Find Your Wedding Photographer
avoid post-wedding disappointment!
Ideally, you fall in love with a photographer's work, reach out to them, hire them, receive the photos you dreamed of or better, and everyone lives happily ever after — right?
Well, unfortunately, this isn't always the case for a multitude of reasons. Maybe the photog lives too far away, or they are too high in demand, or you haven't found your photog-crush yet. Whatever it may be... whether you are in a time crunch hunting for wedding vendors or taking your time to discover your dream photographer, you will want to make sure you ask some essential questions that matter to you personally. Otherwise, you may end up with unexpected results.
Below, I am discussing why to ask these questions listed here. Some of them are not important to every wedding couple, but overall it should be a good baseline for most occasions. On the very bottom, you will find a button to open a print-friendly PDF: a list of just the questions (without my two cents of why to ask them) + space to take notes. The PDF is published (and downloadable) via my Adobe cloud.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY SPECIFIC
Tell us about your weddings.
By asking this open-ended question, you can gain good insight into the person's personality and preferences.
Weddings, especially full-seize ones, are high-pressure gigs: so many unpredictable challenges and so many important moments that can't be missed! Photographing weddings is not for the faint of heart. Choose a person who seems steady and in control of their craft.
How many weddings do you shoot a year?
Somewhere between 10 to 30 is usually the sweet spot. If the answer is more than 40, it might indicate that they don't involve themselves in postprocessing and leave it to an external service. This isn't a bad deal if you are on a budget or don't care too much about the storytelling of your day. Only the person who was there with you knows exactly what photos are most important. Their annual (ideal) number also gives you a sense of where they are at in their career. The biggest names in wedding photography keep it to around 10-15 weddings per year, but they also cost around $10k per booking (just to give you an example).
Can we view ___'s full wedding gallery?
This can be important for two reasons. One, a photographer who won't share a full gallery, is likely to be not very confident in their work. Two, once you see a full gallery, you know better what to expect - wedding galleries should tell the full story of the day. Beyond the Instagram-worthy shots, it includes the less spectacular, the silly, and the weird. It is great for you to see it all.
Do you have a team? - If not, how will you find/hire a second shooter?
For some of these questions, there are no "right" or "wrong" answers, but asking them will give you an understanding of how the photographer handles things.
Follow up with:
What happens if you get sick?
Can we extend the time on the day of my wedding?
At some weddings, everything runs behind, so this is a good safety-net question. Other times, everything is too much fun to call it a wrap.
How many edited photos do you typically deliver?
Client expectations vary sooo much. And photographers' opinions on how many is just the right amount also vary quite a lot. Some clients just want the best. Some want them all. Some photographers might be flexible. This is definitely worth talking about.
When can we expect to see the photos?
Another important question, one that should be fixed in your photo contract! If you don't see it in the contract, please remind your photographer to add it. PLEASE don't feel shy about this one; I have heard nightmare stories! You may also ask your photographer if you could pay extra for expedited delivery.
Do I have to order prints through you?
If it is important to you to be able to print wherever you want instead of through your photographer's services, this is a good question to keep in mind. Photographers create income for themselves by having higher package prices that include a personal print release or by tying clients to ordering prints through their own print services.
Is wedding photography your main business?
If their work is amazing and they have been in the game for a good while, this question is completely irrelevant. What you really want to get a feel for is: how important wedding photography is to your prospective photographer. Some are only in it for the money because weddings pay more than entry-level portrait or product photography. Choose someone who LOVES love.
MORE QUESTIONS TO SEE WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT OF THEM:
How do you prepare for our wedding location?
Tell us about first looks, family portraits & how you handle time issues during the wedding day.
Tell us about pre-wedding sessions (save-the-date / engagement).
Fees, what is not included? e.g. travel/expenses
Would you create an à la carte/bespoke offer?
What amount of deposit is required?
When is the deposit due? When is the balance due? Do you offer payment plans?
How does your booking process work?
How do you handle postponements or cancellations?
Do you offer service member benefits?
What kind of gear do you use?
Watch the photographer's face light up, especially if they have new and shiny toys in their gear bag haha.
— download your PDF —
Have fun & enjoy your conversations.