Hands down, you will want to hire a wedding photographer that has a natural ability to capture moments. However, it is also just as important to hire a wedding photographer who is experienced, personable and flexible. In addition to standard questions about availability, pricing and hours, we encourage you to dig deeper with the following 10 questions.
1. Have you ever shot an event at my venue?
If your photographer hasn’t shot at your venue before, ask if they are willing to do a site visit. For example, lighting will be different from the bridal suite to the chapel to the ballroom. In addition, some venues have reflective surfaces like windows, mirrors and even water features that photographers will want to know about in advance.
2. How would you describe your photography style?
You do not have to know everything about photography! However, there are a few simple styles you may want to read up on.
- Do you prefer digital, film, or both? Do a little research to see how you feel about either camera type.
- Consider full color versus black and white and communicate your preference to your photographer.
- A trending style is sun flare. Some find it distracting, while others love the romantic vibe.
- Do you prefer lots and lots of candid pictures, or would you rather see more posed shots? Some photographers are known for their more candid captures while others pride themselves on creating beautiful balance.
- Lastly, ask to see samples that showcase a variety of environments, like the ceremony, cocktail hour and the reception. You’ll want to get a full picture of what they can do!
3. Are you willing to make style adjustments based on our personal preferences?
It is important to do a little research and hire a photographer that suits your style. For example, there’s quite a difference between art deco and natural light photography. Keep in mind that photographers are both artists and business-owners. Some are committed to their creative vision and style, whereas others are more willing to adjust based on client preference. If you are 100-percent sure of your desired photography style, you may not need to ask this question! But if you want a photographer who is going to be more flexible or fluid on style, this is a valid question to ask.
4. How do you like to schedule a wedding day?
This goes back to the subject of flexibility, both from the photographer and client. It’s so helpful to hire a wedding photographer who is supportive of your desired timeline and eager to help you! Ask your photographer for examples of weddings like yours with a successful timeline. Be open to options and adjustments! Often we hear of couples and families who are on the fence about a “First Look” but end up loving that moment AND how easily it makes the rest of the day flow.
5. What is your role versus the role of secondary shooters?
Ask for the photographer to clarify where and how often the secondary shooter will be used. If you have a long shot list and a lot of family combinations to get through, it will be beneficial to ask if the secondary shooter can take care of some of those core shots. Some photographers prefer to be the primary shooter for all core shots, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if they are willing to empower their secondary shooter in the interest of time.
6. Will you call out the shot list, or do you require a shot list assistant?
Not everyone thinks to ask this question! Some photographers require that you either hire an assistant or assign a family member to call out your shot list. It’s important to clarify who will be doing this on the wedding day.
7. Do you have a backup memory card on your digital camera? Is your equipment insured?
Two simple questions that will bring you peace of mind. Most digital cameras these days have backup memory cards. It is probably slightly less common for equipment to be insured. But if we were a photographer, we’d want that expensive equipment to be covered in the event of theft or damage!
8. Will you be the one photographing my wedding? If you get sick, who is your backup?
It is always a good idea to clarify that the person you are meeting with will be the person who is shooting your wedding. One of the benefits of hiring a photography agency is that they generally have other local photographers on call. On the other hand, if you hire an experienced small-business owner, they typically have many industry friends who will back them up.
9. How and when will I receive my images?
After the wedding, one of the first things most brides and grooms want to see are their pictures! It is common to take four to eight weeks, sometimes even 12 to deliver your images. If you’d really like to be able to have one or two images to use for Thank You notes or social media in the days following the wedding, ask your photographer if they’d be willing to expedite just one or two shots so that you can have a little instant gratification!
10. What is your favorite part of the wedding day to shoot?
You want a photographer who is passionate about what they do. There is no wrong answer to this question, but it will help give you insight into who they are and why they love what they do!
Good news! When you work with Look West Events, we will provide you with lists of key questions to ask your vendors before every meeting to make sure you leave no stone uncovered.