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20 Questions to Ask When Booking a Wedding Photographer

Before you book your wedding photographer be sure to check out this list of must ask questions you may not have thought of!

Finding the right wedding photographer to document your day can be one of the more stressful parts of your wedding planning process. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with this decision since there’s only one shot to get it right, and you want to have photos of your wedding day that you love to look back on for years to come. With how important this decision is you’re not going to want to make it without doing your research, which is why I put together this list of 20 questions you need to ask before booking your wedding photographer. 

Be Open and Honest with Your Potential Photographer

Before we get into the 20 questions to ask your wedding photographer, I wanted to make a quick note about how this part of the wedding planning process should be handled. When talking with potential wedding photographers, and any of your wedding vendors for that matter, it’s important to be open and honest with them throughout the entire process. You’ll be asking them a LOT of questions, and if their answers don’t align with your vision that is totally fine, but you HAVE to let them know. Similarly your potential photographer should be asking you a lot of questions about your day, answer them honestly! This is for both you and the photographers benefit as you’ll both know exactly what to expect and what you’re getting into before working with one another.

Getting to Know Your Photographer

You’ll want to get to know more about your photographer prior to your wedding day since they’re the vendor you’ll spend the most time with on your wedding day. Depending on your timeline you may spend more time with them than your soon to be spouse! It’s crucial then that you get along with them, but also that you can trust and rely on their process to give you the best experience possible on your wedding day. 

1. What is Your Approach to the Wedding Day Itself?

Every wedding photographer handles a wedding differently. Do they act as a fly on the wall, documenting moments as they happen without intervention or  involvement? Do they like to be in the moment themselves, hyping up your wedding party members as they surround you on the dance floor? There’s an appeal to both approaches, and a lot of photographers tend to mix a bit of one with the other. Nevertheless it is an important question to ask your wedding photographer to make sure that they document your wedding the way YOU want it.

2. What’s Your Photography Style on a Wedding Day?

Similarly to their approach in terms of photographing the moments of your wedding, what is their photography style like? Are they primarily taking posed photos throughout the day? Are they more documentary style, giving prompts and then documenting the moments that happen after? Maybe they’ve got a more candid style where they document the day without you even realizing they're taking your photo. How your wedding album looks and feels really comes down to your photographer's style.

3. How Do You Prepare for a Wedding?

Every photographer has a different way they prep for a wedding day. Some do a thorough run-through of their gear once and then they’re good to go. Others like to check their gear about 16 different times to make sure everything is charged and ready for your day. If you read my article about a day in the life as a Minnesota wedding photographer then you know I fall in the latter category! This is an incredibly important question to ask when getting to know your wedding photographer as it gives you peace of mind knowing that you can trust them to be prepared and ready for your big day.

4. What Does the Lead Up to Our Wedding Day Look Like?

As your wedding day draws near you’re likely going to have questions that come up that you’ll want to run by your photographer. Maybe you want to know if you can do portraits earlier in the day to make cocktail hour, or maybe you want to know if there’s time in the day to travel for some solo portraits. Regardless of what the question is, you'll want to know what your photographer's process is leading up to your wedding. What is their policy when it comes to contacting them with questions about your wedding? Do they have set dates leading up to your wedding that they’ll schedule a call?

5. Can We See a Sample Gallery?

This one is a must ask! When looking through a photographer’s Instagram or even their website portfolio, you’re really only seeing a highlight reel of their work. Ask to see a full gallery of one of their weddings, ideally one with a similar timeline and setting to yours. This way you can see how consistent their work is throughout the day as well as how they work in different lighting situations, settings, etc.

6. Do You Offer Timeline Assistance?

It’s no secret that planning a wedding day timeline is one of the most challenging parts of the planning process. Most photographers will offer some sort of timeline assistance, though the level of assistance may vary. Some offer sample timelines you can use, some offer full timeline planning assistance, and some will answer questions you have about your timeline to help guide you as you create it. If creating a timeline is a stressor for you in your wedding planning process this is a definite must ask question for your potential wedding photographer!

Details About the Day

In addition to getting to know your wedding photographer and their style, you’ll also want to ask them questions specific to your day and their technical process. 

7. Do You Use a Second Shooter?

I know this can be a make or break question for a lot of couples when they’re looking for a wedding photographer. Some photographers will only photograph weddings solo, while others have a second shooter in almost all scenarios. Personally I rarely have a second shooter with me, though if my couple feels that one is necessary I am open to having one! 

8. Have You Done a Wedding Like Ours Before?

Every wedding day is different, and that is no exaggeration. Even two weddings that use the same venue can feel drastically different from one another. From your timeline layout, the d├ęcor you use, or the amount of guests you have, it all changes the look and feel of your wedding day. Even with these differences there are of course similarities, and that’s where having a photographer with experience comes in handy. Knowing whether your photographer has experience with weddings similar to yours means that you can trust them to be ready for anything the day of your wedding. It’s an extra level of peace of mind that is invaluable for one of the most important days of your life!

9. Have You Worked at Our Venue Before?

Much like how every wedding is different, so is every wedding venue. Ask your photographer if they’ve worked at your specific venue before, and if not have they had weddings at a similar venue. Though this is not a deal breaker if they have not worked at your venue before, it can be helpful when it comes to choosing locations for different types of photos. This experience comes very much in handy when deciding where to take portraits, what lighting does and doesn’t look good, etc.

