I hope that everyone is doing great, and that your wedding planing is going smoothly! On today’s blog post, I am going to give you a list of questions that you should ask every photographer, that you are considering to capture your special day! We all know that there are a billion “photographers” out there, and these questions should help you weed out the bad ones, and find the photographer that is right for you! Whether you choose me, and I would be thrilled if you did, or another shooter, I want to make sure that you find the perfect match and get epic shots of your special day! It is one of the biggest days of your life, and I don’t want you to be disappointed in your photos. This is why I try to steer people away from ”super budget photographers”. It may seem like a great deal at the time, but these are moments that you will want to cherish for generations. Be sure to choose wisely! So without further ado, here are 29 questions that you should ask your photographer!
Feel free to print this out and take it to your consultation! I usually include several pictures in my blog posts, but if you are going to print this out, I don’t want to use up all of your ink! :)
#1 How far in advance do you need to book the photographer? (In most cases the earlier you can book them the better! A lot of people wait until the last minute and that unfortunately doesn’t leave you with a lot of options. I am constantly getting bookings a year or more in advance!)
#2 How much is the retainer and when is it due? When will your final payment be due?
#3 What packages do they offer? (see if they have a print out, or if they can send you a pdf so you can review it.)
#4 What is included in their wedding packages? How many hours of coverage, Products and digital files, A second shooter? Etc
#5 Can you customize a package based on your needs? (Not everyone is looking for the same thing. It is nice if the photographer is flexible and can modify things to best fit your needs)
#6 Is the photographer full time or is it their second job? (The benefits of using a full time photographer is that they have a lot more time to devote to you and your photos. Also, if photography is their only source of income, you know that they take their work very seriously, poor performance can be the end of their career!)
#7 Do they include engagement photos in their packages? (It is always nice to do your engagement photos with the same photographer as your wedding. That way you get to see them in action. It also helps you build a great relationship with them, that will make it a lot less nerve-wracking than shooting with a new photographer at your wedding)
#8 How long before you will be able to see the photos after the engagement session? (You need to make sure that the photographer can meet the deadlines so you can include photos in your invitations!)
#9 How long have they been in business? (Every wedding is different in its own special way, but your want a photographer that know how to work under pressure. Whether it is tight timelines, crazy guests or just knowing how to make the day flow smoothly, you want a photographer that has been around the block a time or two.)
#10 How many weddings have they shot? Has the photographer done many that were similar to your wedding in size and style? (Everyone has to get their start somewhere, but you probably don’t want it to be at your wedding)
#11 Do you they a portfolio that you can review? Are all of the images theirs, and is the work recent? (look at tons of their work. Make sure it is consistent. Unfortunately lots of “fauxtographers” are stealing images for their portfolios these days)
#12 What type of equipment do they use? (This is probably only useful if you have some knowledge of camera gear, otherwise it will just sound like a bunch of gibberish)
#13 Do they have reviews that you can view? (The more happy clients the better!)
#14 What do they offer? Prints? Digital files? What other types of products do you offer? (What are the costs of their products? Do they come from a professional print lab? I have nothing against Costco, but I wouldn’t want my wedding canvas to be made by them)
#15 Are there any additional fees, such as travel costs, second shooter, location permits, engagement sessions, added products, additional hours of coverage etc? ( Depending on where you are wanting to shoot, permit fees can very well be out of the photographers control. You want all additional fees to be up front at the time of booking)
#16 If your wedding site is out of their area, do they charge a travel fee and what does that cover? How much is the travel fee? ( What all do they require for travel? Gas? Lodging?)
#17 Are they photographing other events on the same day as yours? (You don’t want a photographer thats running out of gas at your wedding)
#18 Is it okay if other people take photos while the photographer is taking photos? (It is always preferred that we don’t have a ton of people with cameras running around and impeding our jobs, and some photographers have a strict policy against it)
#19 Has the photographer ever worked at your wedding site before? If not, do they plan to check it out in advance? (You don’t want the photographer to be wandering around on the wedding day looking for photo locations. That will eat up a ton of the time allotted for portraits)
#20 If your event lasts longer than expected, will they stay? Is there an additional charge? ( You want a photographer that is flexible and able to capture all of the moments if the party goes into extra innings!)
#21 Does the photographer offer a sneak peek of the photos after the wedding? (Who likes to wait, right? And with social media and the speed of everything these days we want at least a couple pictures to share right away!)
#22 Does the photographer provide retouching, color adjustment or other corrective services? (It is great to know what length the photographer will go to when editing.)
#23 What is the usual turn around time for all of the edited wedding photos? Will they be viewable online, on a CD? (You don’t want the photographer to rush through the editing process, but at the same time, you want the photos delivered in a timely manner, so you can relive your day all over again!)
#24 What is the ordering process after you receive your photos, are there extra fees? (Do you get the digital files or is there additional ordering needed? You definitely don’t want to get blindsided with more fees!)
#25 How long after you order your photos/album will you get them? (The photographer’s ordering system can determine the length of time until you get your beloved wedding photos. It is always great to know roughly how long that time is!)
#26 What sets them apart from other photographers? ( You want to have some sort of idea what you are looking for in a photographer. See if their answers set you at ease. You need to have total confidence in your photographer. The last thing you want to be doing on your wedding day, is looking around for where the photographer is. They should be 20 steps ahead of you!)
#27 Will friends and family have access to the wedding photos, and will they be able to order products for themselves? (I’m sure that everyone is going to want to see your awesome photos! How easy is it for you to share them?)
#28 Does the photographer have backup gear, liability insurance, a business license, and a backup photographer in case they get sick or injured? (You want a photographer that is prepared for just about anything! Chances are, if it can happen it eventually will!)
#29 Can you give the photographer a list of shots that you would like? (This is just one more way to see how accommodating the photographer is to your needs.)
Questions you want to ask yourself:
Do you feel a connection with this photographer that you are talking to? Are your personalities a good match? ( The photographer will be one of the people that you will be in contact with almost your entire wedding day. You want to make sure that you get along great!)
Do you love their work and what they are offering? What do you love the most? (This is a very important decision, be sure that you are confident in your selection.)
Has the photographer listened well, and addressed all of your questions and concerns? ( You want a photographer that has your best interest as priority #1!)
Hopefully this list gave you some questions that you may have not previously thought about. At the end of your wedding day, you will end up with 3 things that you will cherish for a lifetime:
#1 A NEW HUSBAND/WIFE!!
#2 your wedding dress
#3 your photos!!!
So, it is extremely important that you choose the right photographer for you!
Have a great day everyone!