Choosing a Photographer
to ask your photographer:
What is your experience with wedding photography?
If you want professional results, make sure your photographer has several
years of experience under his or her belt—as a principle photographer,
not an assistant. Ask about venues where he or she has photographed
weddings, keeping in mind that a variety of venues indicates a more
seasoned professional who can be spontaneous. Also, ask to see a complete
wedding with hundreds of pictures. This allows you to a real-world example
of their work, and not just one 'best of'' photography album. Most importantly,
is to find out if your photographer loves being a wedding photographer!
2. How would you describe your photographic style?
Your photographer’s style—whether it’s traditional,
contemporary, journalistic/documentary, or illustrative/artistic—should
complement the “mood” or overall feel of your wedding. A
good photographer will give you what you think you want. But a great
photographer will blend a variety of styles and approaches to uniquely
tell the “story” of your day as it unfolds.
3. Will you be the actual photographer at my wedding?
Will you be bringing an experienced second photographer, or
is he or she an assistant?
A second photographer is an experienced photographer who can work independently.
The final result photographically will be two separate perspectives
of your wedding day. An assistant is different, being a helper to the
photographer, holding gear, being at their side usually to do whatever
needs to be done to assist the photographer. Make sure you know whether
to expect more than one photographer (your caterer will appreciate the
accurate head count). In terms of event planning, you’ll want
as few surprises as possible on your wedding day.
4. Will you be photographing another wedding the same day or
same weekend as mine?
You want to make sure your photographer can give you 110%, so having
them photograph two weddings in one day is not in your best photographic
interest. Photographing weddings can be physically demanding work (we’ve
been known to literally run to get the perfect shot), sometimes involving
10 – 12 hour days. You may even want to ask if your photographer
is shooting a wedding the day before your wedding. Book your photographer
well in advance, and let him or her know your concerns around “double
5. How much coverage do I need?
The length and flow of wedding celebrations tend to vary
according to cultural traditions. Certain wedding traditions call
for three days of celebration, while others mandate a tea ceremony
early in the morning and the marriage ceremony in the afternoon. Talk
to your photographer about what kind of wedding you’re planning,
so you can make arrangements for appropriate coverage.
Wedding coverage typically starts with the bride getting ready, then
moves onto the ceremony itself, followed by a photography hour, reception
with grand entrance, toasts, dinner, cake cutting, first dance, father/daughter
& mother/son dance, and then open dancing. This type of wedding
typically only requires 5 to 7 hours of photography coverage. The
difference in time variance depends on factors such as if the ceremony
and reception are in the same or different locations, length of ceremony,
and number of locations for the day. Helping to create timelines for
our clients is a part of our services, so that we know we’re
capturing all the important moments of the day.
Sometimes the couple may think that they would rather have a photographer
who offers unlimited time or coverage to the end versus a photographer
who is doing a specific length of time. Look at the quality of the
photography. Understand that more coverage time doesn't necessarily
equal quality coverage.
6. Can we get the digital negatives from our wedding? Is
there an extra cost? When will they be available?
In the era of digital photography, many couples now expect to receive
a disc of their photos in addition to prints. Let your photographer
know up front if this is your expectation, and ask if there is an
additional cost for the digital high resolution images. A photographer
who offers you images that have not been adjusted at all (i.e., straight
out of the camera) should raise concerns for you. Great photographers
will want you to have a finished product: images that have been edited,
cropped, and adjusted by a professional—whether those images
are stored on disc or given to you as prints.
7. What kind of photography equipment will you be using? Are
While you may not know much about photography gear yourself, get an
idea of your photographer’s setup. If it requires tripods and
extra lights, you may want to discuss strategies for keeping the photography
setup as unobtrusive as possible. Also, a good photographer will bring
backup equipment to cover unforeseen problems.
Professional photography insurance should never be an option when
looking for the right photographer; this should be mandatory. A real
pro will carry insurance to protect themselves and their equipment
at your event.
8. What if you’re sick or have an emergency on my wedding
Your photographer should have a backup plan if for any reason they’re
unable to make it to your wedding. While highly unlikely, accidents
and family emergencies do occur. Be sure to discuss your contractual
options should this happen, so that you’re not left stranded.
9. Do you charge for overtime, and if so, what’s your
Weddings rarely start or end on time, and it may be that during the
course of your event something took longer than it was supposed to
take. Discuss overtime with your photographer so that you don’t
miss any important moments. This detail should be included in your
wedding photography contract.
10. How will you be dressed at my wedding?
This may seem superficial, but if you’re planning a formal wedding
you don’t want your photographer to show up looking like they’re
going to a beach barbecue. A professional photographer will be dressed
comfortably yet appropriately for your event.
to ask yourself:
1. Do you love the photography that you
Does the photographer produce wonderful images of strong impact?
Do you “connect” with the photographer’s visual
2. Are you comfortable with the wedding photographer?
Will this photographer be able to easily mingle with your family and
Is this someone who can stay calm and problem-solve if needed?
3. Do you understand the terms of your wedding photography contract?
Is everything regarding photography all spelled out?
4. Has your photographer been open and responsive to your questions?
Does he or she ask questions about you and your wedding day?
Does he or she respond quickly to your emails or phone calls?
5. Does your photographer understand that working with other wedding
vendors takes team effort, and is a requirement?