Finding the right photographer can seem like a no brainer, “I like their photos I saw on Instagram” so obviously I should hire them, but I’ll tell you there are so many more points to factor in that you probably didn’t even think about. Here’s a quick list to look over while you’re trying to figure out who to hire.
Photo Credits: Megan Moura Photography
1. Do you still have availability for my date? You’ll want to be sure they’re still available for your date, especially if your wedding is fast approaching. A lot of photographers book far in advance and weddings are currently booming so all wedding vendors, including photographers, are seeing an influx in business.
2. How would you describe your photography and work style? Will you shoot more candid or staged? Are you looking for a particular style of photography or trying to avoid a certain look? Ask your photographer how they would describe their style. It’s great to hear it directly from the source and get a feeling for who they are. Do you prefer candid or staged photos? Depending on their style they may or may not be a good fit for you.
3. Can I give you a list of specific shots we would like? A list of photos for the day helps ensure your photographer captures everything you’re hoping for so you won’t be disappointed when you receive your photos. This is also a great list to have to make sure they capture all of the different combinations of family photos you’ll need (blog post coming soon on this)
Photo Credits: JTang Productions
4. How far in advance do you need a timeline? Your photographer will likely want to know the schedule for the day, so they’re aware of all events and important moments. This timeline will go beyond just the ceremony and reception and include key details like when you will get ready, when is your cake cutting, first dance, etc. You’ll want to know how early you need to get this to your photographer so you can have this ready for them in a timely manner and they can properly prepare.
5. Do you shoot digital, film, or both? Do you carry backup equipment? This is important to note if you have a preference or you’re going for a certain look. It’s also good to raise the question of if they carry backup equipment in case something happens. They should be prepared for anything and a good photographer will have already thought this question through.
6. Are you the one who will photograph the wedding? Will you have any assistants or second-shooters with you that day? Sometimes photography businesses are quite large and they hire multiple people to shoot under them. If this particular photographer is important to you, you’ll want to ensure they’ll be the one working your big day, and if not you’ll probably want to see a full wedding (not just the highlights) by the photographer who will be shooting that day. You’ll also want to note if they plan to bring an assistant, especially if you have a large wedding with a jam packed schedule. It’s nice to know they’ll have extra shooters in multiple places to capture everything.
Photo Credits: The Singlers
7. What is included in the package you are booking? You should be fully aware of what the package you’re interested in covers. Questions like will they only be there for a few hours and how many edits you will get back is important to find out. If you want them there from start to finish, you may need to pay a little more money per hour, so check in with them to see what additional hours will cost you. If you can’t afford to add in more hours, then maybe have them start later in the day, make sure the important moments and the bulk of the agenda fits into the time slot you’re paying for (this is where timeline is important).
8. Do you provide retouching, color adjustment, or other corrective services? Most photographers will include some kind of photo edits to give their photos their style, but you should make sure you know what they cover. Do they retouch photos, fix colors, remove unwanted things in the background, etc. Are these services automatically included, or will you need to pay extra for them?
9. How long after the wedding will we receive photos? If you’re like most people, anxious to see photos from the best day of your life, then you’ll want to know what their turnaround time is. Sometimes photographers will send a few preview shots to hold you over, but it doesn’t hurt to ask their timeframe so you’re not waiting on pins and needles for too long.
Photo Credits: HPW Productions
10. How will we get the photos? Will it be accessible online, for how long? Will it be unlimited downloads? You’ll probably want to know the way they plan to get all of these photos to you, will it be online through a website, can you download them all and order prints, etc. If it is available online, can anyone access it and how long will it be up? Are there unlimited downloads, or will it cost you?
11. What is your refund and cancellation policy? Is there a backup plan if you get sick or are unable to make it? Because we’ve all lived through and are still currently going through a pandemic world, you should be aware of what their cancellation and refund policy is, especially since some photographers can be a large expense. Should something happen to your photographer and they’re sick, or can’t make it to your event, what is their plan and will they help you or provide you with a connection to a backup photographer. Fingers crossed nothing to this extent happens, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
12. Are there additional fees, gratuities, taxes, etc.? When are the deposit and final payment due? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, know what you’re paying for and be on the lookout for additional fees, automatic gratuities, taxes, etc. You do not want to be surprised with extra fees you never accounted for. And at the end of all of this, if you’re happy with this photographer, find out exactly when everything is due.
Photo Credits: Rae Marshall Photography
And that’s it! The top 12 questions to ask the photographer. It’s important to find a photographer who is not only going to take nice photos, but also that you vibe well with them. They’ll be around you for a lot of really personal, intimate moments on this very important day that not everyone gets to see. I highly encourage you to make sure you feel comfortable around them and truly believe they are a good fit for you and your partner. Hopefully these questions help you feel them out, get a good sense of who they are, and if they’re the right photographer for you!
Click here for a printable version you can take to any of your potential photographer interviews
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