How to ensure your photographer captures a look you'll love for years to come by Minted
Photo by Molliner Photography
A picture is worth a thousand words, and those captured on your wedding day may be worth even more! You most likely have already scoped out a photographer or two on social media or fallen in love with the final photo book from a friend's wedding. After you set up a time for an in-person (or perhaps virtual) informal interview with a potential wedding photographer, make sure you have some good questions prepared. We have created a printable questionnaire for your convenience! So just, what are the important wedding photographer questions to ask? Find out our top 10 outlined below.
1. IS MY WEDDING DATE AVAILABLE?
What you need to know: When meeting with a photographer, it is important to specify not only the date of your wedding but also the time. It is not unusual for photographers to shoot one wedding in the morning and one in the evening, so give them all the information to answer this question fully. It’s also important to ask if they will be the actual photographer or if they have a crew they outsource assignments to. It may be a dealbreaker if you’re in love with this particular photographer’s work. You’ll also want to ask if they bring any assistants with them on your wedding day to get an idea of how much ground they’ll be covering.
2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER, AND CAN WE SEE A RECENT GALLERY FROM AN ENTIRE WEDDING?
Pro tip: "Photographers show their absolute best work on their websites, but you want to be sure you're getting beautiful images from all the important moments of your wedding day. Ask to see a full wedding gallery from any photographer you are considering. The larger gallery of images—anywhere from 500 to 1200 images—gives you more insight into how a photographer captures the entire wedding day, including family formals, toasts, cake cutting, parent dances, and your first dance. These are all moments you will want to be captured, and seeing examples of these in your photographer’s work is important.” —Jennifer Domenick Love Life Images, Inc.
3. HAVE YOU EVER WORKED AT OUR WEDDING VENUE(S)?
Pro tip: “This is a legitimate concern for some couples, especially if they are looking at a venue that is very unique and provides lots of options for photography. However, choosing a photographer with more than a few years of experience and who has worked at venues similar to yours should give you the confidence to hire them regardless of whether they’ve worked there or not. A great solution is to ask your photographer if they can visit the property before the wedding day, even the day before the wedding, to become more familiar with where everything will take place. That way, you can both go into the wedding day confidently.” — Garrett Richardson Photography
4. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE?
What you need to know: Through your research (if the extent of your research is through Instagram, that is 100% valid, as photographers often show their best work there), you probably have an idea of the styles and looks you would like to replicate on your wedding day. Questions to ask wedding photographer candidates can include: do you shoot digitally? With film? Or both? Are there particular settings and backdrops you prefer? If you're unsure about how they achieved a certain effect, this is a time when you can also communicate shots you liked from their portfolio (or in general!) to understand how they might capture a similar vignette.
Pro tip: "Every photographer has their own unique approach to their portfolio. It might be helpful to narrow it down to these three categories of style: Do you tend to like timeless or trendy,, candid emotions or posed images; high contrast with lots of colors, or photos with soft and organic tones? Of course, photography can be very subjective and isn’t necessarily as rigid as those specific categories. Still, it will definitely help you begin to narrow down what style you are drawn to and build from there.” — Garrett Richardson Photography.
5. WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WORK WITH YOU ON YOUR WEDDING DAY?
What you need to know: Everyone’s personality is different, so think about the type of energy and direction you’d like out of your photographer on the day of your wedding so that when you ask this question, you know what kind of answer you want to hear. You may write to someone who directs you each step of the way or someone really laid back who captures natural events seemingly from the shadows. Ultimately, being comfortable is number one. It’s also really important to ask if you can send over a specific shot list for the photographer to work with.
Pro tip: “This question can make or break your experience, depending on what you are hoping for. You will probably spend more time with your photographer than any other vendor on the wedding day, so your trust in them to make you feel comfortable in front of the camera and capture the important details is extremely important. Make sure you and your fiancé get a good enough feel for your photographer’s personality so you can trust them throughout the process.” — Garrett Richardson Photography.
6. HAVE YOU SHOT ANY WEDDINGS DURING COVID-19?
What you need to know: Getting married during COVID-19 is very doable. Among questions for wedding photographer interviews, make sure to ask if they have done any weddings during COVID-19 and how they have handled taking social distance precautions while still capturing intimate photos. You may want to ask to see examples. You may also inquire about any sanitation procedures they follow with their equipment. Read up on some detailed tips from a professional photographer who has hosted dozens of professional photoshoots safely and stylishly over the last year.
7. WHAT DO YOUR PACKAGES/COLLECTIONS INCLUDE AND WHAT WILL I HAVE TO PAY EXTRA FOR?
What you need to know: It is essential to comb the photography contract because there can be additional fees or add-on costs that aren’t clear at first. It’s not a matter of intentional deception; there just may be costs like overtime hours or transportation you may not have thought of. Ask your wedding photographer questions like how many hours are included in each package. How much do extra hours cost? Do you include engagement photos in your packages? Do you include pre-wedding events like rehearsal dinners in your packages? Do you offer retouching, color adjustment, or other corrective services? Are those included or an additional charge? Do you charge a travel fee? For what distance? What does that cover?
8. WHEN CAN WE EXPECT TO RECEIVE OUR PHOTOS?
What you need to know: It can take up to a month or two to receive all your wedding photos, and you don’t want to rush your photographer. However, you can ask for a sneak peek of a few images right after the wedding to share them on social media or feature them on your thank you cards. Be sure to ask your photographer how they process their images, if you have rights to the images, and how long they’ll be accessible online. Pro Tip: Digital photography is sometimes processed too quickly. If you are looking to have moving images full of emotion and the highest quality, make sure that your photographer takes time with each image.” — Sarah DiCicco Photography
9. WHAT IS THE PLAN IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND DUE TO ILLNESS OR UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES?
What you need to know: This is one of those wedding photographer questions to ask that is especially critical during COVID-19. Do they have a plan B that you are comfortable with? Pro Tip: “Nothing is certain in this life, and it's super important to have a community of trustworthy photographers I regularly network with. If something were to happen to me before the wedding day—or on the wedding day!—my clients can rest assured that there is a backup plan!” —Lauren Kearns, Lauren Kearns Photography. View pictures from this real wedding in Charlottesville, VA.
10. I WANT TO SECURE MY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER. NOW WHAT?
What you need to know: Tie up some of the last critical questions before you sign a contract. Ask how much deposit is required to hold the date and when the balance is due. How much of a deposit is required to hold the date? Ensure you’re clear on the preferred payment method and the refund/cancellation policy. Ensure you’re clear on the preferred payment method. A final question to ask wedding photographer candidates is whether they have liability insurance and whether it also covers their assistants.