Updated: Jan 27
Looking for a wedding photographer can be overwhelming. This post is the first of our series to help you choose the right photographers for your big day.
Is my Date Available?
Always start with asking this question. Your time is valuable, why waist it asking all these questions if your date isn't even available.
How Long have you been in business?
This question is important to some and not to others. I have seen both sides of this. Generally older companies will have more experience. They will understand how to handle all issues that may arrive. Although I have seen where younger companies will have more creativity. They are wanting to grow their portfolio and therefore want to change their photos up more often than not. This can be seen as a benefit or con.
How many weddings have you shot in the last 12 months?
This is where you will learn of the photographers experience level. Being in business for five years is great but shooting a handful of weddings vs forty weddings is a major difference. The more they have worked recently, the more of a chance they can handle things that may arise. They are also more likely to know trendy editing styles and poses vs timeless.
Do you have insurance?
Please understand insurance is not expensive in this industry nor is it difficult to obtain. On the off chance your dream photographer doesn't have insurance, please convince them to get it! If someone were to trip over their bag or a cord for their lights this will at minimum cover possible medical expenses.
Do you have write to one or two cards?
Most brides and grooms wont entirely understand what I mean by this. Cameras write each photo taken to some sort of memory device such as SD Cards. If they only write to
one card and it gets corrupted. Your wedding photos could just be gone. Ideally they will have a camera that allows you to write to multiple cards. This significantly decreases the likely hood of this happening.
Do you have backup equipment?
A wedding photographer starting out will not have backup equipment. Generally within the first year to three years they will only have one camera. If this is the case, it shouldn't be a deal breaker. It should merely be another thing to consider. If they only have one and it fails, what happens then?
Who will be shooting my wedding? Will I meet them before the date? If they are unable to make it, is there a backup?
Most likely the one shooting the wedding is the one you are speaking to. In some cases (like in ours) they might have an advertising or management team member that handles all calls. Especially in this case, you want to meet your photographer for the day. That will allow you to get a feel for the person you will spend the day with. Their personality matters as much if not more than their photo work. In this day and age editing can truly work magic but you cant just change someones personality.
Are you shooting other weddings that weekend?
Basically how busy are they. If they're shooting three weddings that weekend, they might be spreading themselves thin. This is coming from someone that has had those weekends. Its hard! When doing this expect your photos to take a little longer to get to you. A dedicated photographer will chose to take longer rather than sacrificing quality.
Will you have a second shooter or assistant?
This is just good information. A second shooter may help if running behind. They will also get better angles during the ceremony. Most of all they can help lighten the load on the photographer, allowing them to focus on getting you the best shots possible.
Have you been to my wedding venue before?
Having seen the wedding venue before, will allow the photographer to know great photography spots. It will also help them know where to stand for different parts of the ceremony or reception. If they have not seen the venue before, it might be worth them going before the wedding date or time to get an idea of the venues layout.
Have you worked with the other vendors before
Normally a wedding photographer may have worked with the wedding planner or DJ before. They will know if their were any issues in the past. I myself have seen DJs argue with brides and actually even curse at them. Obviously a heads up would be warranted in this situation.
What attire can I expect from you?
This may not seam like a priority but you want to be sure they wont arrive in gym shorts and a t-shirt.
How will I obtain the photos?
Will you get the photos via online album or flash drive? How will you download them? Will you have the ability to get prints? Will you choose the ones you get or does the photographer?
Do I receive printing rights? Do you have an rights reserved?
Can you take the photos to Walgreens and print them or will there be a fee? Some photographers will not give you printing rights. This means you have to come to them to get any prints done. Also what rights do they keep. Will you be seeing these photos used in adds. Are they able to resell your photos to other companies?
What if I desire an extra hour?
If you were to need an extra hour, most photographers will have an extra fee. They also may or may not even allow it. Its best to ask an advanced.
Are there travel fees?
Most photographers charge a travel fee but outside of a radius. Its best to know the radius. Also how much will is be?
What is your turnaround time?
I have seen turnaround times from two week to one year. Obviously that is crazy long when waiting on photos of your best day ever!
Do you offer prints or albums?
Some photographers don't offer prints or albums. Some will outsource them. Lastly some do it themselves.
Do you offer touchup edits?
Most wedding photographers offer touchup edits but its nice to know how many. This is to make changes after the final edits are sent over.
How does payment work?
You will want to know about the deposit to hold your spot. You will also want to know when your payment is due. Lastly will you be able to break up the payments?