10 Most Important Questions to ask your Wedding Photographer
Congratulations, you're engaged! Now comes the stressful part of planning your dream wedding. Unless you have been through this before, you will be shocked at how much forethought & planning is involved. One of the most important decisions you will be faced with is “Who are we going to hire as our wedding photographer?” When your big day is all said & done, the images & wedding albums your wedding photographer delivers to you are one of the few tangible things left from your day.
I recommend talking with your friends. See who they used for their wedding or who they remember from someone else's. Referrals are a life blood for all types of photographers and you'll know you are starting off with a high level professional.
Once you have a short list of local professional photographers, browse their portfolio online. Look for styles that you like. Pro Tip: If you don't like the style photography a certain photographer produces, DON'T HIRE THEM FOR YOUR WEDDING & expect something different.
Okay so you have your referral and narrowed your list to 3 to 4 photographers, now what? Setup meetings with each and bring this list of 10 questions to ask. Obviously there are way more than 10 questions you will be asking them but these are the most important. An experienced wedding photographer will already know what questions to expect from you & will probably provide information on other topics you may not have even thought about.
Is my wedding date available?
Pretty obvious right? Still this is the most important question to ask your perspective wedding photographer. Unless you are willing to change your date...
How would you describe your style of wedding photography?
This is a very important question to ask however you can also get a good idea by checking out the photographer's portfolio ahead of time. Personally I consider myself to be a Traditional Wedding Photographer. This style suits my clients best because they now 20 years from now they won't look back at their wedding day images and be embarrassed by the warm earthy filters or light & airy feel some photographer's produce today.
Have you ever shot a wedding or event at my venue?
There's a couple reasons to ask this question right away. Having shot in a venue before affords the photographer a “tribal knowledge” of best areas to shoot & how the light will react throughout the day into evening. Also, some venues have photography rules such as dress code or not allowing flash photography.
Will you have a second shooter?
This can be a valuable add on that some wedding photographer's don't offer. I prefer to use one so I can be with either the bride or groom before the ceremony while my second shooter is with the other. Without a second shooter, the photographer is forced to try and cover both all by themselves. What if you and your partner are getting ready in separate locations?
Do you have any more references I may contact?
Every professional photographer should have a list of former clients as well as other wedding vendors they have worked with so you can continue to validate their background, professionalism & quality of work.
Are you Licensed & Insured?
You my not think this is an important question but it is. Being a licensed professional photographer shows you the consumer they take their business seriously and are a true professional. Being insured show you the same thing as well as covers you & your guests in the event of accidental damage or injury caused by the photographer. Additionally, some venues require the photographer to have it.
How & when will I receive my photos?
There are many acceptable ways for your photographer to get you your images, download being the most common. Others include Dropbox or Google Drive, USB Drive & DVD. Time lines of image delivery vary greatly among different photographers. Most professional wedding photographers average 2 to 4 weeks from your wedding date.
Can I customize a wedding package to suit my particular needs?
Most wedding photographer's offer wedding packages for ease of purchasing. However, not every wedding or budget is a good fit for a cookie cutter wedding package. See what their packages have to offer and ASK if one thing can be substituted for another. Worst thing they can say is no.
Do you have any Add On items not included in your wedding packages?
Popular examples would be a Travel Fee for out of town weddings, high end retouching fees (removing braces or expert Photoshop retouching) & photo booths.
What is your payment policy in regards to
How much of a deposit do you require & when is it due?
When is the total payment due?
Do you take payments?
What is your refund or cancellation policy?
By going into your meeting with your perspective wedding photographers with this list of the 10 Most Important Questions to ask your Wedding Photographer you will come out with the answers you need to make an educated & confidant decision. Lastly I highly recommend you trust your instincts. Remember you will be spending most of your wedding day with your photographers so choose someone you also enjoy spending time with. Good Luck & Congratulations!