We’ve all seen it – the endless lists of questions you “need” to ask your wedding photographer. Things like “what’s your style?” or “why should we hire you?”. Spoiler Alert: you will (should) know those things from looking at their website.
After years of being asked questions that don’t actually matter to brides, I’ve come up with a list of questions you should be asking your wedding photographer – questions that are beneficial to you and your wedding day.
01. Will a copy of the contract be provided?
You should 100% be signing a contract that protects both you and the photographer. This contract should be readily available, either via client portal, physical copy or digital copy to you. If your photographer says no, or doesn’t have a contract, I strongly urge you to look elsewhere.
02. Do you have insurance?
Professional photographers should be carrying insurance for their business. Not only does this protect them against theft or broken equipment, but it also protects you and your loved ones in case, say, Auntie Susan trips over the camera bag and breaks a bone.
03. Do you have backup equipment?
Most of these “must ask” lists only cover the coveted “what kind of camera do you use?” question. While it is, in some capacity, important… the chances of the typical non-photographer bride knowing exactly what someones Nikon D750 or Canon 5DMVI does are slim to none. The more important question here is if your photographer comes prepared. Cameras can break unexpectedly, and if they do, you need to know your photographer is prepared. They should have 2-3 camera bodies (minimum), 2-5+ lenses, and backups of whatever lighting equipment they use.
04. How do you protect our images?
This is SO. IMPORTANT. Ideally, your photographer will back your images up as soon as they get home. Personally, I shoot onto 2 SD cards at the same time (2 copies of your images), back those cards up to Backblaze and my external hard drive as soon as I get home (2 additional copies) and then your SD cards sit in a safe area until your wedding images have been delivered. This makes it extremely difficult for ANY images to be lost (like… near impossible).
05. How long after the wedding will our photos take to be ready?
This is something that should be outlined in your contract, but verbal confirmation and acknowledgement never hurts. The average turn around time is 4-10 weeks. I personally deliver within 6.
06. What happens if you’re sick?
I’m still there. Personally, I have never missed a wedding. I would have to be on my literal death bed to miss a wedding, which I hope will not happen soon. At minimum, most photographers will have lots of photographer colleagues they could call on.
07. Who will be photographing my wedding?
Ideally, the person you’re asking this question will be at your wedding. However, some larger photography companies and busier photographers also employ associate photographers to photograph for them. This is important to cover right away, so you’re familiar with the person you’ll be hanging out with for 8+ hours on your wedding day.
08. Do you edit our images? If so, to what extent?
Your ideal answer here is “yes”. The last thing you want is the straight out of camera files, as these won’t represent the quality of work you’ve seen represented on someones website or instagram.
09. How do you cover the day? Do you bring anyone with you?
This question, rather than “our friends told us we need a second photographer, do you have one?” is going to be much more informative. If you’re hiring a professional photographer, they’ll be able to tell you based on their shooting style, the size of your wedding, and your venue(s) if they’ll be bringing a second photographer. This may also be covered in your contract!
10. How will you (and anyone else covering our wedding ) be dressed?
You might not believe it, but once I photographed a wedding where the videographer showed up in a weird, red and blue plaid shirt, cargo shorts and running shoes with holes in the toes. WHAT? I did a few double takes to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. If you have a certain cultural dress code, it’s important to bring this up with your photographer. I ask on my wedding questionnaire what colour the bridesmaids are wearing (because I don’t want to match them!), but otherwise, I show up in muted colours that are easy to move in. My motto? Dress like a functional guest.