What to ask your wedding photographer before your big day

April 28, 2021

After your wedding, your flowers will wilt, your dress may feel like it’s shrunk, your cake will be eaten, and you will return to life with your significant other. The one thing that will last forever though, is your wedding photos. 

However you choose to preserve them, your wedding photos contain memories, ones that you’ll show friends, family, and your future grandchildren. 

Despite most aspects of a wedding being temporary, wedding photos will last forever. That’s why it’s important to find the right photographer and ask all the right questions.

Beyond the initial, “Are you available on my wedding date,” we’ve collected a list of questions from Minted, Lin and Jirsa Photography, and The Knot that you should plan to ask your wedding photographer.

Do you have a second photographer?

Though not impossible, it is harder for one photographer to capture everything at a wedding. When a second shooter accompanies your original photographer, you can typically count on having more angles of the same moment covered.

It is not the end of the world if your wedding photographer is flying solo, just make sure they are comfortable and experienced doing so.

Can I see galleries from past weddings you’ve photographed?

At this point, we hope that you’ve seen your photographer’s work before booking but even so, it never hurts to see more. If nothing else, looking at your photographer’s work will help you plan for moments you want to capture, as well as getting you excited for your day.

What all is included in the package I’ve chosen?

After reading through the package listed, make sure you understand everything mentioned and ask any clarifying questions like how many images you can expect to receive from your wedding day and how soon after the day your photographer will have them ready.

This question is also important to establish if there is anything you might need to pay extra for that’s not included in your wedding photographer’s package.

Have you photographed at my venue before?

If the answer is no, it is not a deal-breaker! Indoor or outdoor, most wedding photographers already have the gear necessary to compensate for lighting. If they haven’t shot at your wedding before, you can ask them to check out the venue before the date just to make sure they’re even more comfortable with it.

What will it be like to work with you on my wedding day?

This is a huge part of just getting to know your photographer and their style. Ask them they’re wedding plan, when they’ll be at your venue, what kind of prompts they’ll ask, etc.

If kids are a part of your wedding party, you can also ask your photographer how they work with children 

What is your experience with photographing weddings during COVID-19?

Let’s face it, the pandemic has made everything different, and it’s comforting to hear that your wedding photographer has been able to compensate.

Ask your photographer what they’ve done in the past to work around COVID-19 guidelines to capture weddings. This is also a great time to bring up your preferences on wearing masks at your own wedding. 

Can I print my own photos?

Your photographer’s contract will likely outline the answer to this question, but it is good to clarify if you plan to print any photos on your own.

Some photographers prefer to print photos for their clients to preserve quality. Sometimes they have discounts at certain places and some photographers do not care either way. Please keep this in mind and be willing to respect your photographer’s work.

Do you have a shot list of photographs you plan to take at my wedding?

Many photographers follow a list of photograph they plan to take so they don’t miss an important moment from your wedding. You can ask to see the list and add any other specific images you want to make sure your photographer captures. This could include anything from flat lays to photographs of you with specific guests.

Can I contact previous clients you’ve worked with?

For some of the same reasons why it’s nice to see previous galleries from your wedding photographer, it can be helpful to talk with previous clients to gain further insight on what it’s like to work with your specific photographer!

Have you ever worked with my wedding planner?

It’s important to know that those you’ve hired to help with your wedding get along with each other and coordinate well! At Kate Elizabeth Events we’ve worked with several photographers that we know and love. 

Learn more about our preferred vendors and photographers by reaching out to us through our contact page

In your experience, are first look photographs worth it?

Every bride hopes to put their groom in tears from the first time they’re seen in their wedding dress, but sometimes it’s hit or miss. Maybe your groom isn’t as emotional as you would hope, or maybe the timing is off. Sometimes couples prefer to keep this moment to themselves.

In any circumstances, it’s nice to get your photographer’s perspective and experience. They might have prompts or routines to help solicit a candid reaction.

Do you offer bridals?

