What to Ask a Wedding Photographer?

What to Ask a Wedding Photographer

There’s no doubt about it—choosing a photographer for your wedding day can feel overwhelming. Our advice? Decide on your day-of photography style first, and then look for professional wedding photographers within your budget. Once you’ve narrowed down your list to two or three potential options, bring in these questions to ask wedding photographers and see if you feel comfortable around them.

We can’t stress enough how important this is—almost as crucial as their skills behind the camera. You’ll be spending your entire wedding day with this person, and if you’re at ease, you’ll not only enjoy yourself more, but they’ll also get better shots.

The key to finding wedding vendors you love? Interviewing them before you sign the contract. This is especially true with a photographer. You’ll be spending almost the entire day with the photographer you choose, so in addition to loving their style, having an in-person or phone interview is a great way to make sure you’ll be happy to have them around. Looking for a wedding photographer in Melbourne? Look no further. Vines of the Yarra Valley has compiled an ultimate list of wedding photo companies to help you choose.

Not sure where to start when it comes to interviewing your wedding photographer of choice? We’ve rounded up a list of questions to ask your photographer that will help you narrow down your options when it comes to everything you need to know.

Table of Contents

Availability

  • Is my wedding date available?
  • Will you be the one shooting my wedding? If not, can I meet the photographer who will be on-site?
  • How many other weddings will you photograph that weekend?
  • Will you have any assistants with you on our wedding day?
  • Some photographers always work with an assistant, while others determine if they need one based on your event’s size. If they do not always work with an assistant, adding an assistant or second photographer to your contract will most likely incur an additional fee.

Background Check

  • How long have you been shooting weddings? How many weddings have you photographed?
  • Do you often shoot weddings that have a similar size and style to the one we are planning?
  • Can we see the total galleries of a few of your recent weddings?
  • Have you ever shot a wedding at our ceremony and reception venues? If not, do you plan to check the media out in advance?
  • Have you ever worked with our planner? Videographer? Florist? DJ?

Style

What to Ask a Wedding Photographer

  • How would you describe your photography style? What would you compare your work to?
  • How would you describe your working style? Do you prefer to blend into the background to capture candid moments, or do you like to be more visible and take charge to choreograph images?
  • Do you shoot digitally? With film? Or both?

Pricing and Packages

  • What is included in your standard package? What add-ons do the more expensive packages include?
  • Can I customize a package to fit my needs?
  • Do you include engagement photos in your packages? What about pre-wedding events like rehearsal dinners?
  • How many hours are included in each package? How much do extra hours cost?
  • Do you offer a photo booth?
  • Do you offer retouching, colour adjustment, or other corrective services? Are those included or an additional charge?
  • Do you charge a travel fee? For what distance? What does that cover?

Most photographers have a radius outside of which they charge a travel fee. Over a certain distance, you may be required to pay for your photographer’s lodging, as well.

Prints and Albums

  • Can we order prints or albums directly from you?
  • What type of album do you offer? Do you provide assistance selecting images and designing the album?
  • Are albums or photos included in your packages? How many pages or prints are included, and what is the turnaround time?
  • How long after the wedding will we receive the images? How will they be delivered?
  • Will we have the rights to the photos?
  • Will we receive the negatives and high-resolution digital photos? Is there a fee for that?
  • Will the images be accessible online? For how long?

Logistics

  • When will we receive the contract?
  • How much of a deposit do you require? When is it due?
  • Do you accept payments in installations?
  • What is your refund or cancellation policy?
  • Do you have liability insurance? Does it cover your assistants, as well?
  • Do you carry backup equipment?
  • What is the backup plan if you are unable to shoot my wedding for an unexpected reason?
  • How will you and your assistants be dressed?
  • Can we request a list of specific shots we would like?
  • Will you be posting about our wedding on your website and social media? Will you be submitting our photos to magazines or blogs?

Essential Questions to Ask Wedding Photographers Before You Book

What Style(s) Do You Specialize In?

Why you want to know: This might be the most critical question to ask wedding photographers. Most shooters use a blend of several different photography styles, but you’ll want to make sure they shoot portraits, for example, if they’re essential to you. You wouldn’t ask Monet to paint you a Picasso. Going with the style, a photographer likes to shoot best (and has the most experience shooting) will give you the best results.

Will the Photos Are Retouched and Colour Balanced? Is That Done Before I See the Proofs?

