What to ask your Wedding Photographer

Questions to ask your wedding photographer


It’s wedding season and it’s time for you to book your wedding photographer.  There are some real key questions and discussion topics you might want to go over before booking your photographer along with looking over their samples.  Always also ask friends and see if they have any recommendations for photographer!

1. What is your preferred style of photography?

  • Traditional- A traditional wedding photographer will produce posed photographs for display in a portrait album. The photographer works from a “shot list,” ensuring he or she covers all the elements the bride and groom have requested. To make sure every detail of the shots is perfect, the photographer and her assistants not only adjust their equipment, but also the background, the subject’s body alignment, and even the attire.
  • Fashion- Fashion photography is a genre of photography that is focused around displaying clothing and other fashion items for commercial purposes.  Techniques used in this style include the usage of unique off camera lighting, fashion-esque poses and expressions, along with dramatic backgrounds. Typically, fashion influenced style is only  during the engagement/bridal shoot as it’s not conducive for a whole wedding.
  • Natural Light- Rather than using a camera flash, photographers use the natural light found in a setting, usually daylight. The look is warm but the photographer must be skilled to deal with shadows and other lighting challenges.  There are also complications with this style based on weather and time of day.
  • Photojournalism- Wedding Photojournalism is style of story telling through wedding photography that involves minimal involvement on the part of the photographer. A photojournalistic wedding photographer allows all of the moments to unfold around them, while they simply use their creative eye to capture and interpret those moments through their photography.
  • Illustrative- This style is often used for engagement photos, it is a blend of traditional and photojournalistic, with an emphasis on composition, lighting and background. The photographer places subjects together in an interesting environment and encourages them to relax and interact. Illustrative captures some of the spontaneity of candids, while offering the technical control of posed shots.
  • Fine-Art- Fine-art wedding photography involves using artistic angles, creative lighting, unique compositions and advanced post production techniques to create imagery with a much stronger artistic flare.  In this style you most likely will not have a “say cheese” moment. In post production, these images are transformed into fine-art using textures, filters, masks, and other advanced edited techniques.

2. How many weddings have you shot in your career?

  • While an experienced photographer will have a bigger portfolio for you to look through that also comes at a price, often if you are on a tighter budget you can pay less for a less experienced photographer.

3. How many weddings will you shoot on my wedding day?

  • Hopefully it will only be yours but if it’s more than one make sure there is adequate time in between weddings.

4. Have you ever shot at my venue or will you ask for my venues guidelines?

  • If they have then they know there way around, the guidelines, and where to get the good shots.  If they haven’t you can certainly ask if they’d be willing to go do a site visit to prep for your big day.

5. Do you bring your own lighting?

  • This should be a yes, there shouldn’t be a reason why they shouldn’t be bringing any of their own equipment.

6. Do you work from a shot list?

  • If they do, ask to see it.  If they don’t ask if you can create one for them.  Most photographers even if not working off a shot list will be more than willing to do the shots you request!  And if they’re not they probably aren’t the photographers for you.

7. Can I request certain images be taken at my wedding?

  • Again same as above, but you might want to ask how they will ensure these images are taken.

8. How many hours are included in your package?

  • Typically there time starts 2 hours before the wedding to do the bridal party getting ready shots, or if you’re doing a first look and images before the wedding.  All of this is negotiable.  Make sure though that if you are getting 8 hours of coverage and don’t want to pay for extra time that you schedule all major wedding happenings you want photographed to happen during that time.  You don’t want to wait till hour 9 to cut the cake because then you won’t have photographs of that.

9. How much does an additional hour of coverage cost?

  • Again, if you think you will be spreading out your wedding activities pay for that extra hour or two you won’t regret it!

10. Do you bring a second shooter?

  • This will cost more but during the ceremony you probably want it to get both the perspective of the bride and the groom.  Also if you’re doing wedding prep pictures those will be taking place in more than room and you may need a second shooter.

11. How many images can I expect from my wedding?

  • Photographers shoot rather quickly and have 10-20 images of the exact same thing.  In the editing process they will pick the best of those shots and that is what you will see.  On average a wedding photographer will shoot between 1,200-1,500 shots but you will only see 200-400 images.

12. Do you have a limit to the amount of images you will edit?

  • This should be a no.

13. How long does it take to see the proofs from my wedding?

  • Busier wedding seasons will be longer aka it might take a while in summer and fall, while winter might be much faster to see your proofs.

14. Do I receive a disc of images, or do I have to order all prints through you?

  • This should be a yes if you can print your own.

15. How much are prints, books, canvases, etc?

  • Ask for a price sheet with guaranteed prices that won’t change, if you can’t print your own you don’t want the prices going up in a year.

16. Is an album included?

  • If so, ask for samples.

17. Who holds the rights to these images after the wedding?

  • This should be you that way you can print as many as you’d like and they can’t use the image without your permission.

18. Will you use my images in advertising?

  • You should have the right to accept or deny this option.

19. How will you and your staff be dressed?

  • They’re not going to be running around your wedding in stilettos and you shouldn’t expect that.  They are working and should be dressed professionally but won’t be in a ball gown at your formal wedding.

20. What is your plan if you have an emergency and can’t shoot my wedding?

  • Obviously it’s always good to have a backup plan.  You don’t want to be left stranded on the day without options.

21. How much is your deposit?

22. When is the balance due?

  • Hopefully end of the night not before.

23. What is your cancellation policy?

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