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The #1 Question Couples Forget To Ask Their Photographer

Before we jump right into that question, it’s better to demonstrate WHY it’s so important through an example of what can happen if you don’t ask… 

Imagine this scenario for a moment… It’s your wedding day, and you’re on your way to the church or hotel to get ready, you’re with your closest friends and family, and you’re experiencing “all the feels” you’ve been anticipating for months (or even years) on one of the biggest and happiest days of your life. You’ve got all your girls (or guys) with you, your dress (or suit) is a perfect fit, you’re right on schedule, spirits are high, everything is going perfectly… so far. 

You’re having so much fun with your crew that you almost forget what time your photographer is supposed to show up. But eventually it enters your mind that something is off, or maybe your personal attendant or maid of honor or event planner are the ones that mention it to you… “Isn’t the photographer supposed to be here by now?” 

It’s only a few minutes past the agreed upon arrival time, so you try not to stress too much and assume they are just running a bit late. A few minutes go by, they still haven’t arrived. Feeling a little anxiety about the situation now, you decide to call the photographer… no answer. So you text, and wait a few minutes… no response. Now, you’ve still got “all the feels”, but not the right ones. Worry turns to anxiety, anxiety turns to stress, stress turns to panic, and now you’re so completely overwhelmed with furiously calling and texting and emailing your photographer, and getting no response, that the situation has completely consumed this part of your wedding day. With the photographer completely unresponsive and ridiculously late, you’re all out of sorts… your hair isn’t right, the dress doesn’t feel right, you’re feeling nauseous… but you can’t delay the wedding. And there’s no time to find a replacement photographer. It’s an icky feeling. 

Well, the wedding goes on, but it’s not like you expected. All the happy feelings you thought you’d have are drowned out by the awful feelings of stress and anxiety. You’re day isn’t ruined, but at the time it feels that way. The person you trusted to capture the images and memories of your biggest day, has unfortunately ruined your day… and there are no do-overs. 

So what happened? It might have been a number of things, perhaps your photographers fault, or perhaps not. Maybe they got so sick they couldn’t even communicate, maybe their child-care fell through, maybe they got in a car accident, or maybe they just plain forgot… Regardless of the cause, it doesn’t change the fact that they never showed up, and you didn’t have a professional photographer to capture your wedding. And even if the situation didn’t put you in a funky mood all day, you’ll never have those precious memories captured in imagery, so you can relive the day through the professional images you expected and paid for. 

The point of this story is not to scare you with the “doomsday scenario”, but rather to illuminate that this scenario, while rare, is possible. And it unfortunately does happen to couples from time to time (you can google it and find many real life actual stories of this happening). And when it does happen, it’s devastating. So while it’s extremely unlikely, the question you have to ask yourself is, how comfortable are you with some level of risk that if an emergency happens, the photographer that you’ve hired may not be able to show up and shoot your wedding? Assuming that your answer is that you’re “not very comfortable with the risk”, that leads us to the point of the entire email, and it may surprise not surprise you at this point, given the rather long lead-in… What is the #1 Question Couples Forget to Ask Their Wedding Photographer? 

What happens in the case of an emergency and you aren’t able to shoot our wedding (or you don’t show up to the wedding and we can’t reach you)? 

If you’re still looking for a photographer, and you haven’t asked this question, you might want to consider asking all of the photographers that you’re talking to. And while I can’t tell you what answer should make you sufficiently comfortable, and give you confidence that your photographer has you covered with a great emergency back-up plan… I can offer a perspective on some of what you may encounter as you search for that answer, and tell you what Studio 220 has in place for our clients. 

The challenge that most couples face in getting a sufficiently comforting answer to this question, is that the vast majority of wedding photographers are single operators, meaning they are the only photographer in their business, and they work with an assistant or a couple of assistants that don’t have their level of skill or experience. That in itself is not a bad thing. But the issue is risk. The risk of that photographer you hired to shoot your wedding getting sick, or getting in an accident on the way to the wedding, or having one of their kids get sick, or having their childcare fall through last minute. There’s dozens of things that could potentially go wrong on your wedding day that could result in your photographer not being able to shoot your wedding. And while we’ve heard that some photographers claim to have a network of equally talented backups, it’s really not feasible when you consider how that would actually work in a real life scenario. Would they commit that someone of equal talent is going to be available in an emergency? Would they give you access to the contact information of the person or people they have secured to be on-call? What happens if something happens to your hired photographer, like an accident on the way to the wedding, and they aren’t actually able to notify their back-up that there is even a problem? There’s just no realistic way that a sole proprietor can commit to having a guaranteed back up, of equal talent, with access to all of the information and details of your wedding, who can seamlessly step-in and shoot your wedding in any potential worst case scenario. So in our opinion, there really is no suitable answer to this question that a sole proprietor can give you. 

