Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer
Wedding planning is overwhelming, confusing, and stressful. I was a bride myself, and when I started planning my wedding, I had already been in the industry for over seven years. That still didn’t prepare me for everything that a wedding entails. Now, I can’t plan your wedding (but feel free to reach out because I know some bomb wedding planners who can); however, I have put together a list of questions to ask your wedding photographer. These questions will help you decide whether these photographers are a good fit for you and your wedding.
Side note: There are hundreds of questions to ask your wedding photographer. Looking at other articles, there are so many questions that I believe it is overwhelming (I’m saying ‘overwhelming’ a lot, but let’s be honest here, wedding planning can and normally is!) and intimidating. Not to mention, some of them are unnecessary.
Where to Begin
You’ve done your research. Instagram, Facebook, WeddingWire, The Knot, Pinterest … all have been studied. You’ve seen photos and photographers who you absolutely love. Ideas and details that have stood out, screamed out to you, and were totally speaking your language. Now what?!
Well, first you need to know what you’re looking for. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is more important to you: quality or quantity? Do you want amazing photos and are willing to spend some money? Or do you need to stay on a strict budget and are willing to sacrifice quality work for less quality? We all understand! Weddings are EXPENSIVE! So making a priority list is key. Where do you want to spend your money?
- What is your budget for photography? And is it flexible?
- Write down the photographers you’ve seen that really made an impact and kind of stayed with you. What was it about us or our work that drew you in? Was it their style? Did you feel connected to the photographer him/herself?
- What is your ideal wedding photography package? Does it includes prints, canvases, albums, just the digital negatives? Do you want an online gallery that you can share with your guests? How many hours of coverage do you need? How many locations will you want your photographer to visit? Some of these questions your photographer can help you with, as well.
Yay! Let’s Connect!
Congratulations! You’ve got your budget, priority list, wants and needs, and you’ve got your list of favorite photographers. It’s time to reach out! Whether you connect by phone, email, or go straight to scheduling a meeting, make sure you ask these preliminary questions. Some seem so “duh,” but a lot of times, those are the ones that are forgotten. The more detailed your inquiry, the better.
- “Are you available on my wedding date?” Giving your wedding date is KEY! We need to know when you’re getting married so we can check our availability and make sure we’re free to celebrate with you!
- “Do you have standard packages or are they personalized? If personalized, I would love to include …” And be specific! Give us your budget and your dream package, and let’s work together to see what we can come up with.
- “What wedding photography experience do you have?” I have worked hard to get to where I am so I personally love this question. But the truth is, you want to know what kind of experience your wedding photographer has. How many weddings have they shot? Do they have an education in photography? Did they mentor under another photographer or second shoot for others? It’s crucial to know what experience your photographer has under their belt in order to gauge their quality and pricing.
- IMPORTANT: ask to explore a FULL wedding gallery, from start to finish. We only put the best of the best on our sites … the work we personally love. You, our brides and grooms, should have access to a full wedding day gallery. This will allow you to see what that photographer is going to do for you. From getting ready shots, ceremony, and formal family photos to cocktail hour and reception. Is this how you want your wedding day to flow? And does it seem like the photographer knows how to work in different lighting situations (whether it’s the dark indoors, tons of bright and natural light, it’s pouring down rain, etc.)? I can’t stress this request enough.
- “What is your retouching and editing process?” This is an important question simply because you want to know if your images will be edited in any way. It’s not common for a photographer to give you untouched, unedited, raw images but it’s not unheard of. Confirm that your images will be reviewed under a professional eye. This may mean the photos are color-corrected, cropped, and the contrast and saturation levels may be adjusted. Some photographers do a lot more editing than others. For example, I love my images to look more natural, so I may adjust some settings, like adding some contrast and bump up the colors a tad. But, for the most part, I mostly just focus on making sure the colors are normal, your skin looks like your skin (not purple or blue), and that the photo, overall, looks beautiful and frame-worthy. On the other hand, some photographers retouch every image, changing the sky to look more dramatic, making the blues look more blue, retouching your skin to make it look flawless (even when it already is). So when you ask this question, know in your mind what you’re looking for. Do you want drama and more cinematic-looking images? More natural? Or something in-between?
- “This package says I get 300 images. Do I get to pick those 300 or do you choose them? And is that the final number?” This is such a common question and one that both of my best friends have asked me when I was trying to help them pick their wedding photographer. Ask! Don’t be shy! A lot of photographers, like myself, promise 300 images but often deliver more. When I go through the wedding pictures, I only keep the good ones. By good ones, I mean, are everyone’s eyes open? Is anyone stuffing their mouths or in unflattering poses? Do I like the lighting or is there a similar picture that’s better? Are there too many duplicates of a similar picture? If I love 500 images, my couples will get all 500 images. I don’t necessarily stick with the number in their contract but I never go below the number I promised them. And I don’t want to stress my couples out. Going through 500+ images is daunting and (here’s the word again) overwhelming. Then having to pick out your 300 favorites?! Talk about stressful! So, I like to decrease that stress and just give them the 500 because I love them and I know they will, too. This results in my couples being happy, not having to rush and pick their favorites, and they can take their time going through their photos at their own pace.
- Retainer! You’re investing a lot in your wedding so ask about the retainer. How much is the retainer to secure your wedding date? And, God forbid, what is the policy if he or she is unable to photograph your wedding? I know, we don’t want to think about that. As if you didn’t have enough to stress about! BUT, your photographer should have a good backup plan if he or she has an emergency and that should ease your nerves. For me, I have other professional photographers who would be able to step in for me if I happen to pass away suddenly (because, truth is, that’s the only way I will miss your wedding)!
- “How long before I see my wedding pictures?” You’re excited! You can’t wait to see the photos! So why not ask the question? I know as a bride, I wasn’t about to wait a year to see my photos. Every photographer is different, but on average, I would say that you should see your wedding gallery within one to three months. My couples usually see theirs within four weeks. That being said, please keep in mind that it takes time for us to review your images, edit and process them, and we don’t want to rush the process. We want to give you the best, as much as you want to see the best.
You are celebrating your wedding day with this person. Get personal. Make sure your wedding photographer is a good fit for you and your fiance. Ask personal questions and just get to know each other.
The above are professional questions to ask your wedding photographer but don’t feel that you can’t ask more personal ones. I love getting to know my couples … their hobbies, likes and dislikes, favorite movies, etc. The more you are vibing and are comfortable with your photographer, the more at ease you’ll be on your wedding day.
If you’re interested in getting to know me better and booking my wedding services, please reach out! I’d love to grab a cup of coffee, tea, or wine with you!