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The key to finding wedding vendors you love? Interviewing them before you sign the contract. This is especially true with a photographer. You’ll be spending almost the entire day with the photographer you choose, so in addition to loving their style, having an in-person or phone interview is a great way to make sure you’ll be happy to have them around. Not sure where to start when it comes to interviewing your wedding photographer of choice? Our experts have rounded up a list of questions to ask your photographer that will help you narrow down your options when it comes to everything you need to know.
- Is my wedding date available?
- Will you be the one shooting my wedding? If not, can I meet the photographer who will be on-site?
Pro tip: If your photographer is the owner of his or her business, and does not have a studio with other photographers in it, they will be the person shooting your wedding. If they are the owner of a larger studio and employ other photographers, make sure you meet whoever will be shooting your wedding before your wedding day—and try to have them included in the rest of this conversation.
- How many other weddings will you photograph that weekend?
- Will you have any assistants with you on our wedding day?
Pro tip: Some photographers always work with an assistant, while others determine if they need one based on the size of your event. If they do not always work with an assistant, adding an assistant or second photographer to your contract will most likely incur an additional fee.
- How long have you been shooting weddings? How many weddings have you photographed?
- Do you often shoot weddings that have a similar size and style to the one we are planning?
- Can we see the full galleries of a few of your recent weddings?
Pro tip: Unlike an album or a highlight gallery, a full gallery will give you a better sense of your photographer’s style, as well as his or her attention to detail. Make sure these are from weddings they’ve shot in the past few months so they’re an accurate representation.
- Have you ever shot a wedding at our ceremony and reception venues? If not, do you plan to check the venues out in advance?
Pro tip: If possible, your photographer should visit the venue in advance to scout locations, familiarize him- or herself with the layout and lighting, and determine any restrictions from the venue (like a church that does not allow flash photography).
Pro tip: It’s not a must, but it’s always nice to have vendors who are comfortable working with one another.
- How would you describe your photography style? What would you compare your work to?
- How would you describe your working style? Do you prefer to blend into the background to capture candid moments, or do you like to be more visible and take charge to choreograph images?
- Do you shoot digitally? With film? Or both?
Pro tip: The medium doesn’t determine how good your photographer is, but it will have an impact on the style of photography you get. Look at both digital and film work to get a feel for which style you prefer. If you are unfamiliar with the lingo surrounding photography styles, ask your photographer to make comparisons to things like magazine spreads, sports photography, artists, etc.
Pricing and Packages
- What is included in your standard package? What add-ons do the more expensive packages include?
- Can I customize a package to fit my needs?
Pro tip: Many photographers offer add-ons, from engagement sessions to albums, that will allow you to get the coverage that works best for you.
- Do you include engagement photos in your packages? What about pre-wedding events like rehearsal dinners?
- How many hours are included in each package? How much do extra hours cost?
Pro tip: If your photographer’s base package is six hours, you may want to add some extra time so they can capture getting ready shots, or stay until after dinner to get some pictures of everyone dancing before they go home.
- Do you offer a photo booth?
- Do you offer retouching, color adjustment, or other corrective services? Are those included or an additional charge?
- Do you charge a travel fee? For what distance? What does that cover?
Pro tip: Most photographers have a radius outside of which they charge a travel fee. Over a certain distance, you may be required to pay for your photographer’s lodging, as well.
Prints and Albums
- Can we order prints or albums directly from you?
- What type of album do you offer? Do you provide assistance selecting images and designing the album?
- Are albums or prints included in your packages? How many pages or prints are included, and what is the turnaround time?
- How long after the wedding will we receive the images? How will they be delivered?
- Will we have the rights to the images?
- Will we receive the negatives and/or high resolution digital images? Is there a fee for that?
- Will the images be accessible online? For how long?
- When will we receive the contract?
- How much of a deposit do you require? When is it due?
- Do you accept payments in installations?
- What is your refund or cancellation policy?
- Do you have liability insurance? Does it cover your assistants, as well?
- Do you carry backup equipment?
Pro tip: In the event that a camera gets damaged, you definitely want your photographer to have a backup on-hand.
- What is the backup plan if you are unable to shoot my wedding for an unexpected reason?
Pro tip: Check the contract, which should specify that a photographer of equal quality and comparable style will be sourced by the photographer you hire.
- How will you and your assistants be dressed?
Pro tip: You can request that your photographers mimic the dress code as closely as possible, though keep in mind that they’ll be moving around a lot throughout the day. So if they’re in a black suit instead of a tux, or a cocktail dress and flats instead of a ballgown, that’s why.
- Can we request a list of specific shots we would like?
Pro tip: There’s no way to specify every single image you’d like throughout the day, but most photographers love getting a list of family photos you want to have (including specific pairings of people), as well as the event’s key moments. Make sure they know you’ve got a choreographed first dance or a surprise groom cake so they don’t miss the details.
- Will you be posting about our wedding on your website and social media? Will you be submitting our photos to magazines or blogs?
Pro tip: If you’re conscious about privacy, you can definitely request that your photographer keep your photos to him- or herself. On the other hand, if you definitely want your images submitted, tell your photographer in advance.