Updated October 11, 2019

Questions to Ask a Wedding Photographer

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Interviewing photographers can feel a lot like a job interview. Even though you are doing the interviewing, it can feel awkward at best. It's an important part of making the perfect wedding day, though.

Each photographer has his or her own vision, style, and work ethic. You are going to pay a lot of money for this service, and it's a vital component of your wedding day. Take your fiancé with you and ask photographers the following questions to make sure you choose the right one for your big day.

Basic Questions
  • How Long Have You Been A Photographer?
  • What Is Your Main Photography Style?
  • How Many Weddings Have You Shot In This Style?
  • Will You Only Book My Wedding Or Will There Be Other Events That Weekend?
  • Do You Have Proper Insurance Coverage?
  • What Do Your Photography Packages Include?
  • Can We See Sample Photos That You've Taken?

Questions You Should Ask About Your Shoot
  • How Many Photographers Will Be At The Wedding? Are You The Photographer?
  • Do You Coordinate With The Videographer At The Event?
  • Have You Shot A Wedding At Our Venue Location Before?
  • Can We Provide You With A List Of Desired Shots?
  • Do You Shoot In Color And Black And White?
  • Do You Shoot in Digital, or Film?
  • Are There Extra Fees For Extra Shots?
  • How Long Will You Stay At The Wedding? Is There A Charge For "Extra Time"?

The Pictures
  • Do You Edit The Photos For Color Or Other Issues?
  • What Types Of Picture Packages Do You Offer?
  • Will I Receive All Of My Proofs?
  • Will I Have Digital Rights To The Photos?
  • How Long Will It Take To Receive The Pictures?

Questions to Ease Your Mind
  • What's Your Plan If Your Equipment Fails?
  • What Is Your Backup Policy Should A Photographer Fall Ill?
  • What Will You Wear To The Wedding?

The Basic Questions Everyone Should Ask

How long have you been a photographer?
Listen carefully to the photographer's answer. Has he done this professionally or is this a hobby? You may be just fine with someone who does this as a hobby, but it's important to know in case you wanted a true professional at your wedding.

What Is your main photography style?
If you don't know what photography style you want, ask the photographer for examples of different styles he/she has shot. A simple way to know what you are talking about before you interview a photographer, though, is to search "wedding photograph styles" on Pinterest.

How many weddings have you shot in this style?
You probably want a photographer who has experience in the style you desire. Unless you like being the guinea pig, ask about his experience with it and even ask to see specific shots in this style so that you can make sure you are on the same page.

Will you only book my wedding or will there be other events that weekend?
This will matter if you choose a smaller wedding photographer who doesn't have the resources to handle more than one event in a weekend. Listen to his answer and then ask questions about how they handle more than one event, what if one event runs long, or a photographer gets tied up? How do they handle the situation?

Do you have proper insurance coverage?
Photographers need insurance to cover the unexpected. Equipment can fail, accidents can happen, and unfortunately, theft and vandalism occur. Without insurance, you could have a photographer without equipment on your big day.

What do your photography packages include?
Each photographer will have different packages. Don't assume that a package includes everything from the engagement photos to the rehearsal dinner. Specifically ask about any shots you would like and whether they are included.

Do you want the photographer to photograph your wedding dress and other accessories before you dress? Again, ask because this could be an extra cost since it's outside of the traditional wedding time.

Can we see sample photos that you've taken?
Looking at photos the photographer has taken will give you a firsthand feel for his style. You'll also see the quality of the pictures and get a general idea of the pictures he/she takes. Are they pictures that give you goosebumps or do you just think that they are mediocre?

Questions You Should Ask About Your Shoot

How many photographers will be at the wedding? Are you the photographer?
If you have a large wedding, you'll want multiple photographers. If you have an average wedding, you will still probably want a photographer and an assistant photographer. Unless you have a small wedding of fewer than 50 people, it's hard for one photographer to capture all of the special moments that occur at a wedding.

If the photographer that you interview won't be your photographer, ask to speak with the photographer who will shoot your wedding. This way you can ask specific questions and avoid unpleasant surprises.

Do you coordinate with the videographer at the event?
It's good to have a photographer and videographer who have worked together before. If it doesn't work out that way, at least work with a photographer who will have a conversation with the videographer so they can work side-by-side rather than getting in one another's way.

Have you shot a wedding at our venue location before?
It's a good idea to have your venue chosen before interviewing photographers. This way, you can see what type of experience they have at your venue. If they've been there before, they may know some secret tips about getting the best pictures at your wedding.

Can we provide you with a list of desired shots?
Some professionals won't work with a shot list, because after all, they are professionals. They know what works and what doesn't work, and want the freedom to create their vision. However, some will allow a short list of specific shots, if you ask. The key is that you have to ask.

Do you shoot in color and black and white?
If you imagine having true black and white photos (not having the photo changed), but having the shot taken in black and white, you'll need a photographer who offers that service. Don't assume, as not all photographers have the equipment and/or talent to do so.

Do you shoot in digital, or film?
Today, most photographers shoot in digital, yet film photographers still exist. Film can offer a unique feel and charm to photos that differs slightly from digital. Of course a lot of the "film look" can be mimicked using digital editing, but it's best not to compromise if your dead set on a "film-look".

Are there extra fees for extra shots?
If you ask for shots outside of the photographer's standard shot list, there may be an extra fee that you'll want to know about ahead of time.

How long will you stay at the wedding? is there a charge for "extra time"?
Most photography packages have a specific time that the photographers will remain at your event.

We all know that things happen, though. Whether there's a delay in the wedding or you just want the photographer to stick around for a little more time, you'll want to know what it will cost.

The Pictures

Do you edit the photos for color or other issues?
Many wedding photographers provide you with access to all of the proofs, but they are usually "as is." Ask your photographer about his proof policy. Will you receive them all and will they be unedited? Do they only retouch the photos that you order?

What types of picture packages do you offer?
Some photographers offer strictly a la carte pictures, while others have specific packages that include a certain number of prints and different-sized albums. Go through each package to see what you might want and don't forget to ask about any extra fees for things you may want outside of the package.

Will I receive all of my proofs?
Don't assume you'll receive every picture the photographer takes. Some offer this as a part of their package, others have a separate fee for the proofs. Also ask if the proofs will be edited or unedited.

Will I have digital rights to the photos?
Without digital rights, you won't be able to post your pictures on your social media websites. You'll need to ask specifically if your photographer allows this if you want this privilege.

How long will it take to receive the pictures?
You'll want to ask about the proofs as well as the edited pictures, as they will each have their own timeline.

Questions to Ease Your Mind

What's your plan if your equipment fails?
Life happens and equipment stops working at the most inopportune times. You don't want to find out the hard way that the photographer doesn't have backup equipment.

What is your backup policy should a photographer fall ill?
It's important to know the photographer's backup plan because life happens. If the photographer falls ill or has some other type of emergency, they should have a concrete backup plan. You want to feel assured that no matter what happens on your special day, you'll have someone there photographing your wedding.

What will you wear to the wedding?
If you want your vendors dressed formally, don't assume that will be the case. Specifically ask about their dress code to see if it meshes well with your vision of the day.

Bottom Line

Choosing the photographer is just as important as choosing your venue or wedding dress. Take your time, interview several photographers, and choose the one that suits your style and budget the most!

Write to Kim P at evan@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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