Editor’s Note: Changes made on December 4, 2017
Once the rush and excitement of engagement passes, organizing and planning your wedding can feel overwhelming. Of all the moving parts that come with planning a wedding and hiring vendors, one thing you can greatly benefit is consulting a seasoned wedding photographer to help you navigate the process. Documentation of your celebration spans the entire course of the wedding, so enlisting their expertise early will help you shape the feel and flow of your wedding, minimizing stress and maximizing the experience of the day.
You want to build rapport with a photographer who understands you and your family, and who you can fully entrust to tell your love story. Ensuring that a professional is vested in your celebration plans isn’t going to happen by simply asking “how much,” but rather by asking the right questions and taking time getting to know them and the services they offer.
In this way, you will have gathered the right information for you to choose the options that best fit you and your photographic goals. Also, because we understand that capturing and telling the day’s moments and emotions is hugely important, we have compiled the following information to hopefully make finding the right wedding photographer just a little bit easier.
Previously, we covered a few essential hiring tips, but this is such an important decision we felt it necessary to go into even more depth. In this guide, we list more than 50 questions to ask your wedding photographer before you make a final decision. We don’t recommend you ask all 50- instead, find the ones most important to you, and use them to understand who aligns with your professional requirements, stylistic preferences, budget constraints, logistical concerns, and much more. Although email inquires can be a good place to make initial contact, interpersonal dialogue is always best. Start by asking a few of the most important questions over the phone. Then you can print this guide as a reference for when you meet your top choices in person!
Introductory Questions to Ask Wedding Photographers
To make sure you and the photographer are aligned in broad areas, consider the most important starting points, such as their availability, their comfort and experience with your style of wedding, and their training, education, and artistic quality. A handful of diverse questions from this list are great to ask over the phone when starting out looking for your wedding photographer.
- Do you have availability on our wedding day? If not, could you offer recommendations for a trusted colleague with a similar style?
- How far in advance do we need to book you?
- Are the images on your website taken exclusively by you or does this portfolio include associate work? Where is the best place for me to view a full portfolio of your work?
- Would you be the lead photographer at our wedding? If not, how can we sample the work of the photographer covering our wedding?
- Is there a place I can read some of client experiences, rave reviews etc.?
- When was your business established?
- Is photography your full-time occupation?
- Are weddings the bulk of your photography business?
- How many wedding commissions do you accept per year?
- What time of year and day is ideal for you to produce your style of work?
- Is there a wedding size you enjoy most?
- Are you involved with any professional organizations? Have you earned any certifications or awards?
- Is there a videography team you enjoy working with that you can recommend?
- Have you had an opportunity to work at my wedding venue before? If not, are you comfortable with the logistics of the space?
Questions About Wedding Photography Styles & Vision
Once you cover the basics, you can get a deeper feel for the photographer’s specific nuances, both over the phone and in person. You’ll want to discover if the way they work matches your vision, if their style and approach meets your expectations, and more practical considerations like how long it after the wedding it will take for you to get your pictures or what kind of post-production work the photographer does.
- What would you say is your stylistic approach to weddings?
- When it comes to wedding formals and family formals, what strategies do you employ to produce optimal results?
- Do you have a “must get” list of images you want to produce? Can you share a little about what you aim to capture with us?
- Do you like to be included in the making of the wedding day’s timeline? Is this something you would like to help us with?
- How much time do you need for couples formals? When & where would you recommend these be taken?
- Do you work exclusively with digital or film, or both? If digital do you shoot jpeg or raw?
- Can you share with us a little regarding your post-production process? For example are all images delivered edited? If so, are they edited as a batch or individually? How intensive is the clean up of images? What is the estimated delivery time frame for images?
- If an image is delivered in black and white, will I also have access to a color version of the image?
- On average, how many final images do you present to couples per wedding?
- What is the best way for us to share images on social media? Are there any restrictions when sharing images online?
- What are your favorite equipment choices?
- What steps do you take in case of equipment failure or personal emergency?
- Can we set some time aside to discuss things regarding our wedding that are important to us?
- What are your recommendations for allowing friends and family to take pictures?
- Do you offer engagement services a la cart?
- Does your business offer other services besides photography, such as videography, photo booth, design services, event lighting, wedding planning, etc?
- Do you offer archival prints and products?
- Do you include or offer the option to purchase image negatives/digitals? If so, do they include printing rights?
Questions about Booking, Payment, Policies, and Insurance
After getting an idea of how the photographer works and of their artistic vision, you can make sure the practicalities are covered. This is where you can make sure you’re covered in case of sickness, accident, or cancellation, and find out the details of available packages, logistical options, and the photographer’s individual policies.
- Are you available to travel? If so, how far and are there any additional costs? What accommodations do you require?
- How many weddings will you be working that weekend?
- Does wedding coverage include a second/associate photographer? If not, is there an option to add a second photographer?
- On average what is the price range for the amount of wedding coverage we would need?
- How much of a retainer fee do you require?
- Do you have payment plan options?
- If we invest in an engagement session a la cart, and then after session decide to commission you for a wedding package that includes one, can we apply the fee of our session towards our wedding investment?
- What is your refund or cancellation policy?
- Do you hold liability/business insurance?
Questions about Wedding Logistics
When you know all your other bases are covered, you should spend some time working with the photographer, just focusing on the day of the wedding. This is when you want to feel the most secure, since you’ll have so many other concerns. The more you work out in advance, the better! Think about each piece of the day from start to finish and how the photographer fits into your plans.
- How much before the wedding to you plan to arrive? How long do you
- What happens if you are delayed getting to my wedding?
- Do you have backup equipment if something happens?
- How long will you stay at the wedding?
- If the event runs longer than expected, will you be able to stay? Is
there an additional fee?
- What do you normally wear when you shoot weddings?
So there you have it! Hopefully these questions help you filter through candidates and find the photographer best equipped to capture the most precious moments of your wedding day, at a price that fits your budget. Lastly, if you think we’ve missed anything, let us know and we’ll add it to our list!
Ready to hire a wedding photographer? Check out our recent award winners!