Asking photographers essential questions as a part of your wedding planning will help narrow your choices to the best option to capture your wedding ceremony and reception. Use this list of questions as a guide:
1. Can you shoot on our chosen wedding date? Before you ask any additional questions, check your potential photographer’s availability on your wedding day. This first question will save you time to move on if they can’t shoot on your chosen date.
2. Who will be there on the big day? One thing wedding planner Mindy Weiss always asks is: “Is the person you’re interviewing gonna be the person at your wedding? There are teams. There are companies. You wanna make sure you know who’s going to be at your wedding and be the photographer for that day.” Interviewing a company representative won’t help unless that person is present on your wedding day.
3. What is your wedding photography style? “There’s many different types of photographers,” Mindy says. “There’s traditional; there’s documentary; there’s completely candid. So you really need to know in what direction they’re gonna go.” If they shoot serious, formal photos and you want whimsical, fun, improvisational images, keep searching for the right working style match. Though most modern photographers shoot digitally, you may want to check if they shoot on film.
4. May we view a full wedding gallery? “It’s important that you ask to see an entire completed album to see if they tell the story from beginning to end,” Mindy says. “How do they map it out? If you’re not gonna order an album, it’s important to see the series, even online, of how they tell, again, the story.” Ask to see the photographer’s work on other weddings to get a sneak peek of what you can expect on your special day. A full wedding gallery covers a comprehensive shot list, including the pre-wedding, the ceremony, and all reception elements, such as the first dance and cake cutting.
5. Have you shot a wedding like ours before? You may like a photographer’s style, but have they shot a wedding with a couple that looks like you, in a similar setting, and at the right time of day? “Make sure that the photographer shows you examples of pictures of a couple that may have the same skin tone as yourself,” Mindy says. “It’s important to show you the lighting, and different aspects of the day, whether it was during the daytime or nighttime. And to see examples of how the pictures turned out.”
6. Do you have references? “Ask your photographer if you’re able to email or chat with past clients, just so you can get a referral,” Mindy adds. “And don’t forget to Google that photographer, too, to see if there’s any comments that you’re not hearing about.”
7. Have you worked with our other wedding vendors? It may be helpful if your potential photographer knows your other wedding vendors, particularly your videographer. If they have a friendly rapport, they may be able to work together to capture your event well. “They don’t have to have worked together before, but they do have to have respect for one another,” Mindy says. “It’s not a good idea for them to meet the day of the wedding.”
8. What if disaster strikes? Ask your photographer for their backup plan if they encounter a problem on your wedding day. For example, as part of their process, they might bring backup equipment such as an additional camera, flash, and digital memory options.
9. What do you include in your wedding packages? Many wedding photographers offer various pricing options for different tiered packages. They might charge additional fees for destination weddings (as a travel fee), a second photographer, engagement photos, or photos from the rehearsal dinner. Depending on your financial needs, you may want to ask if they allow payment in installations.
10. Can we ask for specific shots or setups? If you and your partner want a particular type of shot, such as an on-site recreation of your engagement, be sure to ask photographers whether they’ll allow it or charge an additional fee. “Most photographers have a shot list, so you can check off what is important to you,” Mindy says. “Also, don’t forget the classic shots. Don’t think you are so hip that you don’t need a picture with you and grandma—the traditional ones last forever.”
11. When and how can we expect to receive our photos? Ask your potential photographer how soon after your wedding day they will send your photos and how they will deliver them. For example, if the photographer will edit down to a select group first, if the images will be high-resolution and include retouching, and if you’ll be allowed a first look as the photographer edits them. Ask if they’ll include custom prints or albums if desired.
12. How do we finalize hiring? Once you’ve selected your wedding photographer, ask what they need to complete your deal. This might include giving them a deposit, signing a contract, reviewing cancellation policies, and understanding liability insurance.
13. Ask yourselves: Do we like them? Your final question should be to yourself and your partner. You’ll spend a lot of time with the photographer on your important day. Ask yourself whether you like their personality, their communication style, and if you’d enjoy spending the day with them. “The relationship between the photographer and yourself is extremely important,” Mindy says. “Make sure to meet, even virtually, to see if there’s a connection.”