40+ Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer Before You Book
Congratulations! You're engaged! Now comes the fun part of choosing your wedding suppliers... one of which will likely be a wedding photographer! So, what are some 'must ask' questions? I got you!
I'm Grace Elizabeth, and I've been shooting weddings for 10+ years, and these are some of the most common questions I'm asked. Some of these may already be covered by your potential photographer's website or pricing brochure, but hopefully there are a few helpful tips here!
Questions to ask before the wedding
1. Can we see a full wedding gallery?
I always share full wedding galleries with potential couples. I want them to see my work in a range of locations, seasons, weathers, with various couples, styling and vibes for their days. Of course it's only natural to share the best bits on our social media accounts, blogs and websites, so sharing full wedding galleries is something I love to do to make sure I am being as transparent with my couples as possible - ultimately making sure we are the perfect fit!
2. Can we see reviews or testimonials?
I always say that I could shout about my work until I am blue in the face, but it will never, ever compare to a real review from an actual couple! It's so important to be able to hear genuine feedback from other couples who have worked with your potential photographer!
3. Do you need any information from us before the wedding?
Most of the time I grab the majority of the information I need from my couples via a (pretty extensive!) booking form, which helps me to remain prepared and organised in the run up to their day. Ask your photographer if there's anything they need to know about. I also encourage my couples to fill me in on any potential family dramas, surprise elements, or things that may crop up on the day. Better to be prepared!
4. Do you offer pre wedding sessions?
Yes! My full day wedding packages always include a pre wedding session. Many photographers offer these either free of charge, or for additional cost, as an opportunity to get to know you better, get you used to being in front of the camera, and create beautiful images which you could even use on your wedding website or in Save The Dates. I highly encourage booking one of these!
5. Do you charge for travel and accommodation?
Found your dream wedding photographer? Are they further away than you thought?! Don't worry, most of us travel for weddings - we are adventurers at heart! Make sure to find out if there are any additional costs for travel and accommodation so that you can include these in your budget. Many of us include travel to an extent, and just ask for a bit of petrol money and potentially a hotel stay.
6. What's your booking process?
For me, it has always been the payment of a 25% non refundable retainer and the signing of my contract that secures a date. I don't pencil in dates until I have received these things. Ensure that your photographer has clear booking terms and make sure you carefully read a contract. Often times we can have three or four couples enquiring about the same date, and it's unfortunately first come first served.
7. Do you accept payments in installations?
I have always accepted these, but some suppliers might not. It's always worth an ask!
8. How many other weddings will you shoot that weekend?
I always aim to only book one wedding per weekend, that way it gives me the ability to give 110% to your day, but other photographers are more than happy to do multiple weddings per weekend. This shouldn't affect you, providing they have allowed time and potential accmodation to get between the venues!
9. Do you recommend any local suppliers?
The best people to ask for supplier recommendations are your potential suppliers! We regularly work with the same people and can really vouch for what they have to offer, whether florist, MUA, hairdresser, stylist, DJ or more!
Questions to ask on or about the wedding day
10. Will we need to provide food for you?
It's sometimes a tricky subject, but most photographers will kindly ask that you can feed them. Whether you include them at a table with your guests, elsewhere at your venue, or put some money behind the bar for a meal and drinks, we would be SO grateful. Photographing is hungry, physical work and it means so much when we are fed!
11. Will it be you who shoots our wedding day, or someone else?
Did you know? Some photographers have teams working weddings for them. This is called 'associate shooting' and only usually happens if they are a team, or if the lead photographer falls ill and must get cover for your wedding day. Which brings me on to...
12. What happens if you're ill on our wedding day?
This is the worst thing that can happen for a wedding photographer, so many will immediately seek an assocaite shooter with a similar style to shoot your wedding day. Whether they refund you (if they can't cover it) or they pay for someone else to cover it and then they edit, is up to them, but make sure you know what their emergency protocol is.
13. Do you offer refunds?
This will often pertain to the previous question, and is usually a last resort unless we cannot find some way to cover your wedding. The retainer payment is usually non-refundable as it covers work done prior to the wedding (such as admin or a pre wedding shoot) and also is in respect to us turning away work for your wedding date. Your photographer should be happy to explain!
14. What's your style?
I have industry friends who are 'reportage only', in that they don't take formal photos at all. Others are more posed. Many are somewhere in between. Make sure to find out what shooting style your photographer takes. Often this is clear in the work and galleries that they share with you, so make sure this aligns with what you're looking for.
