Five Questions to Ask Wedding Photographers Before You Booked Them!

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This post will give you five questions to ask a wedding photographer before you commit to hiring them. It may be a little biased, considering that I am a wedding photographer. I have seen so much dang nonsense out there that I want to give you ten simple and practical questions to ask a wedding photographer before booking with them.

So here we go!

1. What Led You to Become a Wedding Photographer?

Start by asking your potential wedding photographer what led him or her to become a wedding photographer? Ask this question and then listen. You want to get an idea of how passionate they are about photographing weddings. Why? Because if they are passionate about wedding photography, you will most likely have a lot of fun working with them. You don’t want to hire a person who doesn’t love what they will be doing. To do so is a sure recipe for a horrible experience and ugly photos. 

2. Why Do You Want to Photograph My Wedding?

A good follow on question to question number one is why do you want to photograph my wedding? This question should get your potential photographer talking about what they are most excited about for your wedding. 

For me, I always try to learn as much about a bride and her partner and their wedding plans. I want to know about her wedding dress, his tux, the venue, and decor, how did they meet, etc. Having an in-depth knowledge of the couples’ love story and how they plan to celebrate it gives me an incite for the types of photographs I will be creating. It lets me know how much fun I am going to have. After all, I am a creative person!

After you ask this question, listen and look for how excited they get. A photographer who doesn’t have a good reason to photograph your wedding is not a good match for you. Furthermore, if they are not excited about your wedding, you will not enjoy working with them. Remember that your photographer will be the vendor who will be the closest to you for the longest time on your wedding day. 

Don’t hire a photographer with no zest for your wedding plans or someone who only wants to photograph your wedding to make a quick buck. These two first questions should help you get a feel for your ideal photographer and weed out those who are not a good fit for you.

3. Can I See a Full Wedding You Have Photographed?

Ask the photographer you are interviewing if you can see a full wedding they photographed? Yes, they may have a fancy website with beautiful photos to dazzle you. However, you want to see the real thing! The truth is that the wedding galleries you see on photographers’ websites are only about five percent of the total wedding. Therefore, you must ask this question so that you can get a better idea of their work.

Merely looking at the photographers’ work on their websites will not give you a good idea of how they photograph a wedding. A photographer will only show their best work on their website. If the photographer can not show you a complete real wedding they have photographed, it would be wise to move on to another photographer. 

4. Can I Get a Couple of References?

Let’s face it! 99.9999% of the time, when you apply for a job, you have to provide references to the person who will be hiring you. From the bride’s point, you are the employer. The photographer is the potential employee applying for the job to photograph your wedding. If references are required to get a job in the real world, why should it not be needed for hiring a wedding photographer?

Ok! You can justify not requesting references from your photographer because they have endless great reviews online. But can you really compare online reviews with talking to a live person and getting it straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak?

Here is what references will get you:

  1. Peace of mind knowing that a live person actually works with your photographer and have an incredible experience. 
  2. References let you know you can trust your photographer.
  3. During a one on one interview with your photographer, the photographer will paint the prettiest picture for you. However, a reference can provide you with insight that you would have otherwise missed during the interview.

You have nothing to lose by asking for a reference, so why not just ask!

5. Can I See a Contract Before I Decide to Book With You?

This is one of those questions that every bride should ask her photographer before hiring him or her. You can save countless time, which you will not have when planning your wedding, by just requesting to see the contract. 

Once you get a copy of the contract, you want to make sure you go through it with a fine-tooth comb. Pay special attention to these clauses:

  1. Retainer Fee
  2. Payments
  3. Cancelations & Postponement
  4. Refund
  5. Copyrights & Print Rights
  6. Deliverables
  7. Force Majure/ Act of God 

If you are satisfied with the contract, then there is no need to request changes, additions, or removals of any clauses. By looking at the contract before hiring your photographer, you will be armed with information that gives you negotiating power. Suppose the photographer is unwilling to make changes to the contract. In that case, you may be better off moving on to another photographer. 

Keep in mind that the contract clauses should create a win-win for both parties. You cant expect the photographer to return your retainer because you find a more likable photographer or something of that sort. 

Ok! So, let me give you some bonus questions not to ask your prospective wedding photographer!

Bonus #1 – Don’t Ask Your Photographer What Equipment They Use

Why, for heaven’s sake, would you ask your photographer what equipment they use? Would you ask the plumber that comes to your house to fix a water leak about what type of equipment they will use? I don’t think so! 

Further, let’s say you ask that question. And the photographer responds, saying, ” I used a Canon 40D and a Pentax Kp”. Would you know what the hell they are talking about? Look, unless you have some up-to-date photography experience, don’t bother asking such a question. 

Bonus #2 – Don’t Ask Your Photographer What Are Their Style

Please don’t ask the photographer you are interviewing what their wedding photography style is. I say this because wedding photography styles can be a contradicting subject. Plus, everyone seems to have a different understanding of what should be classified as a wedding photography style. This results in lots of conflicting information about wedding photography styles online.

My recommendation is to focus on what really matters. Does the photographer’s style matter if you love their work? Furthermore, weddings, in general, possesses many unusual challenges for a photographer. 

A professional wedding photographer must be well-rounded in many styles to deal with all the challenges of a wedding. For example, a wedding photographer must be skilled in dealing with many different lighting situations because the lighting will continuously change throughout the wedding day. Also, a professional wedding photographer must be well-rounded in photographing people and things. They must be masters at photographing individuals, large groups, ceremonies, dress jewelry, etc. 

Bottom line, don’t ask your wedding photographer what their style is unless you have considerable knowledge and understanding of wedding photography. 

I hope you find this post beneficial. If I can be of any help to you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I sincerely want the best for you and will do whatever I can to help you have the wedding of your dreams, whether you hire me or not. 

Have questions? Let’s connect here.

If you like this post, you may also be interested in these other posts:

You’ve Chosen Your Wedding Venue, What Next?
4 Wedding Photography Styles Every Bride Should Know!
5 Reasons to Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer

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