Choosing your wedding photographer is a high stakes game. The day itself goes by so fast; it’s incredibly important that someone—preferably, someone who takes photos for a living—captures those incredible moments.
Meeting with photographers can feel like a cross between a first date and interviewing to hire a new employee. But it’s serious business! You want to make sure not only that the basics are covered, but also that you get along and understand each other.
Asking the Right Questions
Here are five questions you should ask every photographer you meet with.
We’re assuming you’ve already asked those basic questions: are you available on my date? Can you travel to my venue? What are your fees? (And more fun logistical questions like that!)
These questions are meant to help ensure your bases are covered and that you’re compatible with your photographer.
1. Do You Have Insurance?
Ah, the ever-romantic topic of insurance policies.
If someone is a full time photographer, they will probably have insurance. If they are only a hobby or part-time photographer, they may not. But insurance is important.
Your photographer’s insurance will cover them in the event of an accident while shooting your wedding (for example, if they are hurt, or if they accidentally damage the venue or hurt another guest). It’s incredibly rare that such an event may occur, but it’s so important that your photographer is prepared, just in case.
This also protects you: if your photographer’s gear breaks in the days before your wedding, they’ll be able to replace it and shoot your wedding as planned.
Insurance: not fun, not sexy, but still very important.
2. What About Contingency Plans?
What if your photographer gets sick? Do they have a backup plan for your event?
Some photographers will have affiliates that they trust to cover for them. If your photographer becomes ill and can’t shoot your wedding, they would invite one of these affiliates to shoot in their stead.
It’s important that you inquire about these contingency plans. Do they have a backup photographer? If yes, can you see their portfolio, too? If their gear breaks, will they be able to quickly replace it?
If your photographer can’t confidently answer these questions—which all boil down to “what will happen if you can’t shoot my wedding?”—consider looking elsewhere. You don’t want to risk being caught out with no photographer on your wedding day.
3. Do You Have a Second Shooter?
Some photographers have an assistant on the day. This person is called a second shooter. Some photographers will include second shooters within wedding packages, others will charge extra and bring a second shooter only upon request.
A second shooter can be an incredible asset for your wedding day. Your photographer can’t be everywhere at once; bringing a second photographer along with them ensures all those special little moments and alternate angles can be captured.
If extra coverage on your day is of interest, inquire with your photographer about the availability of a second shooter and the potential cost.
4. What’s Your Shooting Style?
We will be the first to tell you that not every photographer works in the same way.
Some are bubbly, and can work a crowd; they can direct poses and capture even the most awkward Dads in beautiful, candid moments.
Others prefer a stricter shot list with a specific plan of attack. They may not prefer to take a spontaneous approach to wedding photography, but their work is impeccable nonetheless.
But how your photographer works will impact your experience on the day. So it’s important to ask how your candidate photographer prefers to communicate, and to approach the day.
If you have a strict shot list and your dream photographer prefers to simply go with the flow, you may not be a good match. Even if you fall in love with a photographer’s portfolio, it’s best for everyone to ensure that you get along on an interpersonal level, too.
5. What About Extra Expenses?
Some weddings run perfectly according to plan. Others wrap hours after the intended last dance. Where yours will fall is anyone’s guess!
Your photographer probably has wedding packages that include a set number of hours on site (most offer eight consecutive hours of shooting). This could mean that, at midnight—even if the party's still going on—your photographer turns into a pumpkin and heads home.
If you’re worried about needing further photographic coverage in the event your wedding runs long, ask your photographer about their willingness to shoot later.
Most photographers are delighted to spend more time at a wedding—but they may charge a greater proportional fee for the time. To ensure you’re not caught out by a surprise bill, always ask about extra potential expenses up front.
Choosing the Perfect Photographer
Your perfect photographer is someone only you can identify. They have the perfect style, you see eye to eye on communication, and you have the same goals; it really is a bit like going on a date!
The work of finding that perfect photographer is no easy task, but armed with the right questions, we know you’ll find the ideal partner to capture your perfect wedding day. ✄
Keeley Joy Photos (cover)