There are a multitude of resources out there that will give you a list of questions you can ask your perspective photographer. There is the standard list of questions that include “What your photography style?”, “have you shot at my venue before?”, what do we need to reserve your services?”, and “how many weddings have you shot?”. The truth is that their style is exactly what you see on their website, not having shot at your venue before won’t stop them from doing an amazing job, and someone qualified who’s shot 100+ weddings may have lost passion for what they do.
These standard question are all fine question but they don’t really give you the sense of who this person really is and what they’re about. As a photographer, I’ve put a list of questions down that I suggest asking every photographer you interview. What’s more, don’t just listen to their answer, listen to how they answer. You will be able to get a good feeling for their confidence and competence levels.
Are you full time or part time?
I know some amazing photographers that are part-time and this should in no way eliminate anyone from your search. It is important to remember however that part-time photographers have another job that may limit their availability and communication, and the lengthen the time it takes to receive your photos after the wedding.
What additional fees do you charge?
Travel fees and overtime fees are common with most photographers but there can be others as well. Find out the full schedule of fees at your initial meeting.
Do you have liability insurance?
A reputable photographer should have their business licensed and should carry both liability and equipment insurance.
How do you backup our photos?
Over the years I have been asked many, many questions by perspective clients but never this one which in my experience, should be one of the most important. Most cameras these days write to two cards at once in case of a memory card malfunction. External hard drives and online storage are inexpensive so there are a multitude of ways to ensure the safety of your wedding photos. Your photographer should be able to answer this question immediately and without hesitation showing they do indeed have a workflow to keep your photos safe.
Do you carry backup equipment?
A photographer should have at least one backup for every vital piece of gear they carry with them to a wedding.
What kind of lighting do you use after dark and at our reception?
The most common answer to this question should be using off camera flash which provides the best quality lighting in most situations. Most photographers are comfortable using a variety of lighting techniques but again, make sure they have a plan. A photographer who only shoots natural light will take amazing photos during the day but struggle at dimly lit reception.
How long will take to get our photos? How will they be delivered? What will you do if you go over that time? How long will you keep a backup copy for?
These are all important questions to ask your photographer. The industry average is 4-8 weeks to receive your digital wedding photos. Photos are normally delivered to you via flash drive or digital download. Your photographer should also let you know how long they keep a backup copy of your photos for and what fee they charge for providing you replacements.
To me, this is a really important question. As photographers, we expect our clients to make their payments on time. I believe that clients should be able to expect their photos delivered to them within the promised timeframe. They should also be able to tell you how they will handle the situation should unforeseen circumstances arise.
What kind of editing do you provide with your collections? What editing do you charge extra for?
Color correction, exposure balancing, contrast, vignette control, and cropping should all be including in your photography collection. Skin retouching, blemish removal, and the removal of distracting objects are considered high end retouching and normally cost extra as this takes the photography a significant amount of time per photo.
Will you be our actual photographer?
In most cases, the person you talk with will be your photographer for your wedding. It is good to verify this however as some studios do you have associate photographers that they use for certain weddings.
Will I receive a copy of the contract?
Do not book with a photographer that does not provide you a contract. No exceptions.
What makes you different from other photographers?
Again, this is a question your photographer should be able to answer without hesitation. Know who you’re hiring. Know what makes them different. And know what they’re all about.
Can I see a full wedding you’ve delivered to a client?
You’re looking for consistency here. It’s easy to for a photographer to display their very best images but seeing a full wedding they’ve delivered to a client will give you a good idea of how they work in various lighting conditions throughout the day. Good wedding photographers will have consistency in their exposure, lighting, and editing style through the entire wedding album.
How do you help us to look our best in photos?
There is no right or wrong answer here but this is a question that will help you gain insight into who they are and how they work.
How will you prepare to photograph our wedding?
Will they take the time to listen to your photography vision and help you create a custom timeline for your day? How often are they in touch with you? Will they arrive early to your venue on the day of? Are they familiar with your venue and if not, what will they do to make sure they’re prepared? These are important things that should come up when you ask this question.
How will you make our wedding photos unique?
Will they talk with you to find out who you are as a couple and what your vision is and then work to capture photos that are naturally you?