20 Essential Questions to ask a Wedding Photographer
It might seem a little daunting trying to decide which wedding photographer to choose for such a special day as your wedding with all the different styles of the photographers, their various packages and different price points.
However, even when you've selected one or two photographers to consider, it's best to delve a little deeper and ask a few really important questions so you have a good understanding of what level of service they are going to provide for you on your wedding day.
Here are a few questions to ask to make sure that everything goes smoothly, and also so you know exactly what to expect so there are no hidden surprises. Your photographer may have covered some of this before you meet, but just incase they haven’t, here are a few things to think about and and discuss with them. These are just my little suggestions based on telling some pretty amazing wedding day stories right across Norfolk & Suffolk but think carefully about your special day as you may have questions of your own.
1. Can I see a broad cross section of images from one wedding?
Most wedding photographers are likely to showcase on their website 'wow' factor images or images that really appeal to them from a variety of weddings. So it's really important to ask the photographer you are considering to show you a broad cross section of images from just one wedding so that you can get a flavour of how your wedding images might be.
2. Do you limit the number of group/family shots?
I know (through personal experience when I attended a wedding as a guest) that some photographers put a specific figure on the number of group/family shots that they will permit (in the case of the wedding I attended it was six).
So it's really essential to know before your big day whether your photographer limits the number of group shot they will take. It's maybe something to think about, balancing your group/family photos with the rest of your day so that you don't spend huge amounts of time with your formal shots but ultimately it's your special day so it's best to agree the number taken with your photographer before your wedding day.
3. Can you take photos in 'low light'?
There are some very fine 'natural light' photographers out there who can take some pretty amazing shots in the soft evening light of a Summer wedding however there are many dark atmospheric venues such as barns and dimly lit churches so can the photographer deal with taking photos in such situations.
Then again many couples choose to marry in the Winter months (I just love Winter weddings) when it get dark as early as 4pm. Is the photographer skilled in the use of 'flash photography' and can he or she show examples of their work in the dark?
4. How many hours will you be at my wedding?
As you've no doubt discovered on their websites, some photographers offer set hours and others will say things like 'coverage until the first dance'. So it's important to ask how long the photographer will be at your wedding and whether there are any additional costs if they stay longer than the agreed hours.
Some photographers may offer 'full day' coverage which should take away any concerns about your photographer leaving during an important moment of your wedding day story.
5. How many images will I receive?
Some wedding photographers specify on their website how many images you will receive, others will leave it slightly vague (e.g. 450+) and a few indicate a range. So another important question to ask is for an indication of the number of images you are likely to receive.
There may be a number of factors that impact on the number of images you receive from your photographer such as the length of time they are at your wedding, number of guests there are and the number of photo opportunities that present themselves.
6. How long do you take to deliver the images after my wedding?
It's a really essential question to ask how long it takes to receive your photos after your wedding. It's one of those things where you really don't want the photographer to be rushing the editing of your images but on the other hand you don't want to be waiting forever and a day for them.
Some photographers may specify in their contact a timeframe in which they undertake to deliver your wedding images but it's also worth bearing in mind the time of the year of your wedding as in peak months the photographer may be extremely busy.
7. Are there any suppliers that you can recommend?
Usually (but not always) the wedding photographer is the first supplier you make arrangements to see after booking your venue so it's an opportunity to ask if the photographer has any supplier recommendations based on their experience of them.
Whether you are looking for a wedding planner, florist, cake maker, bridal shop, hair & makeup artist, venue decoration, wedding hire, transport, DJ/Band, photo booth, casino, magician, celebrant etc just ask the photographer who they have experience of and can highly recommend to you.
8. What arrangements do you have for protecting our wedding images?
What's one of the worst things that a photographer could do with you wedding images? How about loosing them!
There's several ways a photographer could loose your images with perhaps one of the obvious being to mislay or loose the multi media card from the camera with your wedding images on. Other ways include a 'corrupted' card where your images become damaged or failing to 'back up' your images and loosing them from say a house fire.
So although it might sound a bit of a boring question asking the photographer how he or she is going protect your images is really important question.
9. Have you photographed at my venue before?
I've included this question simply because I've been asked it many times and to some couples this might seem an essential question.
The reality is your hard earned money is paying for the photographers skills (amongst other things) so most talented photographers should be able to adapt to any venue whether they have taken photos at the venue before or not.
10. What is included in the package and what is the total price?
If you've looked around at various wedding photographers you're sure to know that some include their full package and pricing on their website and some choose not to.
So it's a definite question to ask if the photographer you are considering has chosen not to publish their packages and pricing.
11. Is my online gallery 'watermarked'?
Some photographers prefer to 'watermark' images in online galleries with the thinking that this restricts copying of the images by guests and encourages them to pay for downloads and prints etc so it may be worth asking your photographer to clarify this.
12. Do I need to provide a meal (for the photographer)?
Venues have different policies on supplying the photographer with a meal so it may be worth asking your venue first whether they routinely supply the photographer with a meal and whether they do or don't charge you for it.
Some photographers may have in their agreements the requirement for them to be supplied with a meal and others may leave it to the discretion of the bride & groom.
13. What happens if you are ill?
Many photographers are single person businesses so it's essential that you know that the photographer has a backup plan if they fall ill or suffer an accident.
For peace of mind it is worth asking what the photographers back up plan for illness or accident is.
14. Are all of the images on your website from real weddings?
Some photographers take some truly stunning images on stylised photoshoots with models playing the part of the bride (and sometimes groom) and where the environment is controlled, the lighting set up is flawless and there is time to perfect the shot.
Given that these are not 'real wedding' images it may be worth asking the photographer whether they can replicate this type of photo at your wedding and whether they envisage sufficient time to do them if you are attracted to this type of image for your wedding.
15. Is it ok if guests take photos at my wedding?
You might want to consider an 'unplugged' wedding where no other photos are permitted other than the official photographer or you might want to restrict the 'unplugged' bit to just your wedding ceremony.
Times such as 'cutting the cake' the photographer will usually take their shots and then stand aside for guests to take theirs likewise at some venues 'signing of the register'.
Generally speaking most photographers will welcome guests taking photos at your wedding but it's still worth asking the photographer what their views are on this.
16. Do you deliver black & white images?
Usually you should be able to determine the answer to this question from the photographers website however it may be worth asking whether there is a ratio the photographer uses for colour/black & white or whether the photographer just uses their discretion as to which images lend themselves best to black & white (as I do).
17. Do I get to select the images for my wedding album, do I get input into the album design and how long is the wait time for the album?
One of the nice things about being a wedding photographer is that you get to choose your wedding album supplier. For me, I have always used Folio Albums (I've had really great feedback about them) however there are a other fine wedding album suppliers for photographers to choose from.
Consider asking the photographer whether you select your own images for your album and whether you get to see any proofs and can suggest changes before the design is sent for printing.
18. How long do you store my images for?
Really this should be in the photographers agreement/contract but its certainly worth asking if not. You may at some future date like to order an album (on your wedding anniversary for example) or if you lost the memory stick your images were provided on you should expect to have a further copy of the images provided by the photographer.
19. What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
A cracking question to ask your photographer so give it a whirl.
20. What information do you need from us before our wedding day?
Photographers are likely to have different ideas on what information they need as some photographers may be more meticulous in their planning than others. Some may prefer a face to face meeting just before your wedding day where they can make notes to ensure your needs are met and that they have a good understanding of timings.