Here I am sharing with you 10 of the most important questions to ask a wedding photographer to help you make the right decision and book the one that fits your needs and personality.
1. Are you available on my wedding date?
This is, my friends, probably the most important question to ask from the get go. Why? you ask, because in the vendor picking journey, you cannot waste your precious time. If they are not available for your wedding date, then you need to ask yourself a question: Is this photographer worth moving our date? If not, then they won’t work. If you ABSOLUTELY love them and they are the photographer of your dreams, then you can move on to the next questions. Before contacting anyone, you should set your wedding date because it is really hard to set anything or book anything without knowing your date and most likely it will cause a little bit of heartbreak if you don’t get the vendors you want.
2. How would you describe your photography style?
Figuring out your ideal wedding photographer’s style can be clear just by looking at their page, but, sometimes, you have to make sure that what you see is what you get. I usually try to have a curated feed so my clients and potential clients can see consistency and know what to expect. My style is moody and romantic, so if a client is booking bright and airy with lots of pastels, they will know, by looking at my page, that it will not be a good fit. Additionally, it is important to ask for a full gallery to see outdoor and indoor images. Lighting is not an easy thing to master, so by looking at pictures of a full wedding day, you can see if what you envisions, matches with what your potential photographer can offer you. If you decide that the photographer you are interviewing is not a good fit for you, be clear and direct. We appreciate clients that tell us things instead of ghosting us. <3
3. What packages do you offer? Do they include an engagement session? Can I change parts of it?
Be clear, tell your photographer what you need but be open to what they have to offer. There are a looooot of photographers out there and you will find a wide variety of packages and price ranges. Find what you can afford!! Photography is an investment and most of the time, you get what you pay for. With that being said, photographers have 2-5 packages, some of them include extra things like prints and albums. It is ok to ask if you can get those traded in for additional time at the reception or an anniversary session.
Most of my packages include the following: “x” amount of hours, online gallery, printing rights, consultation, engagement sessions, etc.
Engagement sessions are soooo important, it is the time that you get to see your photographer work their magic and the results afterwards. So please, ladies and gents, trust us when we tell you that, even though your best friend offered to take pics of you and your hunny, you still want to take engagement pictures with us!
4. What is the process to book with you?
Booking processes should be easy and fast, when you get to the point of booking a professional, chances are, you already know what you want and who you want to work with. This info is important so you know what to expect and plan for it. Most photographers need a deposit or retainer fee paid upfront to reserve your day. Key word here: CONTRACT! Read your contract! Deposits and retainers are two different things so make sure you know what you are paying for.
Once a contract is signed and a retainer is paid, you should have your date reserved. That is my process. You hear from me at the year mark, 6 months, 3 months, a month, a week out annnnd every opportunity I have to check in, in between. Most photographers will need the rest of the payment/invoice paid out a few weeks before the wedding, I do so just so I am sure my brides or whoever is paying gets that out of the to-do list and they can focus on other things! I also offer payment plans so a lot of my brides pay in advance well before hand.
5. How long will I have to wait for my engagement/Wedding images?
Do not be afraid of asking this question if it has not been answered yet, you have the right to know when to expect your precious pictures. Engagement galleries are not as extensive as wedding galleries are, and might not take as long to edit BUT you still will be waiting for them with a lot of excitement…and lets be honest, you will be checking your email eeeeveryday. ASK this question, so you are not anticipatory like that. It usually takes me a couple days or so to deliver an engagement session gallery but I tell my couples that could take me up to a week, most of the time, because if something happens (it always does, right?) I am not late! Wedding galleries are a little more work, okay..a loot more work and time!
Wedding galleries can take from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on your photographers workflow and how busy their wedding season is. The longest it has taken me to deliver a wedding gallery was 6-8 weeks, and the fastest about 2 weeks!! It all depends!!
Make sure your photographer lays out expectations for you guys so you know how long you will eat and can plan accordingly!
6. What does a typical wedding day look like?
This question might not seem important at the beginning but it will help you A LOOOOT in terms of planning and setting up your timeline. You also want to ask this question because you want to have an idea of how your potential photographer works and how much time they need to capture your wedding perfectly. Ask them if they get to the venue before their allotted time, if so, how long before? Ask them how they work around running late, what if something happens and things are running behind? It happens more often than you think! Ask them if they have shot at your wedding venue before, do they go there before the wedding to check it out? All these questions are important so you know how much in advance they prepare to help things go smooth.
7. Do you have back-up equipment?
You want to make sure there is backup equipment available in case their equipment fails. In crazy weather (especially SUMMER!!), things can happen and cameras can fail, lenses can break, lights and batteries can die but the fun must continue. Back-up gear usually consists of a back-up camera and a couple other lenses.
8. What happens if you can’t make it to our wedding? Do you have a backup?
You might also want to ask your photographer, what if you get sick or something happens and cant make it? In my case, my assistant/associate photographer is as talented and can lead a wedding. I also have a small pool of second shooters, with a style similar than mine that could step in. The idea behind having a back-up photographer is to make sure you don’t get left with no coverage. Last year, I had a wedding scheduled a week before my pregnancy due date and I had a backup photographer and a back up for my back up. I ended up not needing them but I had them JUST in case.
9.What if we cancel our wedding?
Make sure you have a contract signed that explains everything…and you are familiar with the cancellation process. It really depends on your photographer preferences and contract but you need to know about it JUST IN CASE!
10. Will you be my photographer or will someone else be there instead? Who will edit the images?
This does not usually happen but if you are booking through a company instead of a small business, you might meet with a manager but not the actual photographer. You want to ask if the person you are building a connection with, during your first meeting, will be the one at your wedding. Some photographers outsource their editing, and if they do, you might want to look at a gallery to confirm the style aligns with yours and what you envision.
Alright beautiful people, I hope you consider these questions and ask your photographer some of them! Hopefully you find the right fit for you!