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Aside from your wedding venue, your wedding photographer is arguably one of the most important vendors you can hire. But finding the right one is about more than searching Instagram for #BestWeddingPhotographer. By taking the time to make sure your wedding photographer not only captures the style you want but is also someone you enjoy being around, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll end up with wedding photos you love. To do that, you’ll want to start by making sure you have the right questions to ask them during your interview. Below, we’ll walk you through the 10 questions to ask a wedding photographer before you say “I Do!” to their services.
1. How would you define your photography style?
You might know what type of wedding photos you like, but being able to define it really helps to make sure that your wedding photographer will be working towards the same style you envision. In our e-course The Wedding Class, our expert wedding photographer shares the real differences between the photographer styles, but the terms that will be helpful for you to know right off the bat are:
Traditional: Focused more on portraits and “posed” photography.
Photojournalistic: Your photographer is capturing your wedding naturally as the day unfolds. Most photographer’s shooting in this style are a combination between traditional and photojournalistic.
Fine Art: Light and airy (and often shot on film), this style of photography was what made up most wedding top blogs ten years (and still does!). Think Jose Villa.
Dark and Moody: This is another popular style today. Think of fine art but with a darker twist. The photographer makes more use of shadows and darker, romantic tones when editing. It’s used frequently for elopements and adventure-style weddings.
Find the Perfect Photo Save the Date
One of the questions to ask a wedding photographer is if an engagement shoot is included in their rate. Taking engagement photos not only lets you experience your photographer’s style first-hand, but you can use the photographs for your Save the Dates, invitations, and even holiday cards. Just be sure to find out the timeline for getting the photographs back to make sure it coincides with when you need to send your invites. Minted has one of the largest selection of photo-based wedding invites and Save the Dates online, all designed by independent artists.
2. What is your rate and what does it include?
Most photographers offer packages that may or may not be customizable, so you’ll want to find out exactly what a photographer’s rate includes. A sample package might look something like this:
Engagement + Wedding Day
- 8 hours of wedding day coverage
- 1 hour engagement session
- Professional editing and processing
- Downloadable high-res images
- Personal printing rights (meaning you can have them printed at any lab you choose, as well as create your own wedding album)
- Online gallery to share with family and friends
- Total: Starting at $5,000
Also, if you’re looking to hire a photographer that is not local to where you’ll be getting married, you’ll need to ask them what their travel rate is as well.
3. Do you create albums? If so, what type do you offer and how many pages do they include?
While most professional wedding albums from a photographer start around $1,000, they are often worth it once you take into consideration the time, effort, and artistic eye it can take to make an heirloom-worthy one. There’s also the fact that photographers have access to printers and album creators that most consumers don’t. Same goes for prints. So, one of the questions to ask a wedding photographer is if they offer this service, and if so how much it is (if not included) and how many pages does it include. (A thick flush mount album, which is what most high-end photographers will include, will usually be less than 50 pages.)
If your photographer doesn’t offer album creation, ask them if they’ll help you pick out the best photographs for one to create yourself. And if they don’t offer prints, ask them which consumer accessible printer they can recommend.
More questions to ask wedding vendors before you book:
- 10 Questions to Ask a Wedding Florist
- 16 Questions to ask a Wedding Venue
- 10 Questions to Ask a Wedding Concierge
4. How many edited photos can we expect to receive?
The average wedding photographer shooting an 8-hour wedding will deliver at least 500 edited photos. Once you find out their expected number, be sure to ask them how the edited photos will be delivered, and if these shots will be their “best of” and exclude things like closed eyes. You’ll also want to know if their editing process includes retouching and color adjustment.
5. Will you be shooting any other events on our day?
Most wedding photographers can only shoot one event per day so may find this question silly, but it’s always good to make sure you aren’t getting a photographer who is stretched too thin. Which brings us too the next question…
Don’t Forget to Capture All Your Wedding Day Details
Most professional wedding photographers do not need a shot list (after all, this is their job!) but it’s important to ask them how they shoot certain wedding details, like your wedding dress and invitation suite. After all, you’ll have spent a lot of time picking out the perfect decor and invites (like our fave ‘Ordered Grace’ design from Minted, pictured left) that you’ll want to capture every detail.
6. What happens if it’s raining and we can’t take photos in our planned locations?
Ideally you’ll be able to find a photographer who has shot at your venue before and knows all the great spots to shoot at no matter the weather. If not, it helps to know what their backup plan is in case if inclement weather.
Other important questions to ask a wedding photographer? What if our wedding portraits get delayed because the wedding timeline runs late, or the weather isn’t conducive? How do you handle major timeline issues?
7. Will you be the person taking our photos? Do you work with an assistant/second shooter?
If the photographer you’re interviewing isn’t the one taking the photos, that’s a whole other story. But we always like to clarify! Once you do, find out if they work with an assistant or second shooter, and ask if you can see their work as well if so.
8. Do you have galleries of full weddings we can see?
It’s one thing to see one or two shots from a wedding online. It’s another to see a full gallery of a wedding. This will allow you to see the less-than-Instagram-worthy shots, and make sure they’re still in line with what you would expect to see (and would be happy with) in your own gallery. Of all your questions to ask a wedding photographer, this one is pretty important.
9. What time will you arrive on our wedding day? When do you eat meals/take breaks?
A good wedding photographer knows wedding timelines inside and out. A big part of that is knowing exactly when to arrive. With that said, they should be able to give you an idea of what to expect in terms of start times. When it comes to eatings and breaks, typically a photographer will eat when you eat (because who really needs a photo of you cutting your chicken. LOL.) but it’s always good to know those details first.
You Might Also Like: How to Create a Wedding Reception Timeline
10. What attire will you be wearing on our wedding day?
This question might sound silly, but I’ve seen wedding photographers stand out like a sore thumb at formal weddings because they’re under-dressed. Ideally a wedding photographer will be wearing a dark, button-up dress shirt and dress pants(or dress/pantsuit), and possibly a jacket and tie if necessary depending on the formality of the event. Even though this might be the most awkward of all questions to ask a wedding photographer, it’s important as they (along with the DJ and planner) are the vendors who will be present throughout your entire event and interacting with guests.
Other questions you’ll want to make sure you ask your wedding photographer include:
- Do you have availability on our wedding date?
It’s Time to Find Your Save the Dates!
Once you have your wedding date, you’ll want to start looking for Save the Dates as well as start your wedding website. With Minted you can choose from thousands of matching invitation and website designs, or create a custom one with your own designer. Get a free custom url upgrade on your wedding website with the code WGMCUSTOM.
- What happens if you have an emergency and are unable to make it?
- Who owns the copyright to the photos? Can we share and print the photos on our own?
- How will you be able to use the photos? Will you ask us permission before sharing them on blogs?
- Do you and your team members have liability insurance?
- What is your rescheduling policy?
- What is the payment schedule, including deposit and balance due?