Your wedding photographer is perhaps the most important vendor you’ll have to select for your wedding day. S/he will be the person documenting all of the raw emotions, special moments and little details of the most important day of your life. To help you find the right wedding photographer, we’ve put together a list of questions that you should ask them to ensure that you’ll be a good match.
1. Do you have my date available?
This question should be the first question you ask a photographer. If the answer to this is no, then unfortunately this photographer is not the one for you.
2. How long have you been shooting weddings? How many have you shot?
Although natural talent is key, the type of skill and expertise that comes with experience cannot be faked. Ask your photographer how long he has been shooting weddings professionally and how many he has shot. This will give you a general idea of the level of experience he has and help you gauge whether or not he will be an appropriate fit.
Photo Credit: Pictage
3. Have you shot weddings that were similar to mine? If so, how many, and can I see sample galleries?
Each couple is unique, and therefore each wedding is unique. However, if your photographer has had experience shooting a wedding that was a similar style to yours, then he will know what kinds of photos you and your partner will enjoy. Asking to see a sample gallery is something any professional photographer should expect, and you will be able to see whether or not the images are the kind that you and your partner want.
4. How would you describe your photography style?
Photography is a vast field and there are many different types of photography styles. Wedding photography in particular has developed into a more photojournalistic style where the photographer documents the events of the day without a lot of forced posing. If this is something you are not comfortable with, be sure to be clear with your photographer upfront what you expect from him. Again, viewing past client galleries will help you get a better feel for the photography style.
5. What type of equipment do you use? Do you shoot with digital, film or both?
Even if you’re not totally familiar with all of the technical jargon, you should make sure that your photographer uses professional-quality equipment and has spare cameras and lenses in case something happens to the primary ones. With the rise of technology these days, film is becoming more and more rare. If you are set on receiving negatives, be sure to find a photographer who shoots with film. However, the overall quality of digital photos versus film photos is very similar and there is no need to worry that digital pictures won’t be as good as film.
6. Do you have a list of references?
Similar to asking to see sample galleries, asking to contact a list of references is something that any professional photographer will be expecting. Any capable photographer should have references readily available and should be confident enough to give them out. Take the time to contact a few of the references on the list and ask them what they really thought of the photographer’s professionalism, photo quality, personality and deliverables received. This is your chance to really make sure that this photographer is a person that you want to work with.
7. How many pictures will you take, and when will I receive them? Will they be negatives, CD or online only?
If your photographer will be using digital, he can take anywhere from 50-100 photos in an hour, easily. You should find out whether or not he will be taking multiple versions of the same shot to ensure that you have high quality photos to choose from. Also be sure to ask what format you will be receiving the pictures – will there be negatives (film only)? Will they be digital gallery format only? Will I receive a CD or flash drive with the files? Be clear about your expectations when it comes to number of pictures and what format they come in and make sure you agree on an acceptable time at which to receive them after the wedding.
8. Will you retouch photos? If so, how many?
With all of the image-retouching software that exists, most photographers do offer retouching services. However, this is a very time-consuming process and in the end it may not be worth the extra cost that it may be. Ask your photographer whether or not he offers retouching photos and if so, how many images are included in your wedding package.
Photo Credit: Studio Bonon
9. Do you have liability insurance?
Liability insurance protects the photographer from things like equipment theft and liability if someone else is injured due to their equipment. For example, if a guest trips over a camera bag or tripod and hurts themselves, liability insurance will protect the photographer. All serious professional photographers should have liability insurance.
10. How much does it cost and what exactly is included? What about overtime?
Wedding photographers offer many different types of packages to suit you and your partner’s needs. Make sure you and your photographer are on the same page when it comes to what exactly is included and how much it will cost. Also ask about your photographer’s overtime charges in case the wedding runs a little long so that you aren’t surprised with a huge bill after the fact.
11. Have you worked with ____ before?
If your photographer has previous experience working with your videographer, florist, venue, etc., then it bodes well for your wedding if they work well together. If not, it’s not a huge deal, but if they have worked well together before then things are likely to go smoothly.
12. Who exactly will be shooting my wedding? What if you fall ill and aren’t able to make it?
Many wedding photography studios have multiple photographers. If you have your heart set on a specific photographer, make sure that he is the one that will actually be shooting. Also, most wedding photographers have an assistant or second photographer come with them on the day of so that no special moments are missed. Ask who the second photographer will be and take a look at some of his sample galleries so that you know what style he shoots in. And, if some sort of emergency happens and your photographer is not able to make it, know what his backup plan is and who will attend instead.
13. Will we be able to choose some poses and shots, or will you be dictating all the poses?
Some photographers shoot wedding after wedding and follow a formula that they know works. Posed photos with the family, then with the bridal party, specific detail photos, etc. If you and your partner would like specific poses and shots, make sure that your photographer is okay with you having your own ideas.
Photo Credit: Glorious Getaways Travel
14. When will I receive a written contract? What is your refund/cancellation policy?
Although this is your special wonderful day, your relationship with your photographer is still a business one. A written contract will outline all of the expectations for both you and your photographer and will help prevent any nasty surprises on the actual day. It is also a good idea to double check what his refund and cancellation policies are just in case something happens. Also, make sure that you are the owner of your photos, not the photographer. If your photographer owns the rights to your photos, you will have to pay extra for them!
15. What is the difference between a photo book and a wedding album?
Photo books and photo albums essentially both achieve the same purpose – they display your favorite moments from your wedding in a beautiful book format. However, the difference between the two can be instantly felt in terms of quality and durability. A photo book is printed on regular, double-sided paper similar to a business brochure and there are a variety of options for covers and pages. A photo album is printed by a photographic process onto professional photo paper and is generally flush mount, which means that each page is printed as a single photo and then mounted onto a thick, durable cardstock that does not fold. Photo albums also have the option for different covers and pages. Professional photographers frequently offer flush mount wedding albums as part of an “all-inclusive” package deal along with their services. However, these package deals can be very pricey and the album included may not be the one that you want. Learn more about the differences between photo books and photo albums.
All The Questions In One Place