Finding and booking a wedding photographer that you truly connect with as well as loving their work can be tricky; especially because there are so many of us out there! You'll be spending the majority of your wedding day with your photographer, so interviewing them and meeting them, if possible, before booking is a great way to make sure you'll enjoy having them around. If you're overwhelmed or unsure of where to even begin when interviewing your potential photographer, you've come to the right place! I've compiled ten questions you should ask before booking your wedding photographer.
Are you available for my wedding date?
First things first is to make sure they're available! If you haven't picked a wedding date yet, I recommend deciding on your date and booking your venue before reaching out to photographers.
2. Will you have an assistant or a second photographer with you on my wedding day?
Assistants and/or second photographers are a HUGE help to the primary photographer on your wedding day. They generally help keep the timeline running smoothly, run to get people or things needed, help the primary set up for photos and fix any details, etc. They also take photos too, so you'll get even more photos with a second photographer than without one. For example, for an 8 hour wedding day, I've given as many as 1200 photos because I have such an amazing second photographer! She gets all the extra detail photos and great photos from different angles.
3. How long have you been photographing weddings? / How many weddings have you photographed?
I personally find that this one isn't too important. I know photographers who are only 2 years into the business and they are amazing! But you might be more comfortable with someone who has been in the industry for 10 years versus someone who has only been in it for 3 years.
4. Can we see a full gallery of a wedding you have recently photographed?
This is huge... Please please please ask this. Photographers only share their best work to social media, their website, and blogs. You need to be able to see how they shoot in all kinds of lighting, what their dance floor photos look like, how they handle rooms with no light, what their flash photos look like, etc. Seeing a full gallery will really help you decide if you truly like their work or not.
5. What's included in your collections? / Can I customize a collection to fit my needs?
Make sure you understand and know all that is included in your collection. Some photographers will let you customize and some are strictly set to what they offer. Some also offer collections that come with engagement sessions, albums, prints, etc.
6. Do you have business insurance?
I personally would always make sure all my vendors have some type of insurance, that way you're protected.
7. Do you have a back up camera and back up cards?
I am pretty sure that every photographers worst nightmare is to lose an SD card with a wedding on it or for our camera to break on a wedding day. Make sure your photographer has a back up camera with a dual slot for SD cards. That way if one card fails, they still have your wedding photos backed up on the other card. Also, ensure they have back up flash for receptions shots and other lenses too in case one breaks.
8. When will we receive the contract? / How much is a deposit?
If you don't follow any of the other advice I give here, as least follow this one: READ your contract. Don't skim it, don't just sign it. Read it from start to finish. Your contract should list out what is due and when, when you're getting your photos, how you're receiving them, if you're allowed to add filters (usually no) or post on social media, etc. It might also have rules that your photographer requires in order for them to do their job. An example would be: I require a 30 minute break and a hot meal for dinner. I always point this out to all couples and ensure that they're passing that info on to their planner and/or catering team. We have usually worked 6 hours by the time dinner comes around, we deserve a break and a meal!
9. What is the back up plan if you're unable to make it to my wedding?
Things happen. Photographers get sick too or a baby might be due at the time of your wedding. It happens. Make sure your photographer has a back up plan that doesn't include leaving you with no photographer.. I have never missed a wedding before, but my back up plan is to have my second photographer take my place as the primary and then hire a second photographer for her. I would still edit all photos and deliver them the same way as normal. Some photographers might do the same or some might refund and have you hire someone else. Just make sure you know beforehand, especially if it's a last second cancellation. No one should be scrambling for a photographer hours before their wedding.
10. Can you walk us through a normal wedding day with you?
I love this question and I love answering it because I feel like it gives couples a little insight to how their photographer will run the wedding day and photos. Does your photographer stand back and capture all the candid moments? Or do they direct and pose more? Are they able to keep everyone on track with the timeline? How do they handle big wedding parties? In what order to they do photos?
There are a TON more questions you could ask your potential photographer. It really all depends on you and what you're wanting and needing on your wedding day. Whoever you choose, just make sure you vibe with them, make sure you love all their work, in all aspects of light, and make sure the contract covers all your bases.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
Senior Session at Jeffrey Mansion | Bexley, OH
Samantha and Mike - Slate Run Portrait Session
Session at Be Changed Studio in Westerville, Ohio