Are you starting your search for a wedding photographer? Are you not sure what to ask them when you meet? How do you know if the person you are hiring is a professional? I've created a list of top questions to ask your wedding photographer that will help you determine if they are the right fit for you, as well as confirm that they are a wedding professional.
*Please note that these questions are coming from a wedding photography professional who has been photographing weddings and once-in-a-lifetime events for over eight years. Anya Kubilus prides herself on being professional and honest with her clients. These are questions that I have personally been asked and are what I think to be important when choosing your wedding photographer.
Q: How long have you been photographing weddings?
I don't think how long someone has been photographing weddings is a huge red flag. If someone has been photographing weddings for only one year but has a portfolio that is consistent and can handle different lighting scenarios, that's a good sign. Ideally, you'll want a wedding photographer that has a consistent portfolio and editing style and has photographed enough weddings to understand the timeline of wedding days, can manage family photos, and makes you feel comfortable.
Q: What’s your favorite part about shooting weddings?
It's always good to know what the photographer looks forward to the most on a wedding day. I personally love the first look and the walk back down the aisle after each couple is pronounced married. It's an incredible moment to be a part of and capture. If your photographer says they don't like ANY part of the wedding day, that's obviously a red flag and they are probably in the wrong industry.
Q: Do you have any full wedding galleries we can see?
You've likely seen your photographer's online portfolio and their instagram already--these are the highlights. You want to make sure that your photographer is capable of handling an entire wedding day with a variety of lighting scenarios and is consistent with their editing. Seeing a few galleries of finished work is always a great idea.
Q: What is your Covid-19 policy if we have to reschedule?
I get it, we're a few years past 2020, but COVID-19 is still very real. If you need to move your wedding date, find out what your wedding photographer's reschedule policy is. This could also apply to your photographer contracting COVID-19, the flu, food poisoning, etc. Sh*t happens. Life is life. Your photographer should have a backup plan in place for if they need someone to cover your wedding.
Q: Are you vaccinated against COVID-19? Do you take any precautions to avoid getting sick?
This question will obviously be controversial to some, however I think it's important to find out how your photographer handles preparing for their booked events. I personally wear a mask at every wedding I photograph because I don't want to miss any weddings I book.
Q: Emergencies happen. What if you can't make our wedding?
We've all been there. You wake up feeling sick, your childcare cancels, your car won't start, etc. Making sure your photographer has a backup plan is so important. Find out what their policies are.
Q: How would you describe your shooting style?
Understanding your photographer's shooting style will help with preparing for having your photo taken. Is your photographer more documentary in nature or do they act more like paparazzi? For example, I am a very laid back photographer with an emphasis on taking control when I need to (i.e., for family photos, portraits, keeping everyone on time). I will not be "in your face" all day, nor will I create moments. I like to let moments happen genuinely in real time as I feel it best represents your wedding day.
Q: What happens if our wedding runs over and you have to stay an extra 30 minutes?
Every single wedding day has something come up and puts the day behind. Find out what your photographer's policy is on staying a little late to capture more dancing, speeches, or candids. Most of the time, they will charge you after your event to stay an additional hour or so.
Q: Do you have backup equipment? Cameras, lenses, etc?
Backup equipment is essential in the events business. If a camera stops working as you are walking down the aisle, your photographer should have another camera at their side to continue photographing as if there were no issues.
Q: Do you have business insurance? This may be required for your venue.
Once you book your venue, be sure to ask them if it's required for your vendors to have insurance. This is a common policy for most wedding venues and they may need your photographer to add the venue to their insurance for one day. It's also important to make sure your photographer is covered for any accidents that may happen at your engagement session or wedding day.
Q: How do you hand situations with not a ton of light?
Some photographers use multiple lights to achieve a well-lit look to their reception photographs. Newer photographers may not be well versed in darker venues and have flash knowledge. While it's not required to know everything about flash photography, it can help if you're in a situation with limited light available.
Q: What is your backup system like?
In today's age of cloud backup, there's no excuse to only have one copy of the images after a wedding day. Your photographer should be backing up your photos in at least 2 places (via the cloud and hard drive). I personally back up to the cloud, 2 hard drives, and I do not delete any photos from the SD cards I photographed on until after I'v emailed you your online gallery.
Q: Do you shoot with dual cards?
Dual card cameras are essential for any wedding photographer. What dual card cameras do is record images being captured to two separate cards immediately. This means if a card corrupts, you already have a backup of all of your images on another card.
Q: How many images should we expect in our final gallery?
Some photographers only deliver a few hundred photos in your gallery and others will deliver over a thousand photos. I typically deliver 50-100 photos per hour, but I do not limit myself to a specific number. If it's a moment that helps tell the story of your day, you will see that photo in your gallery.
Q: How long will it take to get our photos? How do you deliver our photos? Do we get a download of high resolution images?
Most photographers will tell you how long their editing process takes on their website or on your intro call. Make sure that this is also in your wedding photography contract with your photographer. For example, my contract states 60 days, which is 8 weeks. I typically tend to deliver at around the 4 week mark.
Q: How much is our retainer?
Almost all photographers will require a retainer to hold your wedding date on their calendar. My retainers are 30% of the total package cost and covers your date, helping you with planning and timeline creation, and includes your engagement session.
Q: What is our payment schedule?
It is industry standard in wedding photography to pay a retainer to hold your date with the final amount due before your wedding day. Some photographers will create a custom payment schedule to fit you - be sure to ask!
Q: How do you handle family photos?
Some photographers are very quiet and prefer to capture your day in a photo-journalistic way. It's super important for your photographer to also be able to take charge and direct people when it comes to wedding party and family portraits. They will need to call out who is in each photo grouping as well as arrange people in an eye-pleasing way. Make sure your photographer is aware of this and can handle the pressure.
Q: Have you shot at our venue before?
This is a common question that I find on a variety of blogs regarding wedding photographers. As nice as it is to see a venue before a wedding day, it honestly isn't make-or-break. Most of the wedding venues I photograph at are new to me, which is great! It allows for creative freedom and a chance to make beautiful photos in a new space. It also ensures I'll show up early to scope the place out 😉
Q: How much time do you need for portraits?
Some photographers require a specific time for each portion of the day. As great as it is to have lots of time for photos, it can also be draining if you're not used to being photographed all day. I ask for 1 hour of portraits for each of my couples and their wedding party. More is better, but not always needed. I'd rather you spend that time enjoying your wedding with your guests!
Q: Do you help with timeline creation?
The biggest thing that wedding photographers should help with is your timeline. Each photographer works differently and may need more time to set up lights and get prepared for each portion of the day. I'd recommend making sure your photographer will help build a custom photography-based timeline for you.
I hope this blog post on top questions to ask your wedding photographer was helpful! Knowing that you are hiring a professional will put your worries at ease and allow you to relax and understand you're in great hands.
Are you interested in working together? Contact me today!
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