December 18th, 2007
I meet with anywhere from 1-5 couples a week, and I often hear the same questions over and over. However, many couples are not sure what questions to ask a wedding photographer to determine if they are the right vendor for them, so to help you out, I have compiled a list of questions that I think every engaged couple should ask when they meet with a wedding photographer. I know lots of wedding magazines have compiled lists, but hopefully my perspective as a wedding photographer will give you a bit more insight into what you should be asking.
If you would like to know MY answers to these questions, then schedule a meeting with me and I will be happy to share! :) Most of these questions are intended to help you get to know your photographer, and have no right or wrong answer, but in a few cases I have added comments in italics about things that I believe are must-haves.
Will you be the person shooting my wedding? (This is important. Many photographers have studio managers who meet with clients. It is crucial that you meet the specific photographer who will be at your wedding BEFORE you book them.)
How long have you been in the business?
How did you get started?
Are you part time or full time?
Do you have any formal training?
How many camera bodies do you have? (Should be AT LEAST two)
How many lenses? (Again, at least two)
How many weddings have you shot total, and how many of those were you the lead photographer for?
How would you characterize your style of photography?
Do you own a studio?
Do you travel? What are your travel fees? (if applicable)
How many proofs should I expect to see from my wedding?
Do you offer discounts for specific professions (teachers, veterans, law enforcement, etc)? (if applicable)
Do you offer discounts for off-season, Friday, or Sunday weddings? (if applicable)
Are you willing to customize a package if none of yours fits our needs?
Do you provide the digital negatives in the package? If so, are they fully retouched? If not, are they available for an additional cost?
Do you include an album or an album credit in your packages? Can you show me a sample of an album similar to what I will get?
Do you shoot digital or film? If film, color or black and white?
How much retouching is included, and what will I have to pay extra for?
What type of insurance do you have? (They should have both equipment and malpractice (sometimes called Errors & Omissions) insurance)
Are you a member of any local or national photography associations? (Some of the larger ones are WPPI and PPA, but membership in these is not necessarily the sign of a good photographer)
Will the assistants and other photographers you hire to help shoot my wedding be people you have worked with before?
Will you be photographing another wedding or event the same day as my wedding? The same weekend?
What happens if you are sick and injured and cannot shoot our wedding?
What if we decide to change the date of the wedding?
If we decide to book you, what is the process? Can I take a copy of the contract home with me to read before I sign it?
Other things to do before booking a photographer:
-Contact their references. Call some of their recent clients and ask for their opinion of the photographer’s style and professionalism.
-Do your research! Check with the Better Business Bureau and Attorney General and make sure there are no pending complaints against them. If there are, be honest with the photographer and ask them to explain their side of the story.
-Ask to see the proofs or albums from 2-3 full weddings. This will give you a better idea of what you will get at your wedding.
-Get to know them on a personal level. Your photographer is going to be glued to your side almost the entire day of your wedding, and if your personalities clash, it could ruin your wedding day.
If you find this page useful, or if you have any suggestions for possible questions, please leave a comment and let me know!