I highly recommend setting up a time with your photographer to talk on the phone, Facetime, or meet for coffee/beer (when COVID is over, boooooo.) because it’s important to make sure you vibe with the person who’s going to be capturing one of the most important days of your life! I also purposely include engagement sessions in all of my packages to make sure I get to spend more time with my couples getting to know them so that when their wedding day rolls around, it’s like having an old friend show up to photograph them, and not a stranger. Hardly anyone likes having their photo taken (especially for long periods of time), so it helps to be able to relax and joke with the person behind the lens. Your photographer needs to be your right hand man (or woman), your friend, your hype girl (or boy) and care just as much about your big day as you do! 10 questions you should ask your wedding photographer
Here’s a few questions I’d recommend asking all of the photographers you’re considering hiring for your big day!!
1. Do you have insurance?
It’s more common than ever for wedding venues, (+ National Parks/BLM land if you’re venturing off the beaten path) to require liability insurance. This will help protect you, your photographer, and your venue. Let’s say that Uncle Larry gets a little out of hand, knocks into your photographer, they drop their camera, and it breaks. OH SHHHHH. Luckily, if they carry insurance, this should be covered and you/uncle Larry wouldn’t be held liable. Knowing that your photographer has insurance assures you that they are professional/legit, and that they take their business very seriously. 10 questions you should ask your wedding photographer
2. Can I see a Full Wedding Gallery?
A wedding photographer’s job is waaaaayyy more than just what you see on their portfolio and instagram. DO NOT be afraid to ask them to see a full wedding gallery! It can also be helpful to stalk their blog on their website, as that will usually give you a good feeling for how they capture a wedding day, but it is still not a full gallery. You can see how they capture family photos, how they deal with dim lighting at receptions (along with other lighting scenarios), and about how many images you’ll receive. (although that depends entirely on the package booked.) It’s very easy to cherry pick which photos fit their aesthetic best to show on their social media and website, so again, don’t be scared to ask to see that full wedding gallery! Most photographers will have galleries from at least the last year saved to give you a taste of their work!!
10 questions you should ask your wedding photographer
3. Do you have backup equipment?
Back to the whole ‘worst case scenario’ event happening, Uncle Jerry bumps into your photographer and CRAAASHHHH. Camera is on the ground. Broken. R.I.P. What now? Does the photographer go home and refund what they weren’t able to cover?! I sure as h*ck hope not!!! Your photographer should always have AT LEAST two camera bodies with them on the day of so if one gets broken, or has a mechanical error, they’ll have another camera they can use. Photographers should also definitely be bringing more than one lens in case it gets scratched or cracked as well. Always, always, always hire someone who plays it safe with their equipment, and brings backups!!!
4. How do you protect our images?
This one’s super important, and losing precious photos is every photographer and couple’s worst nightmare. While no photographer can (or should) 110% guarantee that they’ll never ever lose your photos and that nothing will possibly go wrong, there are sooooooo many safety nets to put in place to ensure that the chances of something like that happening are like, 0.005%. A lot of the cameras used in today’s industry include dual card slots, which means that they can be shooting and recording to 2 separate memory cards at the same time. This is super beneficial in case one pooters out or gets corrupted, because the same photos will have been copied to the second memory card. Personally, I will always be making use of my dual card slots, and when I get home from weddings I will immediately back up my photos to TWO external hard drives, along with backing them up to an online cloud storage so even if both of my hard drives happened to break or be lost in a fire, the photos would be safe in the cloud (thank you technology!!!) It is so so important that your photographer has all of these methods in place to ensure they keep your images secure and safe.
10 questions you should ask your wedding photographer
5. What happens if you aren’t able to attend?
Photographers are human too, sh*t happens, unforutunately. 🙁
Whether your photographer happens to get sick, be stuck out of town, have a major life event, etc. know that it would have to take something really serious for your wedding photographer to miss your day! I have personally never missed a wedding in my career (thank goodness) BUT if something were to happen, I’ve got your back. Your photographer should have contacts in the wedding industry (like other photographers) they can reach out to to cover your wedding day. Depending on the reason your photographer can’t attend, sometimes they’ll be able to hire another photographer to go physically shoot the event, but then give the photos back to your photographer you hired so they can still edit them. I’m lucky to be a part of an AMAZING community of super talented wedding photographers who always have each other’s back and are willing to help out when things go wrong.
