It’s important to know your wedding day vendors, and even more important for them to be transparent with you while you’re getting to know them. I will say though – there are helpful questions you can ask, and then there are questions that have nothing to do with the photographer’s skillset, experience, personality, etc. Knowing what to ask is really the hardest part, but that’s why they pay us the big bucks. Here are 15 actually useful questions to ask your wedding photographer & the reasons why you should ask them, plus 5 questions to avoid.
1) What is your photography style?
There are *so many* different wedding photographers, especially in the tri-state area. Photography styles can range from dark and moody, to photojournalistic and edgy, to light and airy. If you are searching for a specific look, be sure the photographer you choose fits that style! Personally, our style represents photojournalism and editorial. If you want a timeless quality to your wedding photos, look no further. Trends like “light and airy” or “dark and moody” may have their time in the sun, but we pride ourselves on capturing authentic moments with true-to-life colors. AKA, no orange/washed out skin tones or yellow/blue grass.
2) Do you offer engagement sessions?
I’d be shocked if a photographer turned down an engagement session – they’re perfect for getting to know each other, getting comfortable in front of the camera, and being familiar with the general workflow of photography. Some packages will include engagement sessions, so depending on which one you’re interested in, they will be complimentary. However, every photographer should be okay with offering it a la carte.
3) Are you available for my wedding date of xx/yy/zz?
Make sure they let you know if someone else has inquired for your date. You may need to base your decision-making timeline on this!
4) What services do you offer?
Every wedding photographer has different packages they offer. Some may include prints, others may have complimentary engagement sessions, etc. And if you’re new to the searching-for-a-wedding-photographer process, you may need some intel on what you’re able to choose from. Engagement shoots, prints, albums, USBs, RAW images, video, overtime – these are all things that may or may not be offered by your photographer. Getting a list of all of the products will help you narrow down what you 100% need and what you can do without – then from there, you can determine a budget and discuss rates.
5) How long have you been photographing weddings? How many have you done?
Wedding photographers have seen it all throughout the years, and every wedding brings new, unique challenges. Hiring an experienced photographer ensures that you will get all the photos you need. We’ll also make sure you’re on schedule throughout the day.
6) When will we receive our wedding photos?
Every photographer’s schedule varies, but it’s good to have a rough estimate of when you’ll be able to view your images. Some photographers will provide sneak peaks, some will deliver your gallery in a week, some will take several months. Either way, it’s good info to know. 99.9% of the time, we deliver sneak peeks within 12-24 hours, with your full gallery ready in 3 weeks. The other .01%, it takes an extra few days.
7) Do you work with/recommend a 2nd shooter?
It is always encouraged to have a second set of eyes there on your wedding day, but this is also a good way to determine who will actually be there to photograph it. If it’s a larger studio, it’s best to get your shooter’s info early so you can talk & get to know each other. If it’s a smaller studio (like us!), it’s best to find out all of your shooters will be available for your wedding date (especially if they take on multiple weddings per weekend).
8) Do you have insurance?
I always recommend asking this question as some venues require a certificate of insurance (COI). We have full insurance to cover venue liability and all of our equipment.
9) Do you charge a travel fee?
Chances are you will be hiring a local photographer for your wedding and this question is unnecessary. However, if your wedding is more than 1.5 hours away, it is likely your photographer will need overnight accommodations. For the times that we travel for weddings, we do our best to be super transparent about what all the costs are.
10) Is there a deposit? What about installment payments?
Deposits due upon receipt of contracts are a pretty common practice – the average is $1000. Your photographer should be honest & upfront with you about what you’re paying and when. The initial deposit locks in your wedding date on their calendar and ensures you will have photography coverage.
11) We’re new at this – what do you recommend for coverage?
This opens the door for more communication with your photographer. From this, we can talk about budget, which elements of your day are most essential to be captured, if a 2nd photographer is a necessity, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – that’s why we’re here!
12) Do you offer video?
Speaking for ourselves, we happily provide both. If your photographer isn’t a one-stop-shop, that’s helpful to know ahead of time, since you may want to continue/widen your search.
13) Is there a shot list? How will you get everything we need?
Photographers work with sort of formula. We know there’s a time & place for each shot, and we’ll know when to click the shutter during important moments. However! If you have a particular set of images – first look portraits, bridal party portraits, family portraits, candids, etc – that are most important to you, tell your photographer. From there, we’ll take care of it, but don’t be afraid to give us your priorities. We always send a pre-wedding questionnaire, too. You’ll be able to give us names of family and friends for your formal photos, and any other shots you want.
14) Have you shot at our venue before?
This is a good question to ask as some venues have *lots* of different rooms and spaces for weddings. If there is a particular venue we have not photographed at yet, we make it a priority to do a site visit before your wedding. To see some venues we’ve shot at in the past, check out THIS BLOG POST.
15) Can we see full wedding galleries or albums?
Photographers showcase their best work, just like everyone else running a creative business, but you need to feel confident that your photographer is capable of capturing your entire day, from pre-prep to pre-inevitable hangover. Seeing a full gallery lets you see how the photographer handles every part of the day. CLICK HERE if you want to see one of our full galleries.
We're Sava, a small studio of photographers who bonded over our similar educational background, love of art, & general affinity for timeless wedding photos. Based in NYC, will travel, will pick up your coffee order on the way.
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