What to ask when choosing a Wedding Photographer?

Now I am not a wedding photographer, but I have worked in the industry for some time. I run into these questions on a regular bases. For most couples this is their first time planning a wedding and boy, have things changed since their parents got hitched. These are just a few questions you might want to consider when sitting down with a possible photographer for your BIG DAY.

What is your style of photography?

Traditional, Photojournalistic, Artistic…

Have you ever shot at my venue?

Although this is important, it is not necessary. All photographers should be well verse with different lighting and locations. Also, they should come equip with the proper lighting equipment. In the event that they haven’t shot there, ask your venue for location ideas throughout the grounds. This is really helpful to the photography team.

How many hours of coverage will be provided and is it consecutive?

Majority of photographer provided consecutive time only. For example if you have 8 hours with the photographer, if they start at 12:00 pm they will depart at 8:00pm

That seems like a lot of coverage, right? Well what if your ceremony ends at 2:00pm and the reception is not until 6:00pm. This is where consecutive time can be an issue. Make sure to touch base about this.

If I wanted to add more time, how much would it cost? Also, is there a cap to how many hours you will shoot?

This varies from photographer to photographer when it comes to pricing. Make sure to ask just in case things get delayed on the big day and you want them to stay a bit longer. Most photographers will not work over 12 hours. If you are having a standard American wedding this is more than enough time to capture your day.

Do I need a second shooter?

Not a necessity, but very helpful. It is always great to have a second shooter to get that other angle. Also, in the event that an image didn’t come out just right,  there might be some hope with that second shooter.

Can I provide you with a Shot List?

Most photographers work off a standard list of shots to be taken. That said, every wedding day is different and because your photographer has only known you for a short time, they might not know how important Great-Aunt Sue is to you. It’s always a good idea to provide your photographer with a list of shots you want.

What is the turn around time for wedding images and will I receive all the photos?

This is case by case depending on photographer and/or company. Standard turn around can be anywhere from 4 to10 weeks. If you are worried about getting Thank You’s out, ask if you will receive a mini preview that includes a handful of edited images, prior to the full release.

Most likely, you will not receive 100% of your photos. Keep in mind your photographer might have taken thousands! Within those thousands there are test shot, misfires, weird faces, bad hair, you name it. Truest me, you don’t want to see any of those.

What is your editing style?

Many photographers will do general editing, color correction, white balance, red eye correction, etc. Along with this, they will most likely do a certain quantity of images with extensive editing, such as blemish removal, hair placement or even removing things from the background, as well as some artistic editing. That said, they may not do extensive editing to all your images, but possible a good portion.

How will I receive my images?

Most talent will provide images online, where you can view and download. Others, will send you a flash drive of the images. Downloading images are a bit safer and quicker, which is a plus. That said, make sure that all the images still download at a high resolution, without watermarks.

Do I have the rights to the wedding images?

Most likely you will only hold the printing rights to your images. Your photographer should provide you with a Photo Release Form. If this is not provided to you, your photographer may ask that you purchase the rights to individual images.

Will you use my images for advertising?

They most likely will. Remember they own the rights to all your image and are trying to make a living. If you are concerned about privacy, ask if a non-publication clause can be put in the contract, prior to signing.

In the event of an emergency and you are not able to shoot the wedding, what is the back up plan?

Every photographer should have a Plan B, just in case. The Show Must Go On!

What is the deposit and when is the final balance due?

The deposit being 50% of the contract is the most common. Most photographers will request the final payment the week of or the day of the wedding.

What is the cancelation policy?

Although we never want to think about postponing or cancelling our wedding, it is important to know what you are signing up for. Every photographer and company is different when it comes to cancelling services. Make sure to get as much information as possible prior to signing.


A few Quick Tips:

-If you see a portfolio from a photographer and all the images are outside, ask to see some inside shots. Regardless they are going to show you their best work, but you want to make sure that your photographer can shoot anywhere, anytime.

-Prepare for weather! Your wedding day is just that day, so be ready. Your photographer should be equipped to shoot in poor weather conditions. That said, they are not going to bring umbrellas for you and the bridal party. Have some at the ready.

-If you want to hit a few locations on the wedding day with the bridal party for photo ops, make sure to mention this. Some photographers have a limit of how many locations they will go to or you might be hit with travel fees.

– If you chose to a few photo op spots, they may require an appointment or permit. Touch base with your photographer in regards to this. They should be able to give you a bit of guidance. Note, you will most likely have to pay any additional permit fee and/or make any appointments, as needed. This will not be included within your photography package price.

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