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Questions You Should Ask Your Photographer


          Your wedding photos are treasures. You will keep them for decades after you get married, so you know you want a photographer who will create the kind of images that you will value. But more than that, it needs to be someone you’re comfortable with and who you trust can handle the day. Over the years I’ve spent photographing weddings, I’ve been asked a lot of the same questions during my meetings and consultations with couples. But there are also questions that hardly anyone asks and I wish more people did. Here is my list of questions you should ask a potential wedding photographer and help you find that perfect fit for you.

Are you available for our wedding date? 

This should be your first question you ask any photographer you are considering. Wedding photographers get booked very far in advance. Sometimes even 2 years in advance! So find out if a photographer is available first before going into any further questions. If you don’t have a date chosen, then I would highly suggest you do so before searching for photographers because this will also be the first thing they ask for. Unless you find someone that you like so much that you are willing to choose a date based on their availability.

How long have you been a photographer and how many weddings have you shot?

Both of these questions will give you insight to the experience a photographer has. There is more to photographing weddings than just having a website of pretty pictures. Handling the demands of a wedding day is something that is learned with time and practice. This doesn’t mean that new photographers can’t do it. But if you want someone who you know is used to trouble shooting problems when something doesn't go as planned on your wedding day, which 70% of the weddings never go as plan.  Then seek for someone who has been around the block with lots of experience. 

Do you shoot alone or with a 2nd photographer?

Many wedding photographers will bring a 2nd shooter to help cover the day. This gives you additional eyes looking for moment to capture, a back up incase something goes really bad  and also results in more photos delivered to you. If you think you’ll want this extra coverage, make sure your Photographer has the option for a 2nd.

Can we see examples of full wedding albums?

Make sure that you get to see a full wedding day sample that a photographer has done in the past so you know how they tell the story of your wedding day. Understand that online galleries gives you a good idea of a photographer’s artistic style but will always consist of the “highlight shots”, so don't expect each and every photos will turn that way.

Are all your photos edited?

I can probably answer this one on behalf of all the wedding photographers I know, but ask them still. I’ve never met a wedding photographer who delivered non-edited photos to their clients. Photographers take great pride in their work (they should at least) and editing is a huge part of their style and art. Delivering non-edited photos would be delivering an unfinished product.

Will we receive digital copies of our photos?

This is definitely a question you need to ask. Digital copies means that you would be given the digital files of your photos, perhaps via a USB drive or a Wedding Online Gallery that you can download from. Not every photographer has the same policy regarding digital copies. Some deliver only a set amount of photos on a USB drive while the gallery contains the entire collection. Others may not deliver digital copies at all or, if they do, all of the copies will have their logo on them. Or they may have a package that provides “web-resolution (web-res)” images as opposed to “full-resolution (full-res)”. Full-resolution files are high enough quality to print while web-resolution files are too small to print but will be fine when viewed on social media.

We personally deliver high-res (1024px) files, non-watermarked, digital copies uploaded in a Private Wedding Online Gallery where you can download your photos easily or have it printed via our website.  This leads to two more questions...

Can we get all the raw files?

This one I can only speak for myself, because different photographers have different principles when it comes to this question...

UNFORTUNATELY NO, RAW files are unfinished and uncooked photos. I always tell my couples this, " If I was a chef at a restaurant somewhere, I will never serve my customers RAW meat even if they asked for it. "

A Wedding Photographer's job doesn't stop after your wedding is done, we still spend countless hours choosing the right photos among the thousands we take, and have to edit each and every one of them to make sure the exposure is correct on every photo and the quality meets our standards and yours. So It would  be a lot easier to just give our clients the RAW file, but that is not us.            

Plus... Unless you are familiar with Photoshop You most likely wont be able to open these files anyways :)

Will we get a print release?

A print release gives you legal permission to print your own copies of the photos that the photographer has given you as digital copies. Printing someone else’s work without their permission is a form of copyright infringement and many commonly used printing companies will not print professionally done photos without seeing a print release. Photographers may charge extra for a print release so you'll be able to print them. 

This being said, our couples get access to a Private Wedding Gallery with all the photos where they have the option to print and send it directly to an address they choose. No need to purchase a print release.

Do you offer printed products?”

Ask your photographer if they have packages that include canvas prints, framed prints, albums, paper prints or anything else that you may want to have after your wedding. Photos that aren’t printed are not finished. Think about it. When you have friends or family over to your home, which is better to say? “Hey guys! Want to see our wedding photos? We have 800 of them! Let’s all sit here around my 13” laptop and click through them all right now!” or “Want to see our wedding photos? Here’s some of our favorites on the wall. Oh! And here’s our album!”

Personally, If we actually hired a good photographer for our wedding and the output turned out  great, I would have definitely purchased an album to go with it.

Do you require a contract?

YES!!! If the answer you get to this question is “No” then walk away and never look back. Don’t ever book any kind of vendor that doesn’t require a signed contract.

What is your turnaround time?

Ask how long it will be after the wedding before all of your images are delivered. Also, make sure that that is stated in the contract.

Have you ever shot a wedding at our venue?

Not a deal breaker if the answer is no but it does help to work with someone who is familiar with where your wedding will be.

What if you get sick on our wedding day?

Excellent question to ask! Make sure that the wedding photographer’s contract specifically states a plan in case he/she is unable to make it to your wedding due to an emergency or illness. They need to have a plan B that doesn’t require you to scramble to find a last minute photographer on the eve of your wedding. This is another good reason to book a photographer who has a 2nd shooter with them.

Do you have a travel fee?

If you are having a wedding far from where your preferred photographer is located. Ask if they will require additional payments to cover travel expenses.

Can we give you a shot list?

This is a valid question to ask. Just be careful that your shot list isn’t a list of spontaneous moments (such as scheduling a tear in the groom’s eye). Yes, it’s happened. Basically, you should make a list of the things that will happen that the photographer may not know otherwise. Like a special surprise dance at the reception or a special group of friends you will want a photo with right after the ceremony. Your photographer will need to know these things so that enough time can be allotted for them or they are aware of that surprise program you're planning. If you have an extensive amount of “formal shots” that you want taken, make sure you schedule enough time for them in your timeline.

What are your package/pricing options?

This should be one of your final questions. Don’t waste your time with a photographer whose style you don’t like. Find out if you know you would want to work with them first and then ask what you will need to budget for them. Take this list and use it to your advantage.

Here’s another tip:

When you are talking with a photographer, it really helps a lot to meet with them in person or over video chat. Email is great to introduce yourself but you’ll get to know the photographer much more if you can see and hear them as they answer these questions for you. Of course, if you want to ask me any of these questions, and are considering working with me. let’s do it! I’d love to talk to you. Write Me Here.

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