue before?

This actually shouldn’t matter.  I know you may think it does but it doesn’t!  Let me explain further.  If a photographer is a good photographer, it won’t matter if they have taken photos of another wedding in that venue before.  A professional photographer is naturally creative!  They will actually have a fresh eye on backgrounds, places to take photos and much, much more!  Also a photographer should ALWAYS visit the venue PRIOR to the wedding scoping out locations for photos, backgrounds, lighting, sun placement, shadows and more.  In fact, this is a good time to do a walk through of the venue with your photographer approximately 30-45 days prior to your Best. Day. Ever!  If your photographer doesn’t plan on any of this, then they may not be a good fit.  However don’t close your mind to only choosing a photographer who has photographed the venue before.  It shouldn’t even be a consideration when choosing a photographer.

Besides, the time of day, the lighting, the sunset, the weather, the couple…. all things change.  Look at this photo we got the first time we ever photographed a wedding at Tom Hans Lighthouse.  These colors are real ladies!  Pinky Swear!

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photo by M+J Photography

3.  Who is the photographer who will actually show to take photos?

Great question!  Are you hiring a photographer that works with a team of other photographers?  Make sure, make sure, make sure, you know who is planning on showing up.  This is critical.  This is the photographer you are sharing all your plans with for that day.  The person who should be taking notes on what photos you want, what part of the venue do you love the most, critical moments during your day that you want captured.  Are they actually the ones coming to take the photos?  And if so, what happens in the event of an emergency?  Who shows then?  Do they have a contingency plan?  If they do, how will they get all the necessary information and vision communicated?

4.  How long will it take for me to get my photos after my Best. Day. Ever!?

The truth is, post processing takes time.  If your photographer says you will be getting your photos in a couple of days, this is a red flag.  That brings me back to my first question regarding what are you getting in your package.  I can tell you that Mike and I tell our couples it will take 6-8 weeks.  We usually don’t take that long but we would rather deliver the photos earlier rather than late.  Your photographer should be taking the time to carefully select the BEST of the best, only providing you with the photos that you will swoon over.  In addition, and even though most photos taken should be close to perfect, there are things a camera cannot control….. blemishes, red skin tones, distractions in the background, hair fly aways and more.  Some attention to detail should be made to these things in post processing.  Every attention to detail should be corrected in post processing and that takes time.  Besides, in the meantime, you will be enjoying each other on a Mediterranean cruise or the sipping drinks on the beach on a remote island.  You will have some sneak peaks to enjoy upon your return.  Then once you get settled in and back to your regular routine, BOOM!  Your photos are done!! You’re welcome 🙂

5.  Do you guarantee your services with 100% customer satisfaction?

I actually don’t know of ANY photographer that does this!  Well, except for Mike and I :). Why other photographers don’t do this is because they are in the photography business.  We are in the people business.  An average photographer isn’t invested in your marriage.  They are collecting a paycheck.  They collect your deposit, then see you MAYBE 1 or 2 times before and then on your day.  This is a whole other can of worms we can talk about later BUT this is not an investment into your life or marriage.  This is a job.  I won’t apologize for my directness on this topic because I’m passionate about it.  This is where I will tell you the difference between a paid photographer and investing in a photographer.

Investing in a photographer that wants to provide and experience with a spirit of excellence will make all the difference in the world.  You may not think so now but do you want to look back on this day and have any regrets toward the photographer you chose?  I think not!  This is the one thing that will remain after all the cake has been eaten, the music has stopped and the honeymoon is over.

These are the photos that you will share when all your friends come over for dinner and game night.  These are the photos that your children will look at while sitting on your lap and saying “ewe” when they see mom and dad kissing.  And don’t forget the grandkids!  As you advance in years, your grandkids will want to see what grandma and grandpa looked like all those many years ago and to see your wedding photos will instill family values in them.  And they will say how funny your hair looked all those years ago and you will giggle together.

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photo NOT by M+J

6.  How many other weddings will you photograph that day / weekend?

If you think your day is all about you when it comes to hiring a paid photographer versus investing in a photographer, then think again!  Paid photographers are trying to squeeze wedding in after wedding.  This is common when hiring a photographer for a small fee.  They can’t live on that.  I once heard about a photographer who agreed to do a wedding in Las Vegas for $80!  And yes, he said he would have to “squeeze” her in that day.  No! No! No!