15. Is one photographer enough?
I regularly get enquiries 'needing two photographers' and between you and I, I have only had a second shooter once in 10+ years of shooting. The weddings I book are generally small and I run around all day capturing as many moments as possible, but for larger weddings, or weddings where you might want someone covering preparations for both of you, or at very spread out locations, having a second shooter may be helpful. This is often at additonal cost, unless the photographer is a dynamic duo!
16. What if we need you for extra coverage?
I always offer the option to my clients to add extra coverage, and many do so closer to their wedding date once the timeline has been finalised (they can help you with this too!)
17. What if our wedding runs over on the day?
If your wedding day runs over on the day, most photographers will keep an eye on things before this happens, and you can make the final call. Many of my clients are happy with their coverage and let me go, missing the first dance or cake cut, whilst others prefer to add an hour or two on to capture those final bits. Ensure to have open communication with your photographer so you have a plan in place if things run over (and they often do!)
18. Do you work with or recommend any videographers?
I love working with videographers! They can capture things we simply can't (like the full vows or speeches) and they are a beautiful art in their own right! But make sure you book someone that you know will get along well with your photographer, and ideally has a similar style. For example, don't pick a very illusive videographer who hides away with long zoom lenses if your photographer is more a 'with the crowd' kind of person, or a videographer who likes to take control if your photographer is very candid. Make sure their styles align. Most of us recommend amazing videographers we have worked with (and vice versa!) which also means you can see their videos and our galleries and how they coincide!
19. Can we request certain photos on the day?
For some photographers, this is a no, but for others, absolutely! Please tell us if your great gran, or aunty twice removed is travelling from lands far away, we want to make sure we get a photo with them! Find out if your photographer is cool with this!
20. Can our guests take photos?
Many of my couples opt for an 'Unplugged Ceremony', in that they want their guests to be fully present in the moment and not taking photos. I personally do love this, but it's absolutely up to you! I also love seeing family and friends getting their cameras and phones out to take photos throughout the day (there is nothing cuter than a grandad with his old film camera asking people to pose!) but find out how your photographer feels about this!
21. Do you take group shots?
For me, yes, always! I don't share them regularly on my socials, because they're often private for my couples, but I love group shots and think they are still incredibly special. I always ask my couples to put together a list of up to 10 group shots they'd like, so as to keep us on track with timings, but some photographers don't take any at all. Find out what your photographer's style is!
22. How long do our couple photos take?
I personally am not a fan of taking you away from your guests for an hour for couple photos, so I tend to take a relaxed approach, fitting in two 15-20 min slots, once after group photos, and once around golden hour. This splits the day up and is a 'wet weather safety net' as it means we have something before dinner if the weather turns. Some photographers prefer to take you off for a while in one go though, so make sure you know what the drill is!
23. What is your start and finish time?
It's flexible! For most weddings I begin 2 hours before the wedding and leave around the first dance, but your photographer may have set hours, or flexible open-ended full day packages.
24. Is it continuous coverage?
The answer to this is almost always yes. If you book eight, nine, or ten hours coverage, that would be from say 12-8pm. Dinner is not excluded, as we are still present at your wedding and often use this time to decompress, back up photos, do research for couple photo locations, take candids or eat!
25. Do you offer smaller packages?
Many photographers offer elopement and micro wedding packages, just not often on peak wedding dates.
26. Do you offer a discount for a weekday wedding?
Some photographers do, others don't - it's worth finding out!
27. Do you have back up equipment?
The answer to this should always be yes! Most photographers bring extra lenses, flashes, batteries, SD cards, so on and so forth. Ensure your photographer does!
28. Do you have insurance?
Many venues require proof of a supplier's liability insurance, so make sure your photographer has this, and mention to them that they may need it for your wedding venue. Of course, our insurance also covers our equipment potentially breaking or being stolen.
Questions to ask about the photos
29. How many photos do we get?
This is always such a hard question to answer. I have personally never guaranteed a set number of images, because every wedding varies. Some weddings have loads of group shots, prep of both people, banging parties, long ceremonies, or super short ceremonies. The weather can also play a part in how many outdoor, candid and couple photos you get a chance to take. My best advice is to ask to see plenty of galleries to gauge the average amount of photos your photographer will deliver.
