The key to finding wedding vendors you love? Interviewing them before you sign the contract. This is especially true with a photographer. You’ll be spending almost the entire day with the photographer you choose, so in addition to loving their style, having an in-person or phone interview is a great way to make sure you’ll be happy to have them around. Not sure where to start when it comes to interviewing your wedding photographer of choice? Our experts have rounded up a list of questions to ask your photographer that will help you narrow down your options when it comes to everything you need to know.
There’s no doubt about it—choosing a photographer for your wedding day can feel overwhelming. Our advice? Decide on your day-of photography style first, and then look for professional wedding photographers within your budget. Once you’ve narrowed down your list to two or three potential options, bring in these questions to ask wedding photographers and see if you feel comfortable around them.
We can’t stress enough how important this is—almost as crucial as their skills behind the camera. You’ll be spending your entire wedding day with this person, and if you’re at ease, you’ll not only enjoy yourself more, but they’ll also get better shots. See all the most important questions to ask wedding photographers below.
You are looking for, or perhaps found your perfect wedding photographer, you love their style, looked over lot’s of their work and they are available for your wedding day.
Here are a few things to consider and ensure they have answered, before booking you may want to ask your photographer these things to make sure that everything goes smoothly, and also so you know exactly what to expect, and so there are no hidden surprises. Your photographer should hopefully have covered most of this, but just in case they haven’t here are a few things to think about and ask when you meet them.
LIST OF WHAT TO ASK YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
Do you have insurance?
When hiring a wedding photographer to ensure they have public liability insurance. This ensures they are covered in case of an accident, such as bumping into a guest with their lens, or someone tripping over their tripod for example. A professional wedding photographer should have this as well as equipment insurance. If they are a part-time photographer or doing it as a hobby, then they may not have insurance to save money.
So why is this important to you? If your photographer was to lose or damage their camera equipment, they can claim on their insurance and replace this, and if they don’t have insurance and cannot afford to replace, then they may have to cancel your booking leaving you without a photographer.
Some wedding venues actually require all photographers to provide proof of their insurance before working on their premises.
Can we see a sample of a full wedding gallery?
When first inquiring with a wedding photographer, don’t be afraid to ask to see a sample of a previous wedding that they have photographed. Seeing a full gallery will give you an idea of a photographer’s shooting style, a ballpark of how many images you could receive (although this may differ based on the length of photography coverage), and what the photographer’s images look like in all lighting conditions.
What kind of lighting do you use?
If the photographer says “3 Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT controlled with pocket wizards or Canon ST-E3-RT” would that mean anything to you? I don’t think so, and that’s why this question drives me a bit crazy! Plenty of photographers call themselves “natural light photographers”. There’s nothing wrong with that, but usually, this is a way of masking the fact that they have no idea how to use flashes. So the rationale behind this question is this: a great wedding photographer should be flexible in every situation. If it starts raining in your lovely park or field and you need to use some dark indoor location for photos, you need to be sure that your wedding photographer is able to shoot there too. If your photographer uses one flash only that is mounted to the camera, their photos may not be “wow”. If your wedding photographer can and knows how to use multiple flashes properly, definitely you will get more of a” wow” in your pictures.
What happens if you can’t make it to the wedding?
You’ve heard the term “prepare for the worst but hope for the best,” and the same applies to wedding vendors. Although it is 99.99% likely that your photographer will show up on your wedding day, sometimes the unexpected happens, and there’s nothing you or your photographer can do about it. So on the rare occasion that your photographer is unable to make it to your wedding, ask them what their plan is. Typically they will normally work with assistants or have a group of photographers they could reach out to and have photograph your day, but don’t be afraid to open up that dialogue and know what their procedure is for the one-off instance.
What exactly is included in your packages?
When comparing fees, check whether prints, albums and proofs, as well as extra coverage such as engagement shoots, are covered. They can all alter the costs significantly. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if, say, your album isn’t included—you can always make this on your own or buy it à la carte—but you want to be sure you’re comparing apples to apples to get the best value. If you have your shooter use film, also ask about film costs and processing fees.
Does your studio allow me to choose a certain style of post-production?
Another factor in how your pictures will look is the style of post-production that the studio employs. That is to say, they do post-produce your images. Be extremely careful, as many studios don’t post-produce your images, rather they give them to you unfinished and straight from the camera. In this situation, you are not receiving a finished and professional product.
What attire will the photographer and their assistants wear?
Even though the wedding photographers are a big part of the wedding day, it’s important that they are not distractions. As such, the photographer needs to blend in as much as possible. Furthermore, for religious or cultural ceremonies, there may be certain colours that are considered taboo. Make sure your photographers will be dressed appropriately for the occasion. Typical Lin and Jirsa wedding photography attire is black suit pants with a black polo or dress shirt. We dress completely in black because we want to go unnoticed by the clients and guests so that we can capture the event as photojournalists.
What happens if you are ill, or there is an emergency?