10 questions you should ask your wedding photographer
10 questions you should ask your photographer
6. What is your typical turnaround time?
Most photographers in the thick of wedding season offer a 4-6 or 6-8 week turnaround time. BUT every photographer is different!! I’d say that more than an 8 week turnaround time, however, would be pushing it a bit. Some photographers will offer an upgrade or “add on” where you can pay extra to have your images edited quicker. If that’s something you’re interested in because you need the images by a certain date, please let your photographer know right off the bat! Editing takes up a large bulk of time in the wedding photography process, so always be understanding that it can take a few weeks to get your images back. My turnaround time is 3-4 weeks, because I obsess over my photos and don’t sleep so I can keep editing because it’s so fun (I’m crazy, I know.) Occasionally past brides will mention how fast/slow a certain photographer’s turnaround time is when they leave a review, so always make sure to read their website, Facebook, and Google reviews beforehand!
7. Do you offer album/print sales?
The photography industry has changed tremendously as far as offering albums and prints with every package, and it’s now entirely unique to the photographer you choose. Some photographers (like myself) offer an online high-res gallery with all of your edited images which can be downloaded and printed from anywhere of your choice. I use an online gallery service called ‘Pic-Time’ so you’re able to order prints, albums, and other fun physical products straight from your online gallery that I send you, or you can download and print them from wherever you’d like (that’s also why you should make sure to ask about a print release!) Some photographers like to be involved in designing your albums with you/for you, some photographers offer that as an upsell with their packages. Sometimes photographers will even throw in some prints as a gift when returning your wedding photos *wink wink*. Everyone is different, and there’s definitely no right or wrong way to do it! But I would definitely ask about this before you book just so you know what to expect.
8. Could we see an example timeline?
So first off, every wedding is entirely unique and different. No two timelines are going to be the same! However, by looking at past timelines the photographer has made for other brides, you can kind of get an idea how long different parts of the day might take. (How long does it usually take them to capture detail photos? How long do they like to set aside for couple’s photos?) Again, every day is different so take the timeline(s) with a grain of salt, because your photographer should help you create and craft the perfect timeline for your individual day. BUT, it’s nice to have an idea!
9. How long have you been shooting weddings? How many weddings have you shot?
I want to preface this by saying that I have seen photographers who’ve been in the industry for a year handle weddings better than photographers who’ve been at it for 10+ years. This should not be the deciding factor when choosing a photographer for your wedding day. BUT if a photographer is newer to the wedding game, it’s totally okay to ask if you can speak with a past bride or ask if they’ve had a chance to work with a more seasoned professional (Have they 2nd shot a wedding before? Have they attended any workshops?) This goes back to asking again if you can see a full wedding day gallery, and make sure it matches what you’re seeing in their portfolio/instagram. I second shot for a couple years before I took on a wedding by myself, and now I’m about to enter my 3rd year of being a full time wedding photographer. It’s okay to ask for references, and it’s okay to ask to see a full gallery if you’re not sure how long they’ve been doing this!
10. What happens if there’s bad weather on our wedding day?
Ahh, tale as old as time. What if it rains!!! What if it’s dark and stormy!!! I FEEL YOU on that one, that is also a huge concern for every couple on their wedding day (especially if you plan on having an outdoor ceremony/reception!) Keep in mind that rain on your wedding day is GOOD LUCK! I swear by that too, some of the most beautiful wedding days I’ve shot have started off gloomy and rainy, and then turned into golden sunsets with a rainbow! Be sure to have some sort of backup plan if you’re getting married outside during a rainy/stormy month, and don’t hesitate to ask your photographer if they know of any backup spaces or indoor places to take photos. Your photographer should also have some sort of gear to protect their equipment in case it rains! (My fiance and I purchased 20 clear plastic umbrellas to keep in our trunk in case it rains on a wedding day for this reason alone lol) While you and your photographer can’t control the weather, it’s good to make sure they have experience shooting when it’s not a perfect, beautiful, sunny day!
If you’d like to ask me any of the questions above, or you’re looking for a friend, right hand woman, hype girl, third wheel, WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER. I’m your girl. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or pop on over to my contact form by clicking here!!!
I hope this was helpful, and congratulations on your engagement!