That said, you do have an option to work with a photographer that does have a great answer… At Studio 220, we have always been committed to having one of our Lead photographers (not assistant photographer) scheduled to be on-call whenever we have a wedding event booked, and that back-up photographer is paid to be on-call. This gives our clients total peace-of-mind that even if disaster strikes, they will have a Lead photographer from our studio that will be available to shoot their wedding, and that the photographer will have the skills and experience the clients paid for and expect. Additionally, because of all the systems and process investments we have made, all the relevant client information such as schedule, shot lists, notes and other information, is stored online and is easily accessible to the on-call photographer so they have everything they need to shoot the wedding event. This means that with Studio 220 our wedding clients can rest assured that even in an emergency, we have a Lead photographer on call and available to step in and seamlessly deliver the service they expect, and that peace-of-mind is priceless… because you don’t get to reschedule your wedding if your photographer doesn’t show up.

studio 220 photography, minnesota photography studio, rachel and bryant 2016

PS – Are you wondering about other questions to ask a wedding photographer? Check out our FAQ for a list of some of the most common questions to discuss with your wedding photographer –

What is a “Professional” Wedding Photographer?

With hundreds of people in this area claiming to be “professional” photographers, how do you know who actually is?

Planning a wedding and hiring a wedding photographer for many couple’s is both fun and somewhat stress-inducing. Most couples planning a wedding have never done it before, so the process can create some anxiety, in particular making big decisions about which vendors to work with. And while it’s great to rely on friends that have already been married for advice… we all know that doing something ONCE doesn’t make you an expert. So unless you’re working with a really experienced local wedding planner, it can be pretty overwhelming to consider all the options for venues, music, food, and especially… photography. 

As of the time this email was written, there were more than 1500 Wedding Photographers with profiles on theknot representing themselves as “professional” photographers in Minnesota. There are so many photographers making this self-assertion that it almost kind of dilutes the meaning of “professional”. 

So, what does it mean to actually be a professional photographer, and what do we mean at Studio 220 when we say that we are truly a Professional Studio… 

Well… it’s about more than just taking good pictures. There is a decent number of technically skilled photographers in the market, but that doesn’t mean there are a lot of great wedding and lifestyle photographers in the market that are running their business well professionally and consistently. In our opinion, a professional photographer or photography studio should do more than just deliver great images, they should deliver a great experience, and that means running a professional business. From our perspective, that means having a physical studio location with regular office hours, just like you’d expect from any other real business or company you’re working with. Most wedding couples would not be comfortable meeting a caterer at a coffee shop or their florist at a bar. And most of our family and lifestyle clients wouldn’t be comfortable buying “discounted” iPhones out of the back of a van or “discounted” steaks from a guy on the street (even if the guy was dressed like a chef). WHY? Because of trust. 

They want to trust that the people they are doing business are legitimate and reliable, and that the services or products they are getting are going to be good, and worth what they are paying. Having a physical business location for any business is in a way legitimizing that business or vendor, it validates that they have delivered a good service or good product, and done so enough to provide their customers with a physical business location that clients can actually walk into, and it gives clients peace of mind that they aren’t dealing with a fly-by-night-side-hustle operation that could be here today and gone tomorrow. Customers and clients want to have confidence and trust in the vendors and companies they buy from and work with, and in the photography business, having an actual physical studio location with regular business hours is one of the most important factors that contributes to that trust and confidence. 

We love our Studio home!

There’s more to it than just having a great studio, it also means operating in a professional way that customers and clients would expect any other business to run. Regular office hours and responsive communication are critical. Having a business and operating systems and processes in place to ensure that clients needs are met, deadlines and schedules are kept, communication and products/services are delivered accurately and on time, is exceptionally important. Why? Again, because of trust and confidence. Poor responsiveness, chaotic communication, missed deadlines, mismanagement of client information or data, can all destroy a client’s confidence and trust in their photographer, and that creates worry and anxiety for the client. Those are not feelings you typically want associated with your wedding or family photos. 

Unfortunately, many “professional” photographers have not put the appropriate amount of attention to these areas. And this is one of those areas of working with a photographer that is often overlooked by clients… until a problem occurs. It’s only at that point when a client becomes exposed to their photographers lack of investment in these areas, when they find out they are essentially managing their client relationships and events with a hodgepodge combination of outlook calendars, word and excel documents, and their own memory. 

