Questions To Ask When Booking a Wedding Photographer

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1. Do you record with two cards? Do you back up the images before delivering?

At the bottom of this blog I go into a lot of detail on this subject. To keep it brief just be sure you understand and are comfortable with how your photographer is securing your images.  Your wedding day cannot be repeated.  Make sure you hire a professional who will safeguard your wedding photos. 

2. What is the backup plan if you were to have an emergency prior to our wedding?

Let’s be honest it isn’t possible or realistic to guarantee something won’t go wrong in your photographer’s life, prohibiting them from being at your wedding.  Accidents and illness happen.  Photographers are collaborative creatures.  Be sure your photographer has a plan in place, and find out what it is.  In the unlikely event that your photographer is not able to photograph your wedding will they find a replacement? Will they edit the images? Will they offer refunds? Where would they find the replacement? Ask these sorts of questions.

3. What is it like working with you on a wedding day? What can we expect when working with you leading up to our wedding?

Asking questions like this will give you an idea how much of the wedding day will be spent doing choreographed images versus candid moments. What type of posing does your photographer do? And will your photographer switch to a long lens or make accommodations to give you space during your ceremony. This will also give you an idea if your photographer will help you with timelines, ceremony site advice, and vendor recommendations.

4. How long does it take to get our images? What does the post wedding process look like?

Know how long the turnaround time is on your wedding gallery, make sure you know how this is worded in the wedding photography contract.  It’s also nice to know if you will get sneak peeks and if they will be delivered over social media. Finally will there be prints or an album included and if so how does that work.

5. What is included in the wedding package? What kinds of add-ons are offered?

Wedding photography packages can include so much more than just the day of wedding photography.  Engagement photos, a second photographer, a custom wedding album, prints, timeline consultations, venue walk throughs are all things some photographers will include and some will charge additional for.  Ask what is included and what are considered additional services. It is also important to know if your photographer will allow you to add additional time day of and what additional hours will cost.  Are the photographer’s hours continuous or broken into multiple blocks. 

6. How would you describe your photography and editing style?

You should have a bit of an idea of this by perusing your photographer’s portfolio and social media accounts.  However, hearing your photographer describe their photography and editing style will help you know how they will be utilizing light and color on your wedding day and will help you ensure that you like your photographer’s style. Another great question to ask would be how do they ensure a similar look in different lighting situations.  If they can describe their process it will help you see their technical understanding of photography.  While you may not understand the specific use of light, listening to your photographer’s responses will either build your confidence in their skill or help you identify red flags. 

7. What does fully edited mean to you? What is your editing process and what is included?

Fully edited can mean many different things to different people. Color correcting is adjusting the light, color, and cropping of an image.  Custom editing can cover removing blemishes, enhancing the sky, and basically anything you can imagine.  Ask your photographer what they will do with the photos and what requests they will accommodate.  As an example I personally color correct every image. I will also remove large blemishes but anything else will come at an additional cost.  This is rarely needed but something with which I can assist.

8. Will you be the one photographing my wedding?

Some photography studios have associate photographers.  It is possible the person you chat with won’t be the one photographing your wedding day.  If this is the case make sure you meet your actual photographer and ensure you like the images they take.  I would be certain they are the photographer who takes your engagement photos just to ensure you feel comfortable working with them.

9. Will there be second shooters and assistants?

Will you be having a second photographer at your wedding? If so, what will the second shooter’s primary responsibilities be? Some photographers hire experienced second shooters who will cover getting ready separately, meaning one will be with the bride, the other the groom.  Some hire less experienced photographers and utilize them more to assist and catch additional angles.  It is good to know what to expect on your wedding day.

10. Do you help with wedding planning?

Finally some wedding photographers will help with your wedding day timeline, and walk through your venue with you to ensure your wedding day will photograph well.  Personally I believe it is a bit of a red flag if your photographer isn’t willing to be involved in these two things.  Capturing good light and ensuring adequate time for each part of your wedding are simple but important ways to help create a smooth and beautiful wedding day. 

You will find countless articles discussing what to consider when booking a wedding photographer, questions you should ask, red flags, the list is endless.  I think it is important to understand the cost of wedding photographers in your area.  Review websites, talk to friends and neighbors and ask photographers who peak your interest.  Realize that all photographers aren’t equal and their prices will reflect this.  A photographer with a lot of experience and a well established brand will cost more than a newer photographer or a photographer who doesn’t have as well established branding.  One key way to identify your photographer’s experience level is to look at their portfolio and be sure to ask for full wedding galleries.  If a photographer can produce several full wedding galleries that include all the things you are looking for, that’s a great sign.  A little pro tip, if you find a photographer you love, but they are either out of your price range or booked for your wedding day ask them for recommendations! Photographers collaborate quite a bit and they may be able to point you in the direction of the right person for you.  As the old saying goes, birds of a feather photograph together. 

My Top Two things To Consider

As you review wedding photographers, recognize that one of the most important things to consider is personality.  Your photographer will be with you all of your wedding day.  She or he will be in the room as you put on your dress, near you as you say your vows, and will interact with all of the special people in your life on this unique and wonderful day.  A photographer you find invasive, obnoxious, or rude will detract from your wedding day.  

On the other hand, someone you connect with is more likely to create and capture beautiful and emotion filled images that you will enjoy and treasure throughout your life.  I can not emphasize this enough.  Even if you will not be in Las Vegas before your wedding, be sure to schedule a phone or video chat with your favorite candidates. It doesn’t matter how much you love a photographer’s portfolio if you don’t enjoy sharing a cup of coffee with them, they’re likely not the right fit.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so you want to find someone who understands you and the way you behold beauty.  

Okay my final thought, be sure you understand how your photographer plans to protect your images during your wedding and leading up to the time they deliver them to you.  I have been in this industry for 10 years and I really have seen it all.  Memory cards, cameras, and harddrives fail.  Hire a wedding photographer who backs up your images and protects them.  Professional grade cameras can record to two memory cards at a time, make sure your photographer does this as common practice on wedding days.  If one card fails or corrupts your images will still be protected on the second card.  Cameras fail and break, make sure your photographer has two sets of gear, at least as to camera bodies.  I personally don’t have backups for every lens but I carry three camera bodies, 6 lenses (minimum), and 3 flashes to every wedding.  If one piece of equipment failed it would be quick and easy for me to replace it during your wedding and continue shooting.  Finally make sure that your photographer is backing up the images after your wedding day is over.  I never clear the original cards until the gallery has been delivered, additionally I save all images on both a cloud storage and external harddrive.  That means your images are in three separate places until they are delivered to you.  There are many ways this can be done and I am not at all saying my way is the only way, simply providing examples.  I am strongly recommending that you chat with the photographers you are considering and make sure they are protecting your images.  

I hope this list provides you with some insight as you look for the perfect wedding photographer for your wedding. Drop your thoughts in the comments!

For more wedding planning info check out 5 Things To Do After Getting Engaged

For some wedding inspiration check out This beautiful styled wedding

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