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The fantastic quality of modern cell phone cameras has created self-made photographers of us all. Many of us take our own pictures when possible, or enlist a friend to snap portraits or document special events. So you may have never had to hire a photographer before. But now you are planning your wedding, and you definitely need a professional. So how do you choose one? Are there specific questions you need to ask your wedding photographer?
YES. There are some crucial things you need to ask a potential wedding photographer. Every wedding is unique. You want to make sure you get someone who’s the right fit for your specific needs on your big day.
Here is a list of 11 essential questions you NEED to ask your wedding photographer.
- If my event lasts longer than planned, will you stay? Are there extra fees?
- What is your cancellation/rescheduling policy?
- When can I expect my photos, and how will I receive them?
- Can you show me some full galleries?
- What is your artistic style?
- What is your working style?
- Will you retouch and edit my photos?
- What do your wedding packages include?
- Do you bring your own lighting?
- Do you have backup equipment? Are you insured?
- Do you have any vendor recommendations?
Let’s look at these questions in more detail to find out why they are so important.
1. If my event lasts longer than planned, will you stay? Are there extra fees?
One of the most important questions you need to ask your wedding photographer is about their overtime policy.
The two most common types of packages offered by wedding photographers are hourly packages and all-day coverage packages.
Obviously, all-day coverage is the safest option. But it’s also, understandably, more pricey and your budget might not be as flexible. If so, you’ll need to have an idea of your intended wedding day timing to choose a sufficient hourly package.
It is also important to know how busy your photographer is because they might have other events scheduled around yours. If they do, the time they can devote to your wedding might be rigidly confined to only the scheduled hours. Then, if your wedding festivities last longer than planned and your photographer has to leave, those memories will be lost. But if they are not the type that over-schedules they might be able to stay.
Make sure to ask ahead of time if there are any charges for possible overtime. The last thing you want is to come back from the honeymoon with all of your wedding photos being held hostage for a $900 fee you were not expecting.
2. What is your cancellation/rescheduling policy?
Things happen. Natural disasters. Economic surprises. PANDEMICS. Hopefully, none of these things will affect your wedding day, but you never know. Another one of the most important questions you need to ask your wedding photographer is their cancellation/rescheduling policy.
And what happens if the photographer becomes ill, or has some other personal emergency that makes them suddenly unavailable? Do they have contingency plans already in place for this possibility? Is there maybe another photographer they could have on standby? It’s important to know that your wedding photographer is prepared for the worst possible scenarios.
3. When can I expect my photos and how will I receive them?
Let’s be honest. You want to get on social media as soon as possible to declare your love proudly. You want to let people know you are (finally) officially not a part of the Single’s Club anymore. You want to make all your exes regret ever leaving you. So you’re gonna need your wedding photos ASAP. So one of the most critical questions you need to ask your wedding photographer is what their turnaround time is.
Getting your wedding photos back to you could take anywhere from the very next day to a year! It all depends on how busy the photographer is, other projects, and their editing process. Be aware that someone who promises next-day-photos won’t be color correcting or fixing any problems. And taking anywhere over 6 months to get your wedding photos back is just lazy.
Generally, about 2 – 8 weeks is a reasonable amount of time to wait for your photos. That timing could be dependent on what edits you might want to be done and the photographer’s schedule itself. They should be able to give you a reasonable timeline estimate so you know what to expect.
4. Can you show me some full galleries?
Many times, the photos on a photographer’s website are just the highlights of their best work. Seeing a full gallery of a wedding they’ve done helps you see the full spectrum of what you can expect.
A true professional should be able to get lots of “good ones” throughout the event. And be able to show you examples.
5. What is your artistic style?
Black and white? Full color? Artistic editing? Interesting angles? Natural? Emotional? One of the most essential questions you need to ask your wedding photographer is how they’d describe their artistic style.
If you are more traditional and want your photos to reflect that, you need a photographer who can accommodate you. And the same if you are less-traditional. Do you want your pictures to highlight and evoke the emotion of the day? The fun and silliness? Have the photographer give you an idea of what he can capture at a wedding, and show you some examples.
6. What is your working style?
A photographer’s working style is a totally different question from their artistic style. Their working style involves how they will interact with you and guests throughout the wedding day.
Do you want them to be more of a “fly on the wall” capturing candids? Or are you the type that needs a bit more direction and interaction when it comes to getting pictures taken? Maybe you’d like suggestions throughout the day for poses and specific pictures you’d like to have.
Just make sure the working style of your photographer works for you.
7. Will you retouch and edit my photos?
What happens after all of the pictures are taken? Is your photographer going to do post-edits to make sure you look flawless, and if so, how much? Or are they skimpy on the edits and like to keep things comfortable and natural? If post-edits are important to you, make sure you are upfront about that. And make sure you get a capable photographer/editor. Asking about edits is one of the critical questions you need to ask your wedding photographer.
8. What do your wedding packages include?
What’s included in your wedding package is one of the most basic questions you need to ask your wedding photographer.
You want to have an expectation of the number of pictures you’ll end up with, and how you’ll receive them. Will you be given a USB of all your photos, or will they be available in an online gallery? And how long will they be available? How many prints are included? Will you own the rights to your photos, or does the photographer keep those?
Make sure all of these expectations are clear ahead of time so you don’t end up disappointed.
9. Do you bring your own lighting?
Some photographers swear by natural light only. But what if there isn’t any, or your event takes place in a lowly-lit venue or one with super-high ceilings? You don’t want your pictures to end up dark and grainy.
Usually, at least a little artificial light is needed for some situations. Make sure your photographer will have at least the minimum lighting equipment on hand in preparation for those. Without it, your indoor pictures could suffer. And the lighting will be hardly noticeable if it’s done right.
10. Do you have backup equipment? Are you insured?
What happens if your drunk bridesmaid crashes into the photographer on the dance floor and breaks a lens? Is that it? Will there be no more pictures? It is almost inevitable that some backup is necessary, and a seasoned professional will understand that. Make sure you hire someone who is prepared!
And if your hot-mess bridesmaid breaks that lens, or if Nana trips on a lighting cord, is the photographer insured? Most professional photographers will have at least the most basic insurance policy. Making sure your photographer is insured is one of the most serious questions you need to ask your wedding photographer.
11. Do you have any vendor recommendations?
Don’t miss the opportunity to ask for vendor recommendations. This is one of the most fun questions you need to ask your photographer! And one that most photographers like to be asked! Likely, your wedding photographer has photographed tons of weddings in your area. Therefore, they have worked with tons of a variety of vendors and have friends in the biz. They can give you some great suggestions if you’re still looking!
We hope this list gives you a good idea of important questions to ask your wedding photographer. The pictures from your wedding are some of the most important you will ever have. They will help you keep those memories for a lifetime. Knowing what to ask your wedding photographer ahead of time will help you get exactly what you are hoping for.