When we look at all the wedding vendors, your photographer is probably one of THE MOST important people who will work for you at your wedding. They will be there from before the gown goes on, to the last song at the end of the night. They will bear witness to all the big and little moments and *with any luck* deliver your perfect images in a timely manner.
Wedding photography is one of those categories where you get what you pay for. It’s important to know what questions to ask your wedding photographer so that you know they are truly a professional. This person will be responsible for documenting one of the most important days of your life, make sure you get what you want.
Here are my Top 13 Questions you should bring with you to every consult, phone call or have in the back of your mind as you peruse a photographer’s website.
13 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer
1. What’s your experience level?
It’s okay if they’re newer, just know there is a quality difference in both your experience and your photos from novice to advanced experience levels. How many weddings have they shot? How long have they been in business? These are good analytical questions that have hard numbers you can ask for. There is no “magic number” but it’s good knowledge to have.
2. What’s included in my package?
Are they pre-made packages? Do you get to pick what you want? Are you stuck with something you don’t like? It’s good to know where your money is going and what control you have over.
3. How do you back up files?
You’ll want to ensure your pictures are safe! Ask specifically about how they are stored and for how long. Some photographers only hold onto images for a year or two after the wedding because data storage is a business cost that adds up over time.
4. What do you love about what you do?
What makes them passionate about what they do? Based on their body language and how they answer, you’ll be able to tell if this person is into what they do.
5. What happens if you can’t make it?
There will come a day (for every wedding vendor) when the unthinkable happens. Car wreck, family emergency, etc. It’s important that they have a backup plan or at least a refund policy if they cannot provide their services for a substantial reason.
6. What happens if we need to change our date?
Whether it’s a family emergency, a postponement, it’s good to know if you’ll be able to keep your photographer and if your current package will be put towards that new date.
7. Can I print my photos?
Some photographers will only give you low res jpegs, which do not make for great prints. Make sure you know what you’re getting and if you’ll need to order your prints through your photographer etc.
8. How would you describe your style?
How do they like to shoot? Documentary? Posed? Editorial? These are all buzz words that can mean a lot of different things. Ask your photographer to walk you through how they work a wedding from portraits to family formals.
9. How do we reserve our date?
If you’re looking for a photographer during prime booking season (typically 9-12 months from the date), you’ll want to know who gets “first dibs” on them. Will they warn you if another couple asks about your date? Make sure you know so they don’t get booked by someone else!
10. Do you carry back up equipment?
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! Cameras are technology. Technology fails. It happens, but if your photographer is prepared it’ll be okay. Having back up cameras, cards, flashes etc. It’s an important business investment that all photographers you work with should have.
11. Are you licensed and insured?
To have business insurance, you need a business license. Most venues will require vendors to carry insurance, photographers included. This not only shows they are a professional in the eyes of the law but also helps protect you incase a guest at your wedding breaks a piece of the photographer’s gear…then you’re not held responsible.
12. What kind of payments do you accept?
Debit, credit & checks are best because they are trackable. If a photographer gives you a “cash” discount, this is a big red flag. It means they might not be reporting their income, filing taxes and might not be a “real” business.
13. Can I make photo requests?
Some photographers will LOVE to hear your input, others might have a strict script they stick to.
To make this worth your while, I’ve gone through and answered all these questions for you below! Check ’em out!
13 Questions Answered!
- I’ve been shooting weddings since 2013 and have photographed 100+ weddings.
- All my packages are custom built by my couples via an a-la-carte menu. Only invest in what you love.
- I back up my files on two separate external RAID drives, the cloud, your final gallery online AND a SSD in a waterproof lock box…in a fireproof safe. No joke.
- I love making awesome sh*t for cool people. I love getting to know your people. I love making art. I also love wedding cake #honestyalways
- I’m a part of an emergency vendor group (my best ladies who are all wedding photographers). We have each other’s back, schedules and mad skills to fill in when the unthinkable happens.
- If you need to change your date, you have up until the 30 days prior to the wedding to do so. Your current retainer is applicable to any wedding date I’m available for in the next calendar year.
- YES! You can print your own photos, or order from your gallery. The images you receive are high res jpegs, great for printing.
- My photography style is a mix of documentary and editorial. Basically, I like to be a fly on the wall, but I step into a more posed workflow for family formals and those epic artistic shots. Otherwise, secret smiles, little kisses are my favorite moments to steal.
- You reserve your date with your deposit and contract. The person who has their consult (Facetime or in person) has first dibs above the next person. If another couple inquires for your date, you have 24 hours to book before I open the date for another consult.
- Yes! I carry backup gear (of everything) with me to every wedding.
- Yes, I am fully licensed and insured!
- I accept all the trackable payments, debit, credit and check.
- Yes! You can make photo requests, show me your Pinterest board and we’ll make magic together. However, I do not guarantee any specific shot as the weather, timeline and other vendors could impact our ability to do such things.
WHEW! That was a lot. I hope you feel more confident in what to look for in a photographer…and perhaps ready to slide into my inbox and start planning your big day together!
Wanting more advice? Here are some other great articles to check out while planning your wedding: