As you hunt for your wedding photographer, you will find several sites offering you “questions to ask” when it comes to your meetings. They serve as great guidelines but what you really want to focus on is how well you gel. If you get along with your creative pro, you will result in LOADS better results every time. They will enjoy themselves more and you will end up much happier.
So, I compiled a list of not-so-obvious questions to ask your wedding photographer. Enjoy!
Daniel Moyer doing his thing.
When it comes to finding the right wedding photographer, I recommend asking the standard questions as well as the following…
1. Will you be our photographer on our wedding day?
Some companies offer several different photographers that they can send out on a wedding day. I can not stress enough how important it is to have a good vibe with your wedding photographer PRIOR to your wedding day. If you’re not meeting with them initially, be sure to schedule time for that.
2. What will you wear on our wedding day?
This is important for several reasons. First, do you like their personal style? If they say they will wear cargo pants and t-shirt, does that work for you? It might, but it may not be ideal if you’re hosting a black-tie event. The more you ask, the less “unexpected” happenings can occur on the wedding day.
From the comments: NEPA photographer Bryan Shattuck of Icarus Image says “While this is important, don’t let this be anywhere near the front-runner of questions that decides your photographer for you. What your photographer wears doesn’t have much to do with how well they do their job or even how professionally they behave on a wedding day. My worst horror stories are related to how people act and what they do rather than them being under-dressed. Still, a valid question to ask if you have a strict dress-code or costume themed wedding.”
3. Do you have an assistant and/or second shooter?
First of all, there is a difference between an assistant and a second shooter. Typically, an assistant is there to assist the wedding photographer. They will help carry equipment, prep for portraits, etc. A second shooter will be a second photographer who will often be positioned at another angle to get the most from your photos. I’m a big fan of having second shooters. When possible, it’s great for the second shooter to get shots of the gents getting ready while the main photographer is getting the gals. You may have more angles of your first kiss, first look, first dance, etc. Plus, if something should happen to your main photographer, you’re not completely out of luck which brings me to…
From the comments: Another NEPA photographer Jeff Dietz adds to this point: “Ask them who the second photographer is or their process of how they select this photographer to work with. Are they full time on staff, or is it someone they just find two weeks before your wedding? It’s important that it is a not just a warm body with a second camera, but also someone that knows what they are doing at near the same level as the main photographer, or they are more just in the way then they are a help. Also expect that this could be and reasonably might be an add on cost. Think about that second photographer being paid. If they are ‘included’ at no extra cost, it may speak to their experience level or talent level.”
4. What happens if you become ill on our wedding day?
Life happens and unfortunately there are things that can happen that are outside of our control. A professional will almost always have a back up plan in the case of an illness or emergency.
5. How long after the wedding will we have to wait to see any photos?
In today’s world, many photographers do early sneak peeks that they post to Facebook or Instagram. This is a GREAT way to get a glimpse into the goodness (hopefully) that will follow. But it’s best to know beforehand approximately how long you can expect to wait before seeing the bulk of your photos. It may be 7 days, 7 weeks, 7 months; some photographers don’t show any photos until ONE YEAR after the wedding day. Personally, it’s not my preference but it’s something you want to be aware of before you book them.
6. Do you have any backup equipment?
Some sites will tell you to ask what TYPE of equipment they are using, but unless you know the difference between brands, the answer to that question won’t mean anything to you. What you do need to know is that they have a plan should something malfunction with their camera of choice (IT DOES HAPPEN).
7. What is your attitude normally like on a wedding day?
To me, this is HUGE. Do you want your wedding photographer to be negative, sour and complaining on your wedding day? Or do you want them to be excited, energetic and courteous to your family? They may not give you a straight answer, but this is a question they may not expect and I recommend seeing just how they answer. Does it seem sincere?
From the comments: Philly wedding photographer Daniel Moyer adds “Your photographer will spend most, if not all, of your day with you. They will be there through the quietness of private moments while a bride is getting ready to the grandness of the public moments like a couple’s first kiss and throughout their reception. So, couples should always seek a photograph whose photos they like, but then should be is this going to be a person I feel COMFORTABLE spending my entire day with and attitude will be a contributing factor. Comfort is of utmost importance on a wedding day. If the photographer has a bad attitude, no one will be happy during the day and it will come through in all your photographs.”
8. How many weddings/events do you photograph in one weekend?
A wedding photographer’s job is very laborious. It is physically demanding and not for the faint of heart. It’s important to know how busy they’ll be on your wedding weekend.
9. Do you allow other people (guests) to take photos while you are?
This is most common during family portraits. Some family members may want to take photos “over the photographers shoulder”. Some photographers don’t mind, but others will not allow it. Whichever your case, be sure you know in advance so “Uncle Bob” doesn’t get offended.
10. Is there any additional equipment that you set up during a wedding?
Some photographers shoot with large flashes, umbrellas, etc. that will be setup around your ceremony/reception room. Others do not, but if they do, you’ll want to be aware of it so it doesn’t conflict with any decor decisions.
11. Do you have any meal requirements on the wedding day?
This should be in the photographer’s contract, but be sure to ask if they have any special food concerns. Most photographers will now request (or even require) a HOT meal at the reception. Others will just request time to eat. Know in advance so you can tell your caterer/venue.
Keep in mind, there are no “right” or “wrong” answers to any of these questions necessarily. BUT you should be in agreement with their answers. If not, there is nothing wrong with finding a photographer who does match your style and needs. Once again, it is extremely important that you gel with the person taking your photos all day. They will be your paparazzi’s for the day and you need to at least think they are a little bit cool.
From the comments: Anni of Anni Cee Photography also mentions a great point: “something that I think is important to note – spend a lot of time looking through your photographer’s wedding work (many of us will share full wedding galleries) and don’t assume that you’ll get something radically different from what you see. Each photographer has such a unique style, and too often I see couples choosing based on the best package/price even though they don’t love the style and/or personality of the photographer.”
Another great photographer, Abby Grace says “Another question I may add would be ‘How do you decide which couples you work with?’ Because as much as brides and grooms are interviewing me, I’m also interviewing them because I want them to have the PERFECT photography experience. If that’s not me for them, I don’t feel right booking their wedding.”
Finally, Daniel Moyer also suggested another great question to ask: “A question that might offer additional insight would be to ask what is their motivation during a wedding day. That is a question I ask myself, and have boiled it down to I just want to capture beautiful pictures for my couples and make them happy. That’s it!”
For the record, I LOVE these additional questions and so appreciate them coming from photographers that I admire so much.