Why you want to know: Some photographers will polish all your photos, while others will show you new proofs and work their magic only on the images you order.

How Many Weddings Have You Shot, and How Many Do You Do in a Year? Also, What’s Your Favourite Part of a Wedding Day and Time of Year to Hit?

Why you want to know: You only have one chance to get fantastic wedding photos, so you’ll want to hire someone who knows exactly how to get those shots under pressure (read: someone who shoots weddings for a living, not your old college roommate who takes pictures as a hobby). Be sure to check their websites or Instagram pages to see samples of their work too.

Do You Shoot Both Digital and Film?

Why you want to know: While digital is most common today, the film has had a resurgence. If you want the latter, be sure your photographer has the relevant experience and skills required to execute this old-school format. If you’re obsessed with the film’s dreamy quality, go with a pro in this medium. In addition to asking how many weddings they’ve shot in total (see above), let them know how many you want to be taken with the film.

If You Shoot a Film, Do You Usually Shoot in Both Colour and Black and White? If You’ll Do Both, What Percentage of Each Do You Recommend?

Why you want to know: These days, most shooters will do a mix of both colour and black and white. You’ll get a sense of their style and how your album might look by asking what balance they usually go with.

What Exactly Is Included in Your Packages?

Why you want to know: When comparing fees, check whether prints, albums and proofs, as well as extra coverage such as engagement shoots, are covered. They can all alter the costs significantly. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if, say, your album isn’t included—you can always make this on your own or buy it à la carte—but you want to be sure you’re comparing apples to apples to get the best value. If you’re having your shooter use film, also ask about film costs and processing fees. Check out our extensive list of Wedding Photographers in Melbourne to help capture your special moments.

How Many Hours of Coverage Do We Get? What Is the Charge for Overtime?

Why you want to know: If overtime is going to cost you a ton, you’ll be able to plan their hours accordingly. For instance, if you have six hours of coverage, but your photographer charges a substantial hourly rate for overtime, you might have them leave after you cut the cake instead of after the last dance. Or, you may opt for a more extended package to pay a little more upfront (and avoid the more significant hourly overtime rate later).

What Are the Deposit and Total Fee?

Why you want to know: In addition to this bottom-line number, you’ll also want to ask when it’s due.

Will You Be My Actual Photographer, or Will it Be One of Your Associates?

Why you want to know: Don’t assume Bruce of Bruce Photography will be taking your photos. That doesn’t mean Bruce’s partner Frank is subpar, but you’ll want to meet with him (and see his photos) to make an informed decision.

Do You Have Backup Photographers Who Will Shoot the Wedding If You’re Sick?

Why you want to know: If you’re going with a company that employs a team of photographers, you’ll have a built-in backup. But if you’re going with a solo shooter, ask if they have colleagues on call in case of an emergency.

Will there be a second shooter or any assistants? Is there an additional fee for each?

Why you want to know: Second shooters can cover more ground and give you two perspectives on significant moments (for instance, one can shoot the groom’s face when he first sees his bride, and the other can photograph the bride as she walks down the aisle). But this may cost you extra.

How Long After the Wedding Do We Get to See the Photos?

Why you want to know: You’ll want to see photos ASAP, and the wait can be pretty agonizing (it can take months!). But if you know in advance, you can manage your (and your mom’s) expectations.

How Will You Coordinate With My Videographer? How Do You Envision Working Together?

Why you want to know: This pair will need to coordinate and stay out of each other’s way— easier to do if they have a good rapport. If you haven’t hired a videographer yet, ask them for a suggestion.

How Many Weddings Do You Do at the Weekend?

Why you want to know: If your photographer is shooting an afternoon wedding before yours, you’ll need to work out a plan if the first event runs over.

Have You Ever Shot at My Venue(s) Before?

Why you want to know: Your shooter should be aware of any lighting needs or issues specific to space. If they haven’t ever worked in your venue, they should be willing to check it out beforehand.

Will You Follow a Shot List? or Do You Prefer to Have Free Reign to Capture the Festivities How You See Fit?

Why you want to know: Most photographers will welcome a (short) shot list to make sure you get the specific pics you want. But don’t overwhelm them with hundreds of requests—if you hire a good pro, you’re hiring them for their eye as well as their experience creating excellent albums, so let them do their job.

If You Provide Print Albums, What Type of Paper Will You Use?

