10 Questions For Your Photographer Before You Book
The most important questions are the ones you ask yourself.
I always tell brides, “What is important to you?” Is it tons of images? An engagement session? Printing rights? An enjoyable experience? I can guarantee you want all of those things!
Book the photographer that is right for you guys: one that makes you feel comfortable in front of the camera, fits in your budget, produces exceptional images and will serve you well throughout the process. Here are 10 questions to start you off!
1. What’s your style?
It’s just like a first date. If you know you’re not interested, be respectful and don’t waste anyone’s time! If you don’t like their photos now, you won’t when you get your wedding gallery. I always encourage people to look through a photographer’s work before entertaining a conversation with them!
2. What’s your approach on a wedding day?
Do they take on more of a director role, or are they hands off? Do they pose or let things unfold organically? Are they more photojournalistic or fine art-inspired? Determine what’s important to you regarding your wedding gallery and what you want to feel when you look through your images.
3. Do you offer engagement sessions?
I’m a big believer that engagement sessions are so bonding! Not only is it a fun date for you and your fiancé, but it allows you to really connect with your wedding photographer (provided they’re the same person). You’re able to trial-run posing that will be used on your wedding day and get comfortable with being in front of the camera. All the while, receiving images that look nothing like a trial run! So, after deciding if you want an engagement session, ask your wedding photographer if they include them in their collections!
4. Do you work with a second shooter?
As a bride, is this something important to you? Ask if your photographer ever/always shoots with a second photographer and if so, how do they know them? Do they align with the photographer’s same values and are they respectful? Are they a wedding professional or a college student getting some practice?
5. Do you travel for weddings and have travel costs?
Is your wedding out of town? Are you hiring an out-of-town photographer? Always ask for their travel fees and hotel stay requirements. Remember that they’re humans too and are taking time away from their family to travel to you!
6. What is your image delivery time?
Photographer delivery times range from two weeks to three months, so if this is an important piece of the puzzle for you, ask about it! How long will it take to receive my images? Ask it, then trust that they’ll be true to their word and contract. If it says 2-4 weeks, they may deliver at two weeks or right on the last day, depending on their life schedule and wedding season!
7. What’s your personality like?
If I were to rank these questions, this would be #1! Choose someone who becomes your instant bff. They’ll be the person who helps put on your veil, coaches you through poses, steps in to sacred moments with your family and captures “the” pictures with class and precision. I believe getting along with your photographer is the most important element of hiring someone! Do you respect them? Do you agree with their philosophy? Do you like spending time with them? Are they kind to people, and would you want to endorse them in the future? Spend a phone call or coffee date (or even a little while Instagram-creeping) discovering if you’d be a good fit.
8. What’s your pricing and are there any hidden fees?
Every photographer has a different approach and package selection, based on the kind of availability, exclusivity and desire they have! Some packages include sales tax within their pricing, and others include it afterward. The big “B” word (budget!!!) is daunting, but so necessary for planning your big day. Blowing your budget just adds stress, so keep to the line item cost and choose a photographer who fits your criteria, but also be willing to bend to make room for what matters to you!
9. Will I get full printing/download rights or will I have to pay extra?
Some photographers offer full printing rights, and some require paying for downloads or prints. Some love hosting post-wedding parties to preview your gallery. Make sure you know what they offer upfront so you’re not surprised if additional fee requirements come your way. Will you get to own the photographs? Can you download them for free, or will there be additional costs for purchasing images? Copyright questions are so important to ask beforehand so you receive exactly what you pay for. Don’t forget to ask how many images they deliver so your expectations are realistic when you receive them.
10. Do you photograph rehearsal dinners or bridal portrait sessions?
Bridal portraits are some of my favourite sessions ever. It’s a hair and makeup trial, dress fitting and photoshoot all-in-one! The bride is always so giddy to be in her dress and gets to know how it feels to wear it around. Ask your photographer if they offer these! It’s yet another connection point before your wedding day. Rehearsal dinners are equally special but in a different way… the closest of the close are gathered around you, swapping stories from your childhood and gushing about all your great qualities now and how you’ve grown… Don’t let that go undocumented!