10 Important Questions to Ask Wedding Photographers Before Booking Them
After the "I dos" are all said and done, your wedding photographs are one of the only mementos you'll have left from your big day. So, suffice to say, choosing a professional wedding photographer who matches and can expertly capture those special moments is an important decision in the wedding planning process.
You should always do ample research and narrow it down to a few wedding photographers you love. From there, you will go into the interviewing phase, where you reach out to each wedding photographer to assess whether they'll be a good fit for your wedding.
What important questions should you ask? First and foremost, make sure they have your wedding date available. If they do, you can then dive deeper by asking these essential questions:
1. How long have you been a professional wedding photographer?
"With experienced photographers, you can be confident that your memories are being properly preserved," says Jenina Simplicio, owner of Jenina Simplicio Photography. She adds that it's important to know how many weddings they've shot as a lead photographer, as well as how many total years of experience they have under their belt.
Hiring a wedding photographer with less experience is not necessarily a deal-breaker, but it is something to consider when you're making your final decision. If they have less experience but have shot a wedding at your wedding venue before, consider this a bonus. This is also an excellent opportunity to ask for testimonials from past clients.
2. How would you describe your wedding photography style?
A wedding photographer can be the best in the business in terms of skill and quality, but if their aesthetic and style doesn't match your wedding vision, they might not be the best fit for you and your partner. In addition to checking out their website and social media accounts, have them describe their photography style to you to ensure it's a good fit.
3. What is your photo editing style?
The wedding photographer's photo editing style will also affect the end result of your wedding photos. For that reason, Simplicio recommends touching on this during your interview. Note if their style is bright, timeless or moody. Also, she recommends asking how they achieve a cohesive look when there are different lighting situations throughout the wedding day. If you're interested in additional photo editing services such as color correcting or retouching, this is a good time to ask about them.
4. Can we see a full wedding gallery?
As the saying goes, pictures speak louder than words. In addition to hearing about the wedding photographer's experience and client testimonials, you should ask to see their past work. In particular, Simplicio advises asking to see a full wedding gallery.
"Instagram feeds and websites usually only show the best of the best shots they have," she says. "Be sure to take a look at some of their full wedding galleries so you can have a sneak peek of how the rest of your event's pictures are going to look if you hire them."
5. What is it like to work with you on the day of the wedding?
Your wedding photographer is one of your VIP wedding vendors. They'll be the one by your side every step of the way, capturing all of the magic. "The most important non-negotiable factor in finding your wedding photographer is that you are comfortable around them," Simplicio says. "Do your personalities go well together? At the end of the day, the best wedding photographer is one you can smile around."
Every photographer works differently. Asking the wedding photographer to walk you through how the wedding day will flow can give you a better sense of their energy, their shooting style and what it's like to work with them. Some might offer guidance when it comes to posing, while others may focus on shooting natural, more candid shots. There's no right or wrong option—the important thing is that the photographer's style matches your vision and they make you and your soon-to-be spouse feel comfortable.
6. Do you have a backup plan in place?
Life is unpredictable. If something should happen and the wedding photographer is unable to photograph your wedding, it's nice to know they have some sort of backup plan in place. The same goes for the photography logistics and backup equipment, which is why Simplicio recommends asking this question. From the day of the actual wedding all the way to post-production, the photographer should be taking certain precautions. This could mean everything from having extra memory cards on the wedding day to saving photos in multiple places.
7. Can we request specific shots?
As you've been planning your wedding, chances are you've accumulated Pinterest boards chock-full of photo inspiration that perfectly encapsulates your photography style. If you'd like to recreate some of those images on your big day, ask if this is something the wedding photographer is open to delivering. Simplicio says most wedding photographers take photo requests and may also have you fill out a questionnaire in which you can indicate which shots are the most important to you.
8. What do your wedding packages include?
Talking about packages and pricing is a must. Most wedding photographers will offer different packages that include a certain number of hours, engagement photos, a second photographer, prints and albums. Clarify what is included within the quoted price and what add-ons will cost additional fees, such as travel costs for destination weddings, overtime hours or shooting other pre-wedding events like the rehearsal dinner. If the photographer works with a team, such as an assistant or second shooter, double-check who will be shooting your wedding as part of the package.
9. When will we receive our wedding photos?
Once the wedding day is over, the excitement to see your wedding photos starts building. Your wedding photographer will likely take their time editing the photos before getting them all back to you. Still, it's important to know upfront what that time frame will be so you're not refreshing your email 24/7. You can also ask for additional details about the images, such as how they'll be delivered (high-resolution, un-watermarked, etc.) and if they'll share teasers or sneak peeks shortly after the big day.
10. What are the next steps?
Once you've gotten through all of your pressing wedding photographer questions and you feel they are a perfect fit, the last question to ask is about the next steps needed in order to hire them for your big day. This might include asking how far in advance you need to book them, reviewing the contract, paying the deposit and going over other logistics, such as refund and cancellation policies, payment methods and liability insurance.