Why you want to know: The answer should be acid-free, archival-quality paper, which will stand the test of time.

What Are the Restrictions for Sharing Photos Online or for Publication? Do You Own the Copyright to the Images?

Why you want to know: If you’re a Facebook and Instagram addict, not being allowed to share some of your wedding photos online may be torture—better to know about this ahead of time.

Do You Bring Your Lighting?

Why you want to know: Not only will you want to determine if you’ll need to supply additional lighting (either hiring a lighting designer or having the venue provide it), but you’ll want to be sure the equipment they bring won’t be too bulky or obtrusive.

What Will You Wear?

Why you want to know: Discussing their wedding day wardrobe will allow your photographer to plan to match the style of your wedding. Most will be happy to blend into the scenery (for instance, wearing black for an evening loft event or lighter hues for a daytime garden party).

Can We See a Full Wedding Gallery?

We’d honestly consider this the most important question you could ask, as once you see the complete gallery, you’ll know exactly what to expect for your photos and if they’re a good fit for you! For example, if candid moments are a priority for you, make sure you hire a photographer whose galleries show tons of images of laughter, happy tears, and fun moments from the wedding day.

Many photographers whose Instagram accounts are perfectly curated have very lacklustre total wedding galleries. If you do not ask to see full albums ahead of time, you could end up very disappointed with your photos.

Do You Shoot Film, Digital or a Mix of Both, and How Will You Approach My Wedding? 

What to Ask a Wedding Photographer

Lauren of Lauren Fair Photography says, “We love when our couples recognize that we’re film + hybrid photographers and connect with our look + style specifically! It’s wonderful for couples to know in which scenarios your photographer will shoot film vs. digital! Some film photographers only capture black + white film during later portions of receptions. In contrast, some supplement with colour film and digital images, so it’s helpful to know your photographer’s approach so you can fully trust in their artistic vision!”

Can You Describe Your Posing Process?

Rather than asking about their posing style, which you could see for yourself on their website, ask what their posing process is like. This open-ended question will help you understand how much posing and direction they give and whether or not it sounds like a good fit for you. If they indicate that they leave a lot of the legwork up to the couple, but you know you prefer a lot of guidance, then move on to a photographer who says they give tons of direction.

Do You Offer Albums?

Suppose you love the feeling of tangible images in your hands and cannot wait to have a gorgeous photo album filled with your wedding photos. In that case, you’d be surprised to learn that not every photographer offers albums, so if they’re essential to you, then make sure to ask photographers if they provide albums. If so, you can request to see a sample album and cover material options. That way, you know precisely what style of album you could expect to receive for your wedding!

What Vendors Do You Recommend?

Planners aren’t the only vendors who can share great recommendations for you to hire. Photographers spend hours looking at photos, and that’s where they see how good someone’s work is. Photographers notice these little details and will be able to give you excellent recommendations for vendors whose work photographs beautifully. Hence, it’s worth getting their two cents even if you already have a planner!

How Can We Help You?

As a true believer in clients collaborating with their photographer, you can ask your photographer how you can help them create beautiful imagery throughout your wedding day. For example, having space with beautiful light and neutral coloured walls for your getting ready photos makes for stunning images. Your photographer will go above and beyond to get the particular shot of mom helping you into the dress without distracting background objects. Having a clean open space with abundant natural light will save your photographer from spending time to arrange the shot (moving furniture, moving distracting objects, etc.) and give them more time to focus on capturing special moments of you and your loved ones. Putting on the dress marks such a critical moment during your wedding day, and as photographers, we want to make sure it is captured in the best way possible.

What Would You Like to Know About Us?

You don’t necessarily have to ask this question if the photographer has already asked a lot about the two of you, but it’s something to keep in mind. Doing so shows that they care about who you are and want to form a great relationship.

It’s essential that your photographer is just as interested in you as you are in them so that your personalities mesh well and you feel comfortable with them on the wedding day. You’ll be spending eight or more hours with them on the wedding day, and having a great connection will make it so much more comfortable! Here at Vines of the Yarra Valley we have compiled an exclusive list of Melbourne Wedding Photographers to help capture your special day.

How Do We Book You?

This might seem simple, but knowing what it takes to secure a photographer for your date is essential. Especially if you love them, you’ll want to book them before another couple snatches away the date. At the end of your phone call, ask what they need from you (i.e. signed contract and retainer) to complete the booking process.

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