10. What Equipment Do You Use and Do You Carry Backups?

Everybody knows that at some point or another our technology eventually breaks or stops working. For that reason I, and hopefully EVERY photographer, carry backups for nearly all of my gear on a wedding day. It’s still an important question to ask when booking your wedding photographer though. Ideally your photographer’s gear will work without a hiccup the day of your wedding. On the off chance something doesn’t work though you need to know that your photographer is prepared so that they can keep photographing your day without missing a single moment.

11. Have You Worked with a Wedding Planner Before?

If you plan on hiring a wedding planner for your day this is a definite must ask question for your wedding photographer. Like I mentioned earlier, a lot of photographers help with timeline planning to some degree, and some even take it a step further with actual wedding planning assistance. A wedding planner will take a lot of the wedding planning off your plate, but will mean that your photographer has to coordinate more with them rather than directly with you. This often isn’t an issue, though it can make things more difficult if your photographer is inexperienced with working alongside a planner.

Packages and Payment

Next up are questions you should be asking your photographer relating to the packages they offer, their payment requirements, and other logistics you need to be aware of prior to booking. This may not be the most exciting portion of choosing your wedding photographer, but trust me it's one of the most important!

12. Do You Have Different Wedding Packages/Coverage Options?

Since every wedding day is different, there really is no one size fits all answer when it comes to wedding packages. That’s why a lot of photographers either offer separate wedding packages with different coverage amounts, or have a starting rate that they then build off of depending on the coverage that you need. Knowing which they offer is important though so that you can ensure you get the best possible coverage for your wedding day.

13. Do Your Packages Include an Engagement Session?

Something I strongly recommend for any couple is to book an engagement session with their wedding photographer prior to their wedding day. It’s the perfect opportunity to get to know your photographer and get comfortable so you can avoid that awkward feeling of being in front of the camera on the day of your wedding. It’s important to know then whether your photographer includes an engagement session in your wedding package, or if they’re booked separately from one another. Again I recommend doing the engagement session either way, but this question is important to ask your wedding photographer so that you get the full picture of your payment plan. Speaking of which…

14. What Does Your Payment Plan Look Like/Include?

Every wedding photographer has a different way they handle their payments. Nearly every photographer requires an initial deposit to book them so that they can reserve your date, but from there things can vary from one to the other. Maybe they require the remaining payment be split into thirds, maybe it’s a lump sum paid a month out from the wedding date. There’s also different requirements for your payment method. Some photographers don’t allow credit card payments due to the added bank fees, others are fine with it. Then if you’re planning a destination wedding things get even more interesting. Do they include mileage and their stay in their package fees, or are those separate? Be VERY thorough when asking about payments so that you fully understand your photographer's process before booking.

15. Will We Have to Sign a Contract?

If you ask this question and your potential wedding photographer’s answer is no I recommend looking elsewhere right then and there. A contract is SO important both for you, but also for the photographer as it protects both of you. It ensures that you get the service you paid for, and also guarantees what that service is, and also ensures that your photographer is paid for that service. It’s a must in the industry, so again if a photographer does not require you to sign a contract stay far away!

After the Wedding

The last 5 questions to ask your wedding photographer have to do with what comes after your wedding. As we now know, wedding photographers do much more than just show up the day of your wedding to take your photos, and as you probably guessed that service extends past the wedding day as well. This time is also incredibly important as it’s when you receive your photos!

16. What is Your Turnaround Time?

So, when will you receive your photos? Will you get sneak peeks from your day, or just the full gallery? When will sneak peeks be delivered and when will the full gallery be delivered? These are all questions you need to know the answers to before booking your wedding photographer so you know what to expect. They also should be in your photographer’s contract, and if they are not again this is a huge red flag!

17. How Many Photos Will We Receive?

It’s important to know up front the rough amount of photos you’ll receive from your wedding day. This amount is influenced heavily by a number of things, like your amount of coverage, whether you have a second shooter or not, and your photographer themselves. Some photographers love to deliver huge galleries filled to the brim with moments from your day, others like a more contained and curated approach. Neither way is better than the other, it all comes down to preference which is right for you. That’s why this question is so important to ask when booking your wedding photographer.

18. How Long Will Our Photos Be Available?

Once your album is delivered, how long will you have access to the photos? 6 months? 1 year? Multiple years? I always recommend downloading and printing your photos sooner rather than later, but I also know that isn’t always possible immediately after you receive your wedding album. This deadline is important to be aware of though so that you don’t miss out on the opportunity to access your photos.

19. Can Anyone Download Our Photos?

Of course you’re going to want to share your photos with your friends and family. Some photographers have different practices in how you’re able to do this though. Some allow you to share a specific link that lets users view your gallery without the ability to download the photos directly, others let users download as many photos as they want.

20. Can We Print Our Photos Through You?

One last question I recommend you ask when booking your wedding photographer is what they recommend if you’re looking to print your photos. A lot of photographers will have a system built into your wedding gallery for you to print directly through them. This is often the best option in terms of quality, and also supports your photographer further as they get a percentage of the cost! If that isn’t the case though you can also ask who they recommend printing through for the best quality images.

As I’m now sure you can see there are a LOT of questions that you’ll want to ask before booking your wedding photographer! I can’t overstate how important this process is though, both for ensuring you love your wedding photos and the experience of your wedding day itself. Be sure to follow along on my blog for more wedding planning tips, and if you’re ready to book me as your wedding photographer head to my contact page to send me an inquiry.

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