This is also a good time to ask them if they could stay longer should you want them to.  After all they aren’t “squeezing” you in right?  You may decide that everyone is still having so much fun at the reception, you want to have the photographer stay and get some fun dancing photos.  Be sure to know in advance what the additional investment is so you don’t have to think about that, just a simple “can you stay another hour or two?”

Your day should be set aside for you and you only.  This is one date out of maybe 5 you will remember forever.  You will celebrate this day every year for the rest of your life with your best friend.

7, 8 & 9.  What is your style?  How many weddings have you photographed?  Have you photographed a wedding like mine?

In our opinion, these questions are fluff.  Before meeting with a perspective photographer, you would have already seen their work.  I hope!  Check their website, Instagram, Facebook and Yelp! BEFORE meeting with them.  The website will have a portfolio, a few images for you to see.  The best of the best.  And if you like the style…… keep on stalking! 🙂

Instagram and Facebook will have more of their work, behind the scenes, and some information about them.  You will get a feel for who they are and if you think you would be a good fit.

Please, please, please check Yelp! and Google for reviews.  What are others saying about them?  This is so important.  And if you want to know more, and you want to meet with this photographer after reviewing all this, then simply ask to have coffee with them.  Once you are 90% sure you would like to hire them….. ask them to share some references.  Then you could talk with a few brides and get all the goods.  The photographer shouldn’t mind and brides LOVE talking about their Best. Day. Ever!  Besides, you might get a few good ideas from a bride who already got married!

It never hurts to ask them how long they have been in business.  All of these things will help you determine how vested they are in themselves, their business and more importantly YOU!

Possible examples of a “paid photographer” :):)

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photos NOT by M+J

versus a “professional photographer” :):)

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photo by assistant photographer of M+J Photography

Simply Put……..

The photographer you invest in will be a clear indication of the value YOU put on your memories.  Ladies….. please don’t settle on this or any of these truths mentioned.  And once you have decided you have found the one photographer you can’t imagine your wedding without, then there are some technical questions you don’t want to forget if it hasn’t already been covered in your talks.  You can get those questions here!

Before you go!

If you are still with us…. allow me to paint a picture of what you should expect from your photographer.  Whether it’s with us or someone else!  We want you to look back on your Best. Day. Ever! and remember nothing but love and fun and joy!

The Mike and Jenn Experience goes beyond taking your photos and this is why we are so passionate about the questions above and much more.

We are a dynamic force of creativity and fun that focuses on every detail and exist to serve brides with an experience that creates an environment for you to be the best version of yourself.  We guarantee that your photos will tell a story of your Best. Day. Ever!, alleviating any concern that every part of your day will be captured and remembered for years to come.

Here are some of the things that are included in the Mike and Jenn Experience (cherry on the top)……..

  • We walk through the season of planning your day with you.  It’s true!  Consider us an extension of your bridal party.  Anything you need, we are there.  All our couples come to consider us family, sometimes even before their wedding day!  You will want to join us for our annual summer BBQ too!
  • A run sheet of the day.  This is something your event planner, if you choose to have one, would normally do.  And we’d be happy to work with her and all your other hired professionals to include their part of the day as well.  This is a bonus with us!  It will have all details on when we are taking photos, and a list of the photos that must be captured.  This is the list that you give us when completing your wedding questionnaire.  But don’t fret…. you won’t have to worry about knowing when to be where.  We will do it for you!!
  • We keep in touch with and take care of your other hired professionals, encouraging them to contact us if they have any needs.  Especially on the day of…… we don’t want any issues to arise that would jeopardize how much fun you are having!  In addition, we take photos of their work and provide them AFTER you have had a couple of months to enjoy them yourself.  This way they can have lots of photos of you to share with other couples.  We love helping other businesses grow too!!
  • Lots of little surprises throughout your planning and beyond!  This the part of the Mike and Jenn Experience that well….. you just have to experience for yourself.

Who are we?

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photo by assistant photographer of M+J Photography

We are Mike and Jenn Photography.  We love love.  We like to enjoy life.  We believe in marriage and that it is forever.  We enjoy doing life together.  If you want to know more about us, we’d love to hear from you!  You can visit us here, here and here.  Oh and don’t forget to check what others are saying about us on Yelp! and Google.

We want to hear a more about your day and we’d be happy to help you tailor your photography and other needs for your Best. Day. Ever!  We’re here to help you…. even if you choose another photographer.  🙂 Because the best fit matters the most!

Happy planning!! 🙂