Questions for Your Wedding Photographer
Be an informed consumer! Know which questions you should be asking your wedding photographer.
Quality wedding photography is an investment that ensures all of your wonderful moments from your wedding day will be preserved for the future. Throughout the process of choosing your wedding vendors, it is absolutely imperative that you know to ask the right questions. Read below to see some of the questions you should ask your photographer.
Who is actually going to photograph my wedding?
There are really two types of photography companies: ones run by the photographer who shows up and photographs each wedding, and ones run by managers who book couples and then subcontract other photographers to do the work. If you’re not bothered about the specific photographer for your wedding, then the latter might be ok for you. Often they will allow you to look through portfolios of photographers, and then hopefully that photographer is available for your date. I only want to caution you with one major thing: read reviews. Do your homework on whichever photographer you choose from the list. Remember that a portfolio that they show you will be their very best images on the very best days at the very best weddings.
My answer: I photograph all my weddings. I do not farm them out to subcontractors. In the event that I am sick or injured, I have a fantastic pool of other super-talented photographers I can call on for help. We have all helped each other out when we needed it in the past.
Does my photography package include a second shooter?
A second shooter is an extra photographer who photographs getting ready portraits, candids throughout the day, reaction photos during the speeches and ceremony, and secondary angles of all the big events like the first dance, parent dances, cake cutting, ceremony, and more. You should know if your package includes a second shooter and if it does not, what the cost is to add one.
My answer: Both of my 8-hour packages include a second shooter, and my 6-hour package does not. You can always add a second shooter onto your wedding day with a minimum of 4 hours of coverage (this is to make it worth it to the second shooter).
Will you have an assistant with you for my wedding?
Some photographers bring an assistant to help with lighting and other tasks. Having the total headcount of all the vendors will be important for your venue, so make sure to ask how many people are going to come.
My answer: I generally do not bring assistants, unless it’s a wedding I do not have a second shooter for and I anticipate a scenario where it would be really helpful to have an extra person. An example of this is if the forecast is bad, and I know we’ll be stuck inside for portraits. In that case, I know that a lot of the work will require off-camera flash, which is made much easier when I have a second person with me. If I do end up bringing an assistant, I do not up-charge my clients for that.
How many years have you been shooting weddings?
This seems like a no-brainer but it’s amazing how many people do NOT ask me this. Experience comes with time, and you should know how many years your photographer has been in this industry.
My answer: I got started in weddings in 2010, and went full-time in 2014.
Have you worked at our venue before?
I get asked this a lot, and sometimes the answer is yes; sometimes it’s no. If your photographer has not worked at your venue before, that’s really not a bad thing. It’s physically impossible for every photographer to have worked at every venue simply because there are so many! But if they’ve been there, you could ask what challenges they’ve had and how they’ve overcome them.
My answer: If I have not worked at a venue previously, I will arrive on the wedding day even earlier than usual to have time to walk around and plan out my shots. I usually do not go and scope it out ahead of time simply because of scheduling constraints. I think that at this point in my career, I have worked at enough challenging venues to prepare me for anything I encounter. I come prepared with lots of lighting and equipment to handle every possible scenario.
Can you share full galleries of past weddings you’ve shot?
If you ask this question and a photographer balks, that is a red flag. They should willingly be able to share full galleries with you. You should be able to look through the whole gallery to know exactly what a client received. Look at all the images, the changes in light and time of day, and make sure that you like how this photographer approached each part of the day. Many photographers are great at “natural light” portraits, but the sun will eventually set! They need to know how to use lighting for the later parts of the wedding day.
My answer: Heck yes you can see full galleries. In fact, when someone first reaches out to me for more information about my services, I reply with links to FIVE full galleries from different venues, different times of year, and varying levels of coverage (6/8 hours; with/without a second shooter).
What is your editing style?
Some popular style categories right now are “light/bright and airy”, “true-to-life”, and “dark and moody”. Light and airy tends to be overexposed, bright skies, sun flares and less contrast. True to life photographers try and preserve the actual colors and values they photographed. Dark and moody photographers tend to edit warm and with very deep blacks in the image. There’s NO wrong style of photography and editing, but as a client you need to decide which one you like best and make sure that your photographer aligns with that style.
My answer: I edit true-to-life! Your skin will not be orange. I try to preserve details in the sky whenever possible. I shoot so that you see details in the dark values (suits) and details in the light values (white gowns).
How do you approach dark venues/nighttime portraits?
This is something that I personally feel really differentiates seasoned pros from newer photographers. Shooting in great light is relatively simple, but when the sun sets or on very overcast days, you need to know how to integrate lighting. That lighting can either look natural or dramatic. Every photographer has a different style but I’d like to know as a client that my photographer is prepared to meet any lighting challenges with the right equipment. Ask for examples of portraits they had to light and make sure you love them.
My answer: I bring off-camera flash to all of my weddings. Off-camera simply means the flashes are on light stands and are controlled by a trigger on my camera. Instead of a direct deer-in-the-headlights look, the flash is multi-dimensional and adds depth to the image.
How will I get my photos from you after they’re finished?
Many photographer deliver finished galleries via online services such as Pixieset, Pic-Time, ShootProof, Cloudspot, and similar services. These are a great option, and the industry standard. Less standard would be something like DropBox or Google Drive. It’s very rare that photographers give a client a thumb drive these days.
My answer: I use Pic-Time to deliver galleries. I love that the images are full-resolution. I get an alert when a client accesses their gallery and downloads their images, so I know the client has them. I can follow up with a client if they have not downloaded the images. I also love that it has a connected store so clients can order prints directly through their gallery.
How long does it take to receive my gallery after the wedding?
The answer to this varies so much and honestly, I personally feel there’s not really a bad answer, as long as you are aware of what the wait will be, and the photographer sticks to that promised time. Editing time can range from 2-20 weeks. Just be informed and aware of how long you will need to wait. The editing time should be outlined in your contract.
My answer: My contract states that editing can take up to 6 weeks, however, I typically deliver galleries 2-3 weeks after the wedding day.
Does my photography package include an engagement session and/or rehearsal dinner coverage?
You should be crystal clear on what your package includes. Some photographers include extras like an engagement session and the rehearsal dinner coverage, and some up-charge for these. There’s no wrong answer here. Just be informed!
My answer: All of my wedding packages include an engagement session, but I do not include rehearsal dinner coverage. Clients can add rehearsal dinner coverage if they’d like to.