After exchanging your “I dos”, your wedding photos are your most important keepsakes that will tell the story of your special day. Wedding photographs not only capture faces but also emotions that you can look back on for the years to come.
In addition to your wedding theme, venue, decorations and everything else, hiring the right wedding photographer is an important part of planning your dream day. Professional wedding photographers know what they are doing, so you can rest in the knowledge that every detail will be captured for your photo album.
But you should never just hire a wedding photographer without asking them any questions about their work, their approach, or their history. It’s important to find a photographer that matches your style and taste, and will work in a way that suits you.
Here are the 11 critical questions you need to ask before sealing the deal.
1. How Many Years of Experience Do You Have?
An experienced wedding photographer is equipped with the technical skills, creative, and artistic techniques to immortalise those precious moments.
With a wedding photography expert, you can be confident that your wedding will be preserved in high-quality images.
A pro will guide you on how to pose and look good in your wedding photos, and will know what to do in different lighting and weather conditions. Don’t hesitate to ask how many years of experience they have to help you come to a decision.
We’d advise finding someone with at least 20-30 weddings under their belt, if you want to ensure perfection.
2. What’s Your Photography Style?
Knowing the basics of the photographer’s primary style is another important question to ask. It will help you understand whether their style of work fits your interest and preference. Artistic, candid, documentary, dramatic, modern, traditional, and photojournalistic are a few of the wedding photography styles that are popular.
Does this photographer really like candid photos that really capture the emotions everyone was feeling at the time? Or do they prefer their subjects to pose for the picture? Do they like experimenting with quirky angles or take all their pictures head-on?
3. Can You Show Me Your Wedding Portfolio?
You’ve heard that a picture paints a thousand words – asking to see their previous work is the most important thing you can ask a potential wedding photographer. Be sure to ask to see their wedding gallery or portfolio, not just their general one (because just because someone’s great at photographing buildings or landscapes, this doesn’t always mean they’re good at photographing weddings).
Ask for their online portfolio, business website, or social media accounts to have a closer look at their previous work and an idea of how your wedding photos will look once you hire their services. Even better if they can show you a physical photo album so you can see their work up close.
4. Do You Have Any Testimonials or References?
Apart from a full wedding gallery, it is also worth asking for a list or a link to reviews and testimonials from previous clients the photographer has worked with.
This will help you gauge how happy their previous clients have been with their work. You can also ask for contact numbers or e-mail addresses for some of their most recent clients, so that you can speak with them directly.
5. Do You Have Insurance?
Once you have gone through the references, gallery, and years of experience, it is now time to ask if the photographer has insurance. Professionals should have insurance for their business, not only to protect their photography assets but also for their client’s peace of mind.
A reliable professional wedding photographer should have insurance for protection in case of equipment and damage loss, medical costs to cover injuries that happen during photo shoots or lawsuits.
Wedding photographers should have general insurance, equipment insurance, and professional liability insurance.
6. What Photography Packages Do You Offer?
Do you have a package that suits my budget and preference? Can we request specific shoots? Does the package include an assistant or a second photographer? Does the price include physical printed photos, or only digital photos on a USB drive?
Clarify the inclusions on the package that you are interested in and what the fees will look like.
Also, if the photographer is working with an assistant, make sure to ask who will be shooting at your wedding. Talking about the different packages will help you determine which one fits your needs, wants, and budget.
7. How Much Do You Charge for Extra Time?
Do you want photos with your bridesmaids while getting ready? Do you want full day coverage? If the wedding photography package you opted ensures that photographers will be there all day long, all the better.
You may have planned which moments to be captured but sometimes late minute changes happen. Sometimes, timing issues are inevitable that will push important moments back – such as your first dance or the cutting of the cake.
Hence, it is important to ask your wