10 questions i will ask my wedding photographer
I talk to couples all the time that are super excited to book me as their photographer but don’t know what to ask before they do so! So I put together a list of 10 questions I will ask my photographer when I plan my own wedding. Obviously, I hope you’ll book me as your photographer but this isn’t designed to just help me out. These are honest questions I think that anyone hiring a photographer should ask. If I missed any you think are important let me know!
These questions are assuming you’ve checked out the photographers website, stalked them on instagram, love their pictures, think they might be pretty cool or at least mesh with you on some level (check out my blog on why you should actually like your wedding photographer).
the basics: ok so you’re ready to email your potential photographer WOOO congratulations! The first thing I’d ask are the basics - are you available for my wedding and when they confirm, what do they charge? Photographers hate feeling like they’re being price shopped. When we get emails that are just like “hi what do you charge?” it feels like you didn’t take the time to get to know us, you haven’t really looked at our pictures, and you only really care about if we are within budget. This is usually super unfair to assume because of course you care about your photographer?! You’re paying good money for them you want them to capture your day perfectly! BUT it doesn’t come across that way when you just ask about price upfront. Of course price is important, but you want to make a connection with your photographer, feel like you’re both excited about working together, and then work out the numbers. I kind of hate that you have to ask people for what they charge which is why all my rates are completely laid out on my website but not every photographer is like that and I can’t hire myself for my own wedding so I’ll be sending a super excited message about how much I love them and how they’re instagram stories are so funny and are you available for my wedding in my first email.
the price DUN DUN DUUHHHH. Again, I hate that it’s done this way but most photographers have like 4000 different things not included in their pricing. Sometimes it’s a flat fee that includes what you need, but most of the time it’s charging for a certain number of hours, getting an engagement session added on, having a second shooter, paying for travel, etc. etc.. I think it’s a crappy way to nickel and dime people but for some people it’s a great way to customize what you want out of a wedding photographer. Ask about travel fees, ask about extra costs for downloading your photos, ask if your package includes a second shooter, ask if there’s a time limit, ask what you’re charged if you go over the time limit. You want to be on the same page. No one wants to feel like they’re being ripped off.
given that the price works for you the next thing I’d ask would be to see a few full galleries of weddings. Maybe your photographer can take great posed photos but you don’t like theirs of people partying on the dance floor and that’s important to you - you’ll want to know that before you hire them, get your photos back and are like what the heck we hate these! You’re going to want to make sure that you love the photos, the editing style is consistent with what you love, and that all parts of the day are captured exactly how you’d want. One time one of my clients said to me “when I looked through the galleries you sent, it felt like we could be in those pictures.” and that’s how you want to feel. It’s like when you’re buying a house and you walk in and you’re like oh my gosh we could live here and you start picturing your life there, you want to see yourself in the photos and know that' you’d love getting those back.
how much experience fo you have? Notice I didn’t say how many YEARS of experience do you have. Some photographers work part-time, some specialize in other things and only do a few weddings on the side, some are booking 30+ weddings a year and have wonderful experience. Ask about quantity of weddings, not about number of years. I’m not just saying this because it benefits me. I have only been shooting weddings for one year but in that one year I’ll have about 50 under my belt. That’s a freaking ton of weddings. I’m very confident in my abilities and that’s only going up. In my one year of photography I might have the same experience of someone who does it part time but has done it for 10 years. Also side note about part-time photographers vs. full time: there’s nothing wrong with being a part time photographer or hiring a part time photographer. But, I know for me I will be hiring a full time photographer because they’ll have more time to devote to me, my wedding, and getting my photos back. When wedding photography is your sole source of income, trust me you do anything to provide for your clients. Whether or not you love your experience with me, recommend me, etc. decides how many toys I can buy my dogs and you better believe I’ll do anything for that.