30. How long does it take to receive our edited photos?
This can also vary depending on the time of year, but for most photographers it can be between 4-12 weeks. A professional photographer will continue to have good communication with you post-wedding so as to keep you in the loop as to where they're at with editing. It is a long process and is where the photos and story of the day really come to life, so patience is key!
31. Do we get a sneak peek?
I have industry friends who don't offer sneak peeks, friends who do 10-15 edited photos, and some like myself who do a full gallery of previews (sometimes with 100+ images!) For me, I know the excitement that comes from both you as a couple, your friends, family and other suppliers in seeing your images, so I work as hard as I can to get previews to you in 24-48 hours. That way you can all see them, share them and it helps tide you over until you receive your full gallery!
32. How do we receive our images?
USB? Gallery? Cloud? Ask your photographer what their process is. I offer password protected galleries and a glass box with prints (I'm a bit oldschool like that!)
33. How can we use the images?
Find out your photographer's usage rights. Usually this is limited to personal use and is covered in your contract.
34. Can you edit this photo in colour / black and white?
We use our own best judgement when it comes to deciding if photos should be delivered in colour or monochrome. Sometimes there is more emotion in black and white, so the general rule is to not ask for extra editing, or you may be able to do so at extra cost. (Admittedly I don't mind re-editing a photo or two for free!)
35. Do you offer prints?
Yes, always! You can buy these from your gallery, or download them and sneak off to a consumer-led website or store to buy prints. Find out what your photographer offers!
36. Do you sell albums?
At the moment, no, but some photographers do, or they even include them in packages. I stopped offering them as they were costly and I didn't want to pass on a huge price to my clients, but they are gorgeous and worth the money!
37. Will you blog our photos or submit our wedding to blogs?
I always triple check client image usage rights on my booking form (and often again in person or via message post wedding.) It is really important that your photographer respects this. It's a legal requirement with GDPR, they should never charge you more if you refuse or revoke image use. Many of my clients feel nervous about their photos being posted online, so they ask to see them before posting, or they choose which I can post. Others are really relaxed. Either way, please don't ever feel pushed into a corner - they're your photos and can be private if you wish! I sometimes submit my weddings to blogs too, but only if my clients are happy with it! It's a great way for us to get our work seen, and is a little five minutes of fame for you too!
38. Will you edit our photos?
All professional wedding photographers edit your photos, you never usually get to see the raw files (think of them as the ingredients to an unfinished cake!) Some edit more heavily than others, and this will be evident in their portfolios. I also don't retouch skin unless specifically asked (such as if you had a very prominent blemish.) Retouching bad tan or skin problems could be a huge undertaking and actually beyond our abilities, so I am very much here for the 'realness.'
Questions to ask in general!
39. How do you feel in general?
You want to be able to envision your photographer hanging out with your friends, chatting with your granny, or getting on well with your kids and dog. If you can see that, they're probably right for you!
40. What might you wear to our wedding?
This is a funny question, and isn't meant to offend anyone, because at the end of the day, your supplier is there to do a job, not to be a guest at your wedding... But, I am famous for my colourful dungarees. If you're TOTALLY not cool with this, you could kindly ask me to tone it down for a day, or embrace it entirely, or worst case, book someone who 'fits' in more (if this is a huge concern to you.) I openly talk about my colourful dungarees so that people know what to expect and it's not a surprise!
41. Do you get along well with them?
As much as they're a supplier, the best photos come from you feeling comfortable around your photographer and them feeling like they can be themselves. I'm a dungaree-wearing, dog-obssessed, tea-drinking, tattooed wedding photographer converting a campervan. Sound like your cup of tea? Brilliant! If not, pick someone who more closely aligns with you.
42. Does the package include everything you want and is within your budget?
If you can't afford your dream supplier, don't be put off. Enquire and find out if they could do a smaller package or less coverage. However, please don't expect us to reduce our costs for no reason. It's not fair on other couples who have paid that price, and we already set them as fairly as we can based on our experience and what we have to offer. Make sure you find a photographer and package within your budget and needs.
43. IS OUR WEDDING DATE AVAILABLE?!
I guess this is really the only last question to ask (although I am sure it was the first thing you asked!)
I really hope this helps! There will be someone out there for everyone: all budgets, styles, vibes, you name it, someone will exist!
Also, please don't just email this list to your photographer (you wouldn't believe how many copy and paste blog posts we get sent to us!), but instead use your best judgement with these questions, they're there to help! Most of them are often answered by your photographer's website or social medias, but please feel free to ask us any of these if they crop up!
Love, Grace x