Having recently had a phone call from a distressed bride who had received a letter from her wedding photographer cancelling the booking she had made over 12 months ago without any explanation got me thinking about questions you should be asking a photographer before booking them. Naturally you need to like their photographic style, know that they will cover the parts of the day that you want them to do and think that you will be able to get along with them on your wedding day. However, there are other questions that are all too frequently overlooked when discussing your needs with a potential photographer. For your peace of mind you should ensure the following:
• Do they have a contract? This is drawn up by the photographer and will cover what you can expect from them, what they expect from you and what will happen in the event of things not going to plan (illness or loss of images for example) If you find yourself without a photographer, or with ruined images or something else that does not comply with the terms of the contract then you would be entitled to claim compensation;
• Insurance – the photographer should be covered for :
o public liability (should they break anything or injure anyone while working for you);
o equipment (so that they do not find themselves without a crucial bit of kit on your wedding day);
o professional indemnity (in the event that you decide to sue them because you hate the photographs) This level of cover is only provided by dedicated photo pro insurers (worryingly I was told by more than one general provider that professional indemnity insurance was not relevant to photographers as it was only used by people who are offering professional advice).
Check that they have this kind of cover before you sign anything;
• Membership of a professional body, for example SWPP. They can act as a third party in the event of a dispute.
Ensuring your photographer has the above means that you not only have the peace of mind that you are protected, but it is also a good indicator that the photographer is a serious professional who values their customers and will offer a high standard of service throughout your dealings with them.
Happily I am available for this wedding and I am very much looking forward to our pre-wedding shoot next week.