This should be clear in your package details and contract, but if you don’t already have a photographer planned for your bridal session, ask to see if your photographer is willing to include it!

Having the same photographer cover your bridals and your wedding keeps your photographs cohesive, and allows your photographer extra practice working with the bridal party.  

Do you offer any assistance putting together a wedding album or book?

Some photographers prefer certain software for printing your wedding photo album. Your photographer can give you recommendations or help to create your album depending on what they offer. Sometimes it can be hard to choose which wedding photos you love the most!

Do you plan to submit any photos from our wedding to any blogs or magazines? 

If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of your wedding photos on websites other than your photographer’s, it’s important to share that before your wedding day.

If you love the idea, ask them what blogs or magazines they will submit your images too so you know where to look for them.

Are there any other events you plan to take photographs for, the weekend of our wedding?

You want to make sure that your photographer is available and not overbooked! 

This won’t be an issue with most photographers, but it is always good to check that your time doesn’t overlap with another client’s.

What would happen if you are ill and unable to take pictures at our wedding?

This goes along well with learning about your photographer’s COVID-19 flexibility, but it’s still just as important to know their backup plan. 

The pandemic, allergies, flu season, they’re not exactly predictable, so you’ll want to make sure you’re comfortable with your photographer’s plans if they do have to call in sick. 

Will you remove blemishes from my images?

Removing unwanted blemishes can sometimes require an additional charge just because of its meticulous nature. If there is anything specific you want removed from your photographs, talk about this now! Your photographer will help you set clear expectations of what they can and cannot do.

Do you have backup camera gear?

Things happen, cameras break, and it’s always good to check on your photographer’s preparedness. If their camera unexpectedly breaks or a battery dies, it’s important that your photographer has a plan. 

Will there be an extra charge if my ceremony or reception goes longer than planned?

Most photographers plan their package based on a certain amount of hours planned for your wedding day. Make sure you are aware of any extra charges if your wedding goes longer than initially planned or if you want them at additional events such as your wedding dinner

What do you typically wear at weddings you photograph?

This may seem like a silly question, but it’s still important to ask. Especially if your wedding is more formal, you don’t want your photographer to stand out. Set an expectation with them and know how they will dress for your wedding day. 

Do you shoot in digital, film, or both?

There are so many amazing images that come from film photographers, but they do take some time to develop. If this is the case with your wedding photographer, check to see if they also plan to shoot digitally so that you might have options you can access quickly.

This is also a good time to ask if your photographer provides black and white images along with color photos.

Can I edit or adapt the photos for social media after I receive them from you?

You want to make sure you’re not breaking any copyright laws by sharing the photographs your wedding photographer took. Be courteous to their work if they’ve placed specific sharing guidelines in their contract and always give your photographer credit when you share online! 

How much do you require for the deposit?

This is also something that is generally included in your wedding photographer’s contract, but it’s still ok to clarify. 

Make sure you fully understand how much you owe and when — this includes when the full amount is due after the wedding as well.

How will you coordinate with my videographer?

If your wedding photographer doesn’t already have a package that includes a videographer, you want to make sure they coordinate. The last thing anyone wants in their wedding photos is a videographer in the background of an image or a photographer in the back of their video!

Just make sure they plan out space accordingly.

Do you bring your own lighting?

It’s good to know what they expect of your venue’s lighting. If they have not had the chance to go to your venue, this is where you can be a help to your photographer! Let them know what kind of lighting there is so they can come more prepared for your wedding. 

Many of these questions go beyond an initial wedding photography consultation. If your wedding photographer is not something you’re worried about, they will likely cover everything you need to know in their contract and package details, but it never hurts to clarify. 

We encourage all brides and grooms to carefully look over these contracts and details so you fully understand the expectations with your wedding photographer. Ask these additional questions if you want an even greater understanding of what to expect. This will protect them and yourself against any wedding day headaches.

To learn about how you can be more prepared for your special day, visit our post, “Engaged, Now What?”

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