Choosing a photographer for your wedding is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make throughout the entire wedding planning process. Besides your memories, photos are the only thing you will have to look back and remember your big day. Because of this, it’s incredibly important to ask your photographers the correct questions when sitting down to meet with them. Here are 15 questions you should ask any photographer you’re planning on meeting with to capture your special moments.
1. Do you have liability insurance?
This is a question that clients never ask me, and they really should. If a photographer is coming off as a professional he/she should absolutely have liability insurance. It’s important to have to protect both parties, and some venues even require that the vendors have it.
2. Do you have back-up equipment?
It’s surprising how many photographers claim to be professionals, yet only have one camera body. Make sure your photographer has back-up cameras, lenses and lighting equipment in case of malfunctions. The last thing you want is an under-prepared photographer to miss out on important wedding moments.
3. How much experience do you have as a wedding photographer?
This is an important question to ask, for obvious reasons. See how the photographer responds to this. You’ll be able to find out a lot about their capabilities and qualifications.
4. Is photography your main business?
You want a photographer that does this for a living, not someone who does this on the side, or on the weekends. You will end up investing a little bit more hiring a professional, but you will have the peace of mind that your photographer is going to give you their full attention, be responsive, and dedicate all their time to mastering their craft. Why would you hire someone that doesn’t do this for a living to capture your biggest moments?
5. Are you confident working in all types of lighting situations? Do you use off-camera flash?
This is a very important question to ask to ask your photographer! Photography is the art of mastering and manipulating light and it’s important that your photographer knows how to find the best ambient (natural) light, how to use off-camera flash (very important), and how to balance exposures properly. Make sure your photographer is comfortable with all these different styles of lighting, and how to adapt to changing lighting conditions, otherwise it’s time to start looking for another photographer. I can’t tell you how many photographers I come across that have great naturally lit photos outside, but once the sun goes down – it’s game over for them. Sure, they can grab some amazing shots in the sunlight, but there are so many important moments at a wedding that need to be captured where it’s dark, such as during the reception. One of the easy ways to tell a photographer’s low-light game is strong is to look at their portfolio. If you only see shots that were taken outside during the day in well lit conditions and minimal shots taken at night or in a dark area, that’s a good indication for you to be weary. Ask your photographer if they use off-camera light – a one flash just on the camera simply isn’t good enough.
6. How would you define your style?
The answer to the question will reveal a lot about your photographer. You may not realize that you’re looking for a specific style, but once your photographer answers how they define they’re style, you’ll realize if they are a good fit for your personality.
7. Are you photographing any other events on the same day as my wedding?
If you’re hiring someone to provide you with a full day of photography coverage, your photographer should always leave the day open for you. Weddings sometimes go longer than expected, and schedules change, so it’s important your photographer can be flexible to this.
8. What is your favorite part about being a wedding photographer?
This is a more personal question that is important to ask. It’s crucial that your photographer is just as emotionally invested in your big day as you are, because if he/she isn’t passionate about what they’re doing, then they aren’t the right photographer for you.
9. Will there be a wedding contract?
Always make sure there is a contract signed by both parties! This eliminates any potential confusion and clearly outlines the rights and protections of the client, and the photographer.
10. How long will it take me to receive my photos?
Make sure that somewhere in the photography agreement there is a written agreement as to when the pictures are going to be delivered. I’ve heard horror stories of clients not getting their photos until 6 months after the wedding!
11. Where can I see some testimonials?
A photographer can talk about how great they are all day long, but at the end of the day, it’s learning about the experience from others that will really solidify credibility. If the photographer doesn’t have written testimonials or reviews online, make sure you ask for references that you can contact.
12. What happens if you get sick on our wedding day?
We’re only human. Sometimes we get sick or have family emergencies. In the unlikely event that this happens, make sure your photographer has a back-up plan in place to make sure you still get photography coverage.
13. What rights will we get to the photos?
Some photography studios will lure you in with incredibly low prices, but then charge you additional fees to buy the photos after the wedding. This is more common than you may think and if you foresee this as a problem, make sure you ask your potential photographer what rights you’ll receive to the photos. It is very uncommon without a special agreement that photographers will sign over the copyrights to the photos, but at least make sure that you’ll receive printing and sharing rights to the photos so you can utilize them for personal use. As long as the photographer is upfront with what rights you have and you agree to their terms, there shouldn’t be a problem!
14. Will you personally be the one photographing our wedding?
This really should be the first question you ask, but before you meet with your photographer, make sure it’s clear who will be shooting your wedding. Some photographers run large associate companies and sub-contract out others.
15. Do you think you are a good fit for our wedding? Why?
By now, you should already have a clear idea if this photographer is right for you. But, ask them what they think. Both parties need to be comfortable with each other in order for this to work and to have a memorable photography experience.