27 Crucial Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographers Before Booking
Finding the PERFECT wedding photographer to capture one of the most important celebrations of your life is not an easy task. That is why choosing a photographer is right up there with picking a wedding date and a wedding venue as the first 3 tasks that newly engaged couples should carry out.
There are a lot of WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS out there that have an impressive track record, especially here in NEW ZEALAND. Many are available for travel nationwide as well as international destinations. The choices are quite endless.
For sure, by now, you already have a list of wedding photographers you want to hire for your wedding day. Choosing THE ONE is something you need to think about and discuss with your partner.
Don’t know how to gauge whether a wedding photographer is RIGHT for you? All you have to do is ask them the right questions!
With the help of Picture Perfect Photography, these 27 crucial QUESTIONS will help you assess the photographers on your list.
Number 25 is something that many couples might not ask.
You can then finally decide which one will be your official wedding photographer with certainty.
1. Is my wedding date available?
Before you lay out all your questions, you should know first if the photographer is available on your wedding day.
This is so you can move on to the next candidate and not waste your time!
If you really want to hire that photographer, you can ask for another available date that would also fit your schedule.
2. What is your wedding photography experience?
Like any job interview, you should ask a person about their experience, so you’ll know if they are worth hiring!
In this question, you should know how many years they’ve been a photographer, how many weddings they’ve photographed, where in the world has their profession taken them, and maybe one of their breakthroughs!
The photography experience would indicate their ability to handle the fast pace of a typical wedding day, to mingle with guests, to help out during any unexpected surprise, and their ability to offer professional and detailed service from the initial inquiry all the way to product delivery.
3. How many bookings do you get a year?
Somehow with this, you will be able to determine whether a photographer is in high demand.
You’ll also know if wedding photography is their full-time business or just a part-time thing!
If they have a busy schedule, you’ll have to consider that it might take a while for you to receive your final photos as they still need to do a lot of post-processing. Good things always take time.
If you do decide to go with a well-booked wedding photographer, it is recommended that you get yourself booked as soon as possible before your chosen date becomes unavailable.
4. Can we see your portfolio?
If you haven’t seen samples of their work, do not hesitate to ask them!
It should be your first deciding factor in booking a wedding photographer.
Look for a photographer that speaks your style and resonates with the way you want your wedding photos to look like!
If you meet in person with a photographer, you can ask if you could see samples of their printed-out wedding albums to check the quality. It is always good to look at more images. However, you really should have viewed enough of the photographer’s work to at least know that he/she has been selected for your shortlist.
5. Do you work alone or do you have a second shooter or assistant?
There are wedding photographers that cover weddings with an assistant or second shooter.
Usually, photographers based this on whether the wedding is big or small. We do not think a second shooter is an absolute necessity. It is nice to have, but don’t let this be a deciding factor.
An experienced photographer who is used to work by him/herself would be more than capable of delivering beautiful wedding images to you.
Sometimes an additional assistant or second shooter to the contract will likely incur an additional fee. So, if you do want a second shooter and your budget does allow it, then go ahead. More images are always good to have.
6. How do you handle wet weather?
If there’s one thing you can’t control it is undoubtedly the weather!
It could be sunny or cloudy on the weather forecast, but nature is very fickle, and it could rain anytime!
Asking your wedding photographer how they handle rain, wind, and dark clouds will let you know how professional and prepared they can be.
You can talk to each other and have a backup plan!
7. What information do you need from us before the wedding day?
Preparation is critical when it comes to having a smooth sailing wedding.
Talking and discussing with your wedding photographer about the information they need to photograph your wedding is essential.
The information can be, where you are getting ready, what time you are heading to the venue, the timeline of your wedding day.
8. Who owns the copyright to the wedding images?
If your wedding photographer’s contract is based on what is provided by the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography, then the copyright would remain with the photographer. However, they still would give wedding couples a personal license to the wedding photos for personal use.
It is always good to ask this question to make sure everyone is on the same page.
9. Do you have a wedding photography contract?
A wedding photography contract is important when hiring a wedding vendor!
When you find the wedding photographer of your dreams, you will want to nail down the specifics which include the legalities in hiring a service.
In the contract, the type of service and deliverables will be outlined, including the dos and don’ts as well as cancellation conditions.
A signed contract is legally binding and will benefit both the wedding photographer and the couple.
If a photographer does not have a contract, this is a serious red flag that indicates unprofessionalism and a lack of business experience.
10. When will we receive the photos?
Be upfront with the wedding photographer when will they be able to give you the deliverables.
Nowadays, photographers can provide cloud storage where you can download your photos, so as soon as they are done post-processing your photos, they can upload it, and you can download it!
For printed photo albums, you can certainly ask how long it takes to have it printed and shipped to your address.
11. How many images will I get from the wedding day?
The number of wedding photos you will get from a standard package is usually around 500 from a full day wedding coverage.
Of course, this is just an estimate, and every wedding photographer has different packages and services; that’s why it’s important to ask!
Remember, though, wedding photography is all about quality and not quantity. Allow the photographers to do what they do best, and give them the breathing room to stand back, observe, and capture images that are unique to your wedding day.
12. How will the images be edited?
It is one thing to take wedding photos, and it is entirely different to edit those photos to make them look their best. If you have shortlisted the photographer, you would have seen plenty of their work, and love the look and feel of the images. That is due to a combination of both photography and editing. It is important to check with the photographer what kind of editing you will receive with the wedding packages you are considering, so there are no surprises. Many photographers would edit all images that will be given to you. Some photographers only edit a portion.
It is also good to check the ratio of black and white compared to colour. As a wedding client, do you want to dictate that ratio, or do you allow the photographer to use their best judgment during the editing process?
