14 Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer Before Booking Your Wedding With Them
Whenever I meet with potential wedding clients, I always start off our meeting by asking them if they have any questions for me. Over the past few years, I've realized that most couples would love to ask questions, but they just aren't sure what questions they need the answers to yet. Since I answer all of these in my client meetings, I thought I should share a few questions that I think you should ask your potential wedding photographer before booking your wedding with them.
1. What style do you shoot with?
It's important to book a wedding phtoographer who strives to shoot with a style that you love. Are they a candid & lifestyle photographer who just captures what naturally happens throughout your wedding day? Or are they more of a formal & posed photographer who sets everything up for the perfect shot? I personally use a lifestyle approach when it comes to weddings since I just adore all of the natural moments and raw emotion that happen on such a big day, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a photographer who will set you up and pose you in every photo! It's just a different approach and perspective of capturing your big day!
2. How would you describe your editing style?
Some photographers edit their photos as bright & airy while others edit with a dark & moody style. I personally edit with "true to life"colors since I think it's truly timeless. It may not be super in & popular right now, but I wouldn't want to deliver photos that my clients are going to look back on in 50 years and think "wow, I definately went with a style that was really 'in' back then. You can absolutley tell that I got married in 2021." No thanks! I want to deliver photos that you will look back on and still love for the rest of your lifetime. True & vibrant colors with a higher contrast are my go to!
3. Can I see a few examples of wedding galleries with different types of lighting?
Every wedding photographer has shot a wedding at a dream venue where absolutley everything came together perfectly. The photos from this perfect day are probably the ones that they use most often to advertise on social media. I'll be the first to admit that everything about my own wedding day wasn't "absolutely perfect" in regards to lighting, timing, etc. I got married in a catholic church with no natural light, so I know it wasn't an ideal space in the mind of my photographer. This means that I can speak with experience when I say that every location on your wedding day may not be ideal, and that's okay. You should ask to see example galleries that show multiple situations so that you can see both ideal days (where everything came together easily for your photographer), but also a gallery that where everything didn't come together perfectly. It's important to see how your photographer will make the best of an unideal situation and how they can work with their creativity and equipment. You may also want to ask if they have any galleries similar to what yours will look like. Same venue? Same time of year? Etc.
4. Do you carry backup equipment with you?
When someone is asked to think of a question for a photographer, I think that the first thought that comes to mind is to ask what kind of camera they have. From my experience, unless you've done some camera research in the past, the answer to this question probably won't actually mean anything to you. Instead of asking your potential wedding photographer what kind of camera they use, ask them if they carry backup equipment. It's not fun to think about, but things can go wrong on your wedding day and it's important for you to have a photography team that's prepared. Between my second shooter and I, we typically have four different cameras, eight different lenses, tons of extra batteries, flashes, memory cards, chargers, etc. We want to make sure that we're prepared for anything thrown our way and it's important to know that your photographer is, too. Even though you may not know the difference between an entry level and professional camera model, you do want to know that your photographer has a backup plan just in case something goes wrong!
5. Do you back up your images?
This is SO important! Since my camera has a dual memory card slot and can copy photos onto two cards at once, I'm actually backing up the photos onto a second card as I shoot your wedding. Once I'm home that night I also copy them to an external harddrive and leave them on the memory cards until your photos have been delivered to you. I want your photos to be safe and secure and it's important to know that your photographer is taking steps to make sure your memories are protected!
6. Do you carry insurance?
Another great question! Any professional photographer who takes their business seriously should be insured. In fact, a lot of wedding venues require their vendors to carry insurance in order to work weddings on their property. I absolutely have general liability insurance that also covers my equpment if it's lost, damaged, or stolen.
7. Do you include a second photographer in your most common package?
I always recommend having two photographers for your wedding day. If you and your future spouse are getting ready at seperate locations, having a second photographer will allow you to document both of you during this process. Even though you'll pretty much be together for the rest of the day, having a second photographer allows you to get another perspective of your day. A lot of my clients are often surprised at the variety of photos they get back in their gallery since both photographers typically spend the majority of the day at the same venue, but two different people have two different perspectives and it's amazing to see how they capture things so uniquely! This is why my most popular packages include a second photographer!
8. Do you offer complimentary engagement sessions?
All of my wedding packages include a complimentary engagement session because I think that it's SO important to be able to work with one another before your big day. It's important to establish a trusting relationship with your photographer not only because you'll spend most of your wedding day within an arms reach of them, but also because they're documenting your memories. Your photographer should want to get to know you & your unique story so that they can make sure that your photos represent you. An engagement session not only documents such a special time in your life, but allows you to get comfortable with being in front of a camera & around your photographer!
9. How much editing do you do with your images?
It's important to be open and honest with your potential wedding photographer before booking with them. If you want your waist line thinned out or the highlights in your hair removed in your wedding photos, bring this up to your potential wedding photographer before booking with them. It is NOT industry standard to do this and may require an upcharge that you will want to know about ahead of time. Most photographers, myself included, focus on enhancing colors, sharpening, cropping, and straighting the horizon when editing since we want to document your day and tell the story of how it truly happened.
10. Do I get any unedited photos?
It is also NOT industry standard to deliver back RAW or unedited photos, but I feel like there's sometimes confusion about this. I feel like a lot of pepole ask this after they get their edited gallery back, so I recommend asking before you book so you know for the future! You should book a photographer with an editing style that you LOVE since their style will show how your photos will be delievered back to you!
11. What is your retainer fee? When it is due? What about the final payment? Do you offer payment plans?
If I'm ever asked a question in a meeting with a potential client, it's usually one of these! Photography is an investment and it's importatnt to know how much you have to invest and when. My $500 retainer fee is due at booking (when we sign your contract) & your remaining payment is due one month before your wedding day. If you'd prefer to go on a payment plan instead of only making the two payments, that's absolutely an option as well!
12. Can I give you a shot list to make sure you take the photos that I really want?
Absolutely! If you've been planning your wedding for the past ten years on Pinterest or have any dream photos ideas that you've thought of, let me know & I can add them to your shot list! I want to deliver your gallery back with photos that you love, and if that means using a few of your dream photos for inspiration, we can do that! However, I will say that this is NOT necessary at all if you don't have any "must have" photos in mind. When you hire a professional photographer, you can trust them to be able to capture plenty of photos that make you look and feel your best. Even when my couples don't give me a shot list for their wedding day, I'm able to capture plenty of photos and a variety of poses without them having to plan them out or let me know in advance!
13. Do you have a contract?
This is such an important question! Contracts protect BOTH parties and your wedding photographer should absolutley sign one with you. Contracts outline everything you agree on and can always be referred back to if you have any questions leading up to (or even after) your big day. I always like to sit down and grab coffee with potential wedding clients to go over my contract and answer any questions that it may bring up!
14. How long is your turn around time? What is your delivery method?
Industry standard for wedding gallery deliver is anywhere from 4-8 weeks. I guarantee 4-6 weeks in my contract, but it can be sooner depending on the time of year that you get married. Some wedding photographers deliver photos back in online galleries, but I prefer to mail my clients back thier photos on a custom USB drive with a little box full of goodies!
I really hope that this blog post was beneficial for you and inspires you to ask the right questions before booking your wedding photographer. If you're still looking for a photographer for your big day, I would absolutely LOVE to work with you! I am based out of the Cincinnati, Ohio area, but I love to travel and would be honored to capture your big day, regardless of where it takes place! Just reach out and we can start chatting about details :)