Before asking these questions, the most important ones are asked of yourself. I always tell brides, “What is important to you?” Is it tons of images? An engagement session? Printing rights?
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 11 questions to start you off!
1. What’s your style?
I always encourage people to look through a photographer’s work before entertaining a conversation with them! It’s like a first date, honestly. 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. It sounds cut-throat, but really it’s just kind. Look through their work and decide if you like it or not.
2. What’s your approach to photography?
Do they take on more of a director role, or are they hands off? Do they pose or let things unfold? Are they more photojournalistic or fine art? Determine what’s important to you regarding your wedding gallery.
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 fiancée, 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?
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 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. How many images do you deliver?
Some of the most exclusive photographers ironically deliver less images. I’ll be honest, it doesn’t quite make sense to me! My philosophy is that every moment matters. If your nephew picks his nose during the ceremony, grandma gives you a kiss on the cheek, Dad steals a smile at Mum at some point… I want you to see everything that happened behind the scenes! The question to ask yourself is “what’s important to me?”
8. What’s your personality like?
If I were to rank these questions, this would be #1! 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?
9. What’s your pricing and are there any hidden fees?
Every photographer has a different approach! Some include sales tax within their pricing, and others include it afterward. Make sure you’re not taken by surprise.
10. Will I get full printing/download rights or will I have to pay?
Some photographers offer full printing rights, and some require paying for downloads or prints. Some love hosting post-wedding parties to preview your gallery.
11. 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!