The 10 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer Before Booking by Los Angeles Wedding Photographer Brandi Potter
It’s engagement season which means you’re probably looking for vendors for your wedding right now! You may be searching for vendors or searching for what to ask your vendors before hiring them. Some of the larger wedding websites tell you to ask a bunch of empty questions that don’t mean anything in the grand scheme of thing. That’s why I want to give you a list of questions to actually ask your potential wedding photographer to help you decide who to pick.
1. Can we see several full galleries?
This is probably the most important one. You want to look at two or three full galleries to make sure the photographers style and vision align with your own. You also want to look for consistency in their portfolio so you aren’t surprised when you get your photos back. If you have a question about a certain photo or series, then don’t hesitate to ask.
2. How do you describe your working style?
This is also another really important question to ask. You need to make sure that the way they photograph a wedding, won’t interfere with your vision. Do you want someone to be more hands on and posey? Then you probably don’t want to hire someone that describes their shooting style as documentary. If you want someone that shoots more candidly without interfering then you should 100% go with someone that’s documentary.
3. When will we receive our photos?
There have been a large amount of clients seeking advice in photo message boards recently about this issue. Photographers SHOULD have a timeline in their contract, but it’s always smart to ask this question. You do not want six months to pass and still not know when you’re going to get your memories back. Asking this question will allow your photographer to go ahead and set the expectation with you and hold them accountable on delivery times.
4. Do you have backup equipment?
I have had several cameras fail at weddings. I’ve had a camera fail as I was prepping to leave for a wedding. It’s so important that who you hire can continue working your wedding without hesitation if their gear breaks down. Most photographers tend to have two camera bodies on them at all times, and some of us have more than that. You want to hire someone that’s prepared for all situations when it comes to their gear.
5. Will my photos be backed up in multiple places?
This is another huge problem in this industry. Photographers losing clients images and not having a backup solution available. My cameras have two card slots so I’m backing up to two cards as I shoot a wedding and then hold on to those cards until it’s delivered. I also backup to at least one external HD and online cloud storage if I’m on the road. Make sure that the photographers you’re interested in have a set workflow for this.
6. Are you comfortable shooting in all lighting situations?
The short answer to this question is a lot of photographers are not great at harsh light or low light. This is why it’s so important to look through several full galleries, and if you don’t see these lighting situations, ask to see them. Ask them how they personally handle different lighting situations and what they do to ensure that the photos are still beautiful even in less than perfect light.
7. Will you be photographing us as we are or will you put us into situations we aren’t comfortable in?
It’s so important that you get to know the photographer you hire. I normally like to ask my clients before their portraits if they’re cuddly with one another or what their love language is. That helps me decide the best way to photograph them without making them uncomfortable. If I have clients who say they aren’t cuddly or touchy feely then I will either have them run around playing games or do more editorial type posing. If I have clients who say they love to cuddle then I will shoot them a bit more intimately. I have seen SO MANY photos from photographers with clients who are clearly uncomfortable with the pose they’re in, and this is most likely the culprit.
8. How do you deliver our photos? Are we allowed to print and share them?
PLEASE ask this. Check that their aren’t any hidden fees to have access to your photos or that you don’t just get a certain amount with the option to pay for more. Make sure you know all of this and that it doesn’t become an issue upon delivery. You don’t want surprises when it comes to actually getting your photos back! Also ask if you’re allowed to print them on your own and share them on social media. Every photographer has a different way of doing things and different policies.
9. How much time do you need for wedding party, family formals, couples portraits, etc?
If you have a wedding planner they will probably email your photographer and ask this question to create the timeline. It will still be important for you to know how long the person you’re hiring needs to competently photograph each set of photos. I shoot fairly quickly, but I have friends who take three times as long as I do to set up shots and get things going. If you’re anxious about having your photo taken it will be good to know how long you have to be photographed so you can prepare.
10. Why are you a wedding photographer?
I think it’s so important to put your wedding photos into the hands of someone that really cares. These are the photos that will be passed down through the generations, make sure you put them in the hands of someone that’s invested in your story and memories.
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