13. Can I get the RAW Files?
Raw files are generally referred to as the original unedited images that came straight from the camera. Typically, a photographer would take many thousands of pictures on the day. Afterward, the culling process would then select on the best of the bunch for the editing workflow.
Most photographers do not give us these original files, as they are just simply not good enough to give to the wedding clients. This is just part of the quality control process. However, some clients just simply want these images for memories’ sake.
If this is important to you, just ask anyway. However, be prepared for the No answer, and don’t judge against the photographer. No answer is very common.
14. How would you describe your photography style?
Once you ask a photographer this question, they should be able to give you an exact answer.
This way, you will know that the wedding photographer knows what he’s doing and what outcome you should expect.
If the photographer mentions an unfamiliar photography term, never hesitate to ask what it is and to explain it to you in a way you would understand!
15. What’s the best and worst reviews have you gotten from previous clients?
Ask photographers what the best and worst reviews they have received to assess the quality of their photos as well as their work ethic!
You can also do this by going through their Google My Business page, Facebook page, or Website.
But asking them will also let you evaluate their transparency!
16. Do you shoot mostly in black and white or color?
Knowing the ratio of a wedding photographer’s black & white and color photos will help you get the sense of how your wedding album will look like.
If you do have a preference over the two, you can always mention it to the photographer, and you can come up with a compromise!
17. Can you recommend a good prop or decor for a photo wall?
Professional wedding photographers have many years of experience covering a wedding and have photographed hundreds of weddings.
They know what good details you can add to make your wedding more ‘photogenic’, like a flower wall, perhaps where guests can take their Instagram photos!
Ask for their advice, and take it into consideration.
On The Wedding Day
18. What happens if you get sick?
Always get ready for a backup!
Just in case a wedding photographer gets sick or gets in an emergency on your wedding day, having a backup plan will save you from not having wedding photos!
Some wedding photographers employ a team that would help in these situations, but if they are a solo shooter, ask if they have a trusted colleague that can cover.
19. Do I need to include food and drinks for the wedding for you?
Usually, this information would be included in the contract.
Although, nowadays it is customary that when a wedding vendor is around the reception, they do get fed by you.
Some would prefer to get their food early, or they would wait at the end of the wedding festivities.
20. Ask about wedding photography backup gear?
In case your wedding photographer’s camera gets busted, make sure if they have a backup gear they can use.
Make sure that whatever happens, they will still be able to photograph your wedding day!
Ask the photographer what they would do in those kinds of situations. Also remember that a professional, experienced photographer can make do with a camera phone. It’s all in the composition and keen eye for details.
21. Do you do a same-day wedding photo slideshow?
Check if the wedding photographer offers a wedding photo slideshow during your reception.
Some photographers can quickly put together a video montage of wedding photos taken the same day.
This is a lovely touch. It’s always fun and sweet to look at the wedding photos together with your guests and hear the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’!
If you prefer to view the photos later, then you can opt-out for this option.
22. How do you like to schedule a wedding day?
It’s important to share with the photographer your wedding’s program flow or schedule.
You can also ask how they normally plan and schedule their duties on a wedding day. Simply ask how they prepare and how they would manage their time shooting!
This will give you an idea and be aware of what your wedding vendors do on your big day.
23. How long will you stay on the wedding day?
Most New Zealand wedding photographers cover wedding days for the duration of the couple’s wedding.
Photographers also charge or offer wedding photography packages by the hours. This will give you an idea of which package you would choose according to the duration of your wedding celebration.
If your wedding celebration is more than the photographer’s maximum hour offered, they would usually incur an additional fee per hour!
Packages and Method of Payments
24. What packages and the corresponding rates do you offer?
When you have seen and approved of their photography style it’s time to ask for the packages and rates they offer.
For instance, when wedding photographers don’t provide their rates on their website, you can inquire by sending an email regarding their packages and rates!
If you have a budget in mind, please don’t be shy. Many photographers are flexible with their packages, so it doesn’t hurt to ask, especially if you have a winter or a mid-week wedding.
25. Can We Create a Bespoke Package?
Just in case a wedding photographer’s packages are a lot for the wedding you are planning, it’s always okay to ask if they allow bespoke packages.
There might be something in a wedding photography package that you don’t need, and you can voice it out to the photographer by asking if it is okay to create a package that works for you.
Negotiate properly and be respectful to their profession! Learn to compromise and create a package that fits your wedding and would be fair to the wedding photographer.
26. What is the deposit and why is it non-refundable?
When you decide to hire a wedding photographer, you will then sign a legally binding contract and pay a deposit, which is usually non-refundable.
Deposits are a way of securing the date you prefer, and this means that the wedding photographer will block off that date for you and won’t be accepting any more bookings.
27. When is the deadline for the final payment?
You can always pay your wedding photographers in full upon booking and you could usually get a good discount if you do this.
If you choose to pay partially, the deadline for the final payment would usually be before the wedding day.
For installment payments, this would usually depend on your photographer. You can ask them what their conditions are regarding this.
The photographers aren’t the only one that has to answer questions. Before sealing the deal and hiring a wedding photographer ask you and your partner these questions:
- Do we trust this photographer to capture every beautiful moment at our wedding?
- Do we feel comfortable with this photographer?
- Does the photographer’s wedding package rate fit our wedding budget?
These questions will determine your compatibility with the photographer, and if your answer is yes, then you already FOUND your wedding photographer.
Asking questions isn’t only exclusive to wedding photographers, you can also ask other wedding vendors to ensure that you can work well together!
Keep in mind that planning and making sure that you have chosen the compatible wedding vendor is key to having a successful wedding.