what is your approach to weddings? I know this is kind of hypothetical and you might be like, they could tell me anything and I’d probably just agree because I have no idea what approach I want? Basically this is getting at whether they’re going to control the wedding, or let the wedding happen and capture it that way. Yes I have worked with photographers that will interrupt weddings to get the shot they want. I know photographers that will stop you dancing to take a photo. I know that some photographers are SUPER hands on and will dictate your whole wedding if you let them. If that’s what you want, then that’s awesome, please don’t hire me, but go for it! I think it’s important to be able to capture the shots without being noticed, while also being able to get your 50 person family together for 1 minute so you can have the photo of everyone you’ve always wanted. You do need someone who can direct, get family photos taken, get the groomsmen to stop messing around and smile, all very quickly so you can leave and get to your reception. So it’s important to know what your photographer says to this so you can know if their personality type/approach matches with what you want. If you ever get a response to this question you’re not sure about you can always email me and be like I want this kind of photographer but their answer was this, is that the same thing?
do we need a second shooter? I could write a whole other blog post on this but see what your photographers opinion is. I think of second shooters as insurance - if your main photographer is good enough to capture the shots, you don’t need to pay for insurance. If you have 250 people at your wedding and want photos of everyone, yes by all means go wild with a second shooter. If it’s not, I feel like you don’t need one. BUT see what your photographer recommends, and make sure they’re not just trying to up-sell you because it costs more.
when will I receive my photos? Do you send sneak peaks? How long will I be able to access my photos once they’re delivered? I know I just threw a lot out at you but the photos are why you’re hiring the photographer so you’re of course going to want to know all this! Most photographers give about 2-3 months to edit the photos. It takes a while to edit every photo honestly. I always deliver mine within a month though - I get so excited to edit once I come home from a wedding and I literally cannot stop until I’m done. I’m not kidding I forget to eat sometimes because I’m so in tune to my computer. But if you’re hiring a normal functioning human as a photographer then I’m guessing it’ll be around 2 or 3 months before you get all your photos back. BUT some photographers do this amazing thing where they send sneak peaks the next day. I love sneak peaks because it gets you excited about the photos to come and you can post something on social media being like I’m married!! with some really nice photos and ensure yourself a bunch of likes ;). But for real sneak peaks are amazing and you should throw that into your questions. How long will I be able to access my photos once they’re delivered is an IMPORTANT question. Basically, when photographers give you their online galleries they’ll let you have a certain amount of time to download them before they delete them to save space. Some photographers give you a week, a month, a year, forever, it really depends. I never delete your online galleries you can look at them forever. You just always have to have access to your wedding photos I think. I mean what happens if your computer crashes (very likely thanks a lot Apple) and you lose your wedding photos? You’re going to want to be like oh well at least I can always access them thank you wedding photographer. I think it’s unacceptable to lose someone’s wedding photos. I don’t care if it’s their fault, the wedding photographer should always always always have your photos.
Do you sell prints as well? MY PEOPLE PRINT YOUR PHOTOS. They’re so beautiful put them in your house!!! Office! I don’t care! Those suckers deserve to be seen! But for real you don’t have to ask this if you already know where you want to print your photos. I use Shutterfly, Social Print Studio, or just good old CVS to print my pictures so I don’t blame you if that’s what you prefer. But if you want really high quality prints from your photographer, make sure they sell them.
The dreaded “what happens if you can’t make my wedding” question. God forbid that would never actually happen but if it does you’ll want to know what your photographer has planned. Mainly I’d be looking for if they know other photographers that could potentially cover for them and will you get all your money back if they can’t find you another photographer. Hopefully this never happens though!!!!!
Last but not least, what do you require to book? If your photographer has answered all of those questions perfectly and you want to book them then get the ball rolling and make it happen! You’ll probably have to sign a contract and pay some sort of deposit. Read the contract. Please read the contract. As for the deposit here’s where you can see if you need to pay all of the cost up front, if your photographer offers payment plans to split up the cost into chunks if that makes it easier for you, and when all of the payment is due.
Hopefully this was helpful to you!! Always feel free to reach out to me if there’s other things you’re unsure about or think you should ask but I didn’t include! Thanks for reading this far too if you made it holy moly I didn’t know I had so much to say!