10 questions couples must ask wedding photographers
When you started thinking about your wedding, I’m sure your mind drifted to how your photos would look. Maybe you have a photographer in mind, or maybe a glimmer of fear set in as you thought about whether they would understand and capture your style and photograph what is important to you both.
There are so many talented photographers out there and, just like your dress and your intended, it’s about finding the right one for you. While I love Google, it sometimes leaves me feeling overwhelmed and I never know when to stop when I’ve asked it a question! Any search that ends up on YouTube is definitely the end of any useful work happening for a few hours!
If you search for ‘questions to ask a wedding photographer’, page after page of results will come back from wedding blogs, magazines, planners and other photographers. What you’ll notice is that the list of questions varies from post to post and some are truly awful and outdated and won’t help you in your quest!
Hiring suppliers for your wedding can be daunting and there are so many things to think about and questions to ask. So, I’ve put together my own list of 10 questions to help get you on the right path to find ‘The One’.
For each question, I’ve given you reasons for asking as well as what some of the answers should be, as some lists out there assume you have a certain level of knowledge.
1. Can we see a gallery of photos of a wedding from start to finish?
If you ask nothing else, make sure you ask this question. Most professional photographers use online gallery services so it should be easy for them to share links with you to a couple of previous weddings. Weddings are challenging in that they are constantly changing so you need a photographer who can cope well with each part of the day. They may take amazing couple portraits and mainly show these on their online portfolios, but you want to know if they can also photograph the ceremony, speeches and other parts of the day with just as much skill.
If possible, you could ask to see weddings shot in similar venues to yours. Though not essential, it will give you a better idea of how they cope in different lighting situations.
2. Do you have backup equipment?
It isn’t necessary to have the best when it comes to equipment, but your photographer must have a full set of backups, as even the best equipment can have a bad day. To avoid any gaps in coverage due to equipment breaking down on your wedding day, your photographer should have at least two camera bodies, a variety of lenses, at least two flashes and more memory cards and batteries than they think they will need for the day.
3. Will you be the one photographing the wedding?
Some photographers have associate photographers working for them. If you’ve fallen in love with a particular photographer’s work it’s best to make sure, before you sign anything, who will be shooting your wedding.
Which leads nicely to the next question….
4. Can we see the wedding contract?
For your own protection, if your photographer doesn’t have a contract, please walk away - fast.
A contract is important as it not only protects you and your photographer, but it also details what services they will be providing, guidance around what happens if you cancel your booking, what will happen in case of an emergency and a lot of other things relating to your coverage. Contracts are there to protect you as a client but also protect the business interests of your wedding photographer. If you need any further information or clarification of your obligations or those of your photographer, please ask additional questions until you are satisfied you have all the information you need before you sign.
5. If our wedding day is running late, will you stay longer? What additional costs are there if we need you to stay longer?
Your photography contract should state what is defined as additional time and what it will cost. If your photographer does charge for extra hours, make sure you know when you are required to pay them, so you don’t have to worry about missed coverage on your wedding day if things run behind.
6. How soon after our wedding can we expect to see our photos?
This will depend on the photographer’s workload and there is no wrong or right answer. It is not unusual for timelines to be longer in summer as it’s peak wedding season. Saying that though, most wedding photographers will share previews within a few days of your wedding. The time to edit can take anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks.
7. What happens if you’re sick on our wedding day?
The A-Team was never without a plan and neither should your photographer be! Things happen outside of our control – sickness, bereavement, broken bones etc. But you want to know that your photographer is prepared for the unexpected. There should be a contingency plan in place, such as a network of fellow photographers they can trust and call on in case of an emergency. Also, if they cancel for any reason, what happens then? Will they help you find another photographer? Refund any monies paid? Your contract should also detail what your photographer’s obligations are if they are cancelling.
8. What rights to our photos do we have?
Check you know exactly what you can do with your photos. Most photographers will allow you to print and share your photos for personal use but not for commercial use. Your photographer should include details around this in your contract. Photographers do typically retain the copyright of your images, though, which allows them to use the images as part of their portfolio, to book in new clients later on.
However, if you have concerns about your images being in the public domain for whatever reason, do discuss this with your wedding photographer.
9. How do you ensure our photos are kept safe?
Most professional cameras have two card slots meaning you can shoot to two different memory cards at the same time, creating a backup for each photograph taken. A professional photographer should back up your photos when they get home. You will also want to know that they’ll back up to multiple locations. No one knows when a disk drive will corrupt, or cloud service will go out of business so at least two different location types are best.
10. Do you have insurance?
Every business should be insured. Insurance protects your photographer against equipment theft but, more importantly, it provides them with liability protection if one of your guests trips over their tripod and breaks their leg. It’s also worth checking if they have public liability insurance, as some venues won’t let a photographer shoot there without it.
Well done for getting this far! You get a wee bonus! :)
It is possible to see and like more than one photographer and be torn between them. When you’re trying to decide, ask yourselves the following questions to help you with your decision making:
How important is photography to you compared to other aspects of your day?
If it’s high on the list, make sure your budget reflects that.
What is the most important thing you want your photography to reflect?
Do you want your venue or wedding location highlighted? Do you want your photographer to capture the connection between you and your partner? Do you hope your photographer can photograph moments you didn’t know happened but to also tell the story of how much fun your guests had? Define your priorities and look for these things in the portfolios of your shortlist of photographers.
Do you feel comfortable with them? Can you see them being part of your day?
How you feel about your photographer will come through in your photos so make sure your feelings for your photographer don’t mean you’re never happy when you look at your pictures.
Don’t worry about trying to remember all these questions though! I’ve put together a guide to help you choose the perfect wedding photographer for you and it includes a print out of all these questions that you can use for your photographer meetings. There’s even space to scribble down their answers!
In the guide, I cover some of the most important aspects soon-to-be newlyweds should consider before choosing a photographer, like:
- How much should I budget for a photographer? (pg. 3)
- Where do I start looking for a photographer? (pg. 6)
- How can I make it easier to choose the ideal candidate and avoid overwhelm? (pg. 8)
- What questions should I ask to make sure a potential photographer is the right fit? (pg. 9-12)
You can find my answers in the guide or all laid out in my FAQs on my website. Check them out there!
I’m still taking bookings for this year as well as for next year and beyond. But, as I only take on a set number of weddings per year to ensure my couples have the best experience, please do get in touch for your free consultation as soon as possible. Let’s see how I can capture the story of your day.