Find out the backup plan. For peace of mind, ask them about their back up plan. Photographers with years of experience will have a plan, and they may have a little list of trusted photographers they can call upon if they cannot make it for whatever reason, by asking this you will also feel more relaxed and be able to trust them.
If you ask this and your photographer doesn’t have a plan or ignores the question then do challenge them, this is one day and one chance to capture, so they should have a backup plan.
How much would it cost for an additional hour?
Make sure you are getting everything captured that you want. Plan out the day and the timings and ensure your photographer is there to capture it all, check how many hours are included in a full day’s coverage, do you want your photographer to get photos of you and your bridesmaids getting ready, do you want them to be around to capture your first dance? Think about how many hours you will need and the schedule for your day and ensure your photographer will be there to cover it all.
You may have booked your photographer and agreed to everything with them, however, you may have changed the timings slightly, the cake cutting has been moved back slightly which has moved your first dance back. Hence, it is little later now, if timings are tight and you may be pushed then speak to your photographer and see if you can agree for them to stay an extra hour and find out how much they would charge for this.
It was maybe better to have your photographer booked to be there a little later so that you don’t feel rushed and stressed on the day to get everything done before your photographer leaves.
Have you ever shot in ‘my venue or location’ before?
Decent wedding photographers have great skills and equipment to shoot at any location at any time. To be honest, as a wedding photographer in London, I find I’m more creative and inspired when I get the chance to shoot in a location that I’ve never been to. However, in case you’re worried about your photographer not knowing the area, you could request that they scout it with you beforehand – they may be doing this regardless. There is no need to waste yours and their time, so if you are one of those couples who insist that they will only hire a photographer who has been to the wedding venue before, please ask your photographer this question before your in-person meeting. If you ask this question, a destination wedding photographer, the chance that they shoot in your venue or location before is close to zero. They are shooting worldwide.
How many weddings have you shot so far?
Dear bride and groom, there is no magic wedding amount that makes a wedding photographer deserving of your business. Each photographer works in different ways, some of them shoot only 15 weddings per year and do their own editing, while others can shoot 50 or more weddings and pay someone else to edit their pictures. Two different business types can’t be compared. This is like comparing melons to grapes – simply doesn’t work. But if you want to ask this, you could do it in a different way. Simply engage a wedding photographer in a chat and get them to tell you more about the previous wedding season: what it was like, what locations did they shoot and what challenges were there, what kind of clients did they work with (plus size, shy, etc.), what workshops they attend, etc. This will definitely give you an idea of how balanced they are as a business person and an artist.
What editing do you do on the pictures?
This is a question where the couple doesn’t realise what they are actually asking about. Do many brides ask if the pictures will be photoshopped or edited? Those are two different things – editing and enhancing. Most wedding photographers do classic editing on all the pictures. Photoshop/enhancing is usually reserved for printing or special requests because to do that on a single photo it takes anywhere between 20 minutes to a couple of hours. Don’t be fooled, and if a wedding photographer tells you that they will smooth your skin on every single photo, it is either a lie or they are working for pennies per hour because it will take a very, very long time to do that in a professional way.
Will you give me the raw files?
Most photographers agree with me when the couple ask this question, and the interview is over. Why? Because asking this gives the photographer the impression that you underestimate their artistic souls. Do you even know what a RAW file is? If yes, why do you want them? Do you want to do the editing by yourself? If yes, why do you want to hire the wedding photographer in the first place?
Is this your full-time business?
This question can mean distinctive things, so ensure you know what it is you are asking for. There are photographers who, let us call it “specialise”, in everything: weddings, fashion, families, newborns, events, boudoir, maternity – an endless list! So if you notice this list on the photographer’s website, make sure you ask them what per cent of their clients are wedding couples. Just because the photographer is a full time one, it doesn’t mean they shoot weddings full time. This question helps to dispense part-time and dedicated photographers, but honestly, you can see someone’s level of professionalism from their website and social media engagement.
How soon will I see my photos?
At best, your wedding photographer will give you a rough estimate, and this is absolutely normal. This will vary based on photographer and seasonal workload. Don’t compare turnaround time for photographers if you don’t know which one does their own editing and which ones outsource this. Some wedding photographers will show “sneak peek” images shortly after weddings.
Could You Recommend Us Any New Wedding Photography Trends?
The photography industry is constantly evolving, so new trends, approaches, and technologies appear regularly. Nowadays, one of the most popular things used by wedding photographers is a drone. These incredibly small machines take amazing shots from the air that a photographer cannot capture on the ground. You can also ask them to make a short video for you that can be posted on social networks. Learn more about the possibilities of engaging your guests in a photography process. This is another popular wedding trend. A photographer cannot be in several places at the same time, so your guests can take a lot of interesting and most often lively pictures for you. Suggest your friends install The Guest application to be able to access these pictures and not have to look for them on social networks.
The photographer should make you feel at ease, no question is silly, and really your photographer should cover this all for you so when they say ‘do you have any questions’ you draw a blank and feel confident in them and that everything you need to know has been discussed.