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Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Image by the incredible Jim Pollard

When it comes time to choose your photographer, you're undoubtedly going to forget to ask a question or two at the meet and greet and so to help make it a little easier, we've compiled a list of 11 questions for you to ask your potential photographers.

To whet your photographic appetite, we wanted to include this incredible image by Jim Pollard Goes Click because apart from the fact that it's amazing, we're a little bit in love (okay, completely infatuated) with his incredible photography. (His website homepage is also hilarious and wonderfully done so after you read this, go there....go on....)

Remember to make sure you're comfortable with everything in the contract before you sign, that includes ensuring that the contract includes things like: Company name and contact details, date and hours booked for, fee and additional costs like albums or prints.

Questions to ask: 

“A wedding is full of emotions and beautiful moments and it’s the perfect place to create meaningful photographs.” – Elizabeth Messina, wedding photographer.

Do you have photos of entire weddings I can see?

Request to see the images from a few complete weddings instead of just a sampling of several events, This way, you can better judge the photographer's work and see how he/she photographs the entire spectrum of a wedding. If possible, try to see a proof book: a collection of raw prints before they were retouched.

Do you have references I can call?

Ask to speak with two or three former Brides. Ask them: “Was the photographer on time? How was he or she dressed? Was he or she professional to work with throughout the entire process? Did the guests have any comments?”

What happens if you show up late or can't make it to the wedding?

The photographer should let you know his or her back-up plan in case of an emergency.

Do you post the proofs online or will I receive negatives?

If your photographer shoots on film, you will receive traditional negatives. If he or she shoots digitally, the proofs should be posted online. Digital proofs posted on the photographer's website or on another specific site are usually available sooner than negatives and they allow you to share your photos with family and friends soon after the wedding. Be sure to ask how long the pictures will remain online and if they can be password protected for privacy to be exclusively accessed by the wedding guests.

Who will be photographing my wedding?

If your photographer works for a large studio, he or she may be one of several other photographers working for the company. Since every photographer has his or her own style, technique and personality it's important that the person you interview and like, will be the one doing the picture taking. Some studios don’t know who will be shooting a wedding until the very day of the event. If the studio cannot guarantee you, your first or second choice of photographers, consider moving on. You don’t want to risk ending up with a photographer you won't be happy with.

When will my proofs, prints and wedding album be available?

Find out your photographer's turn around time and how long you have to order your prints and album. (Or from an external supplier if you have chosen to order your album somewhere other than from your photographer’s studio.)

How many pictures will you take?

A photographer usually shoots about 500- 1000 exposures at an average wedding but how many of those images will you have to choose from? Some photographers charge per roll of film, so find out the price as well.

Do you have liability insurance?

All your vendors should be covered by their insurance in case anything goes wrong. For example, if a guest trips over the photographer's equipment and gets hurt, you could be liable since you hired that person. The photographer's insurance should take care of the incident. Some venues will insist that all of your professionals be insured. Find out well before the wedding date if this is required by the venue.

What type of cameras do you use and will you have any backups in case something breaks or doesn't work?

If you want the best pictures hire someone who uses the latest top-quality equipment. A true professional will arrive at the wedding prepared with more than one camera and lens.

How many years have you been photographing weddings?

What you want to know, is whether weddings are the person's specialty and if he or she enjoys photographing them. The photographer's enthusiasm will translate into sharper images.

What do you charge for overtime?

Make sure the contract specifies the amount of time the photographer will be on the job and how much it would cost to keep him around if the celebration run longer than scheduled.