At Studio 220 we do things quite differently. We believe that the trust and confidence of our clients is paramount. Our commitment is to leverage the best available technologies for business systems such as client management software, workflow management, product and order management, collaboration and communications tools to best serve our clients. We have invested substantial time and money into ensuring we have excellent processes in place, and we regularly re-evaluate our systems and processes to make sure we are always delivering a great experience. We have made significant investments in our physical studio, to provide a warm and welcoming environment for our clients and our staff. And we operate just like you should expect any real business to operate, with regular office hours, to ensure our clients can always reach us, or just stop in and say hello!

Are you planning a visit to the studio? Make some time to do a little exploring in our historic lakeside town of Excelsior and check out some of our favorite spots HERE!


Andrea & Alec’s outdoor wedding at The American Swedish Institute was simply stunning. This historical venue never disappoints.

Andrea, who admitted the nerves were real! She couldn’t wait to celebrate the day with Family & Friends. She thanks her late grandmother Evie as well as Alec’s Grandfather for it seemed as though the unbelievably perfect weather was defiantly a gift from them as they felt their presence watching over them on their special day!

THE PROPOSAL :: Alec & Andrea purchased their new home, and one day while doing some work, Alec’s mom had told Andrea that he needed some help in the basement….can you guess what was waiting for her? She got downstairs and Alec asked her to hand him a box and when she turned around to hand him said box, he was down on one knee!

Andrea wanted to keep things simple as the historic venue really speaks for itself, so her touches of floral and the sage green were a perfect pallet to compliment her vision!

The outdoor ceremony was simply stunning with the floral blooms just perfectly framing the scene as they exchanged their vows.

The sage green bridesmaid dresses were the perfect touch of color to make her florals pop. Andrea & Alec are fans of Norse Mythology and vikings, so the side braid inspiration was executed perfectly, and the floral crown as an accent of her Swedish Heritage was the perfect thing to bring her whole look together.

Andrea’s advice for all couples planning….. “Start planning early to get as much as you can done right away. Also, always check up on everyone so everyone is on the same page as you are.”

We absolutely loved working with Andrea & Alec and we wish them a lifetime of happiness!

VENDORS:: Photography: Studio 220 Photography Bree & Nicole | Venue: American Swedish Institute | Bridal Gown : Osseo Bridal Shop | Jeweler : Helzberg Diamonds | DJ: PM Enterprises | Caterer : American Swedish Institute & Slate & Stone | Florist : Custom Floral Design & Beezis Blooms | Make-up & Hair : SoCoJo Artistry |


The forecast was calling for rain(and possibly SNOW gotta love MN right), for Kate & Liam’s spring wedding ceremony held at The Basilica of St. Mary’s with reception at Semple Mansion. Luckily the day turned out to be nothing as the forecast called for, the sun came out and the day was simply perfect! With the combination of white, green, and gold, accents throughout in their decor it highlighted the beauty of their venues Semple Mansion for reception and Basilica of Saint Mary for ceremony. Kate also designed and made the seating chart along with the welcome sign and the signature drinks chalk board herself!

We of course always love hearing about every brides planning process and what made them say YES to the dress 🙂 We asked Kate how did you choose your wedding day look?

Kate: I always envisioned a long sleeve dress with a lot of lace, but when I tried on the dress that I ended up saying Yes to, it was short sleeved, no lace and very simple, clean A-line skirt. Although it wasn’t anything I first imagined, I fell in love with the dress. It was actually the very first one I tried on. I tried on several after it, but ended up going back to the very first one.

You can just see the love and joy that was filling this room as Kate was getting ready at The Semple Mansion.

We asked Kate & Liam what was your most anticipated or special moment of the wedding day you were most looking forward to?

Kate: our most anticipated moment was seeing each other for the first time that day as the church doors opened.

Were your emotions during that moment what you were expecting?!

Kate: I didn’t really know how I would react at that moment because so many emotions are running through you. As soon as the doors opened though and I saw Liam down the aisle, I relaxed and just tried to be present in the moment.

Now that the day has come and gone what advice do you have for couples planning their weddings? (maybe something you wish you would have done, or not done!?)

Kate: Spreadsheets are your friends! Make a budget and get as detailed as possible. In the end, it’s all the random small costs that add up to a lot, so make sure you build in enough room for those extra costs. Also, do as much as you can early on so that you’re not stressing yourself out the month before the wedding and can actually enjoy the last few weeks of that engaged life!

Congratulations Kate & Liam, we wish you both a lifetime of happiness!!

Vendors || Studio 220 Photographer: Bree & Nicole | Ceremony Venue: The Basilica of Saint Mary | Reception Venue: Semple Mansion |Florist: Aneta’s European Florala | Hair & Make-up: Spa Beauty Agency| Wedding Gown: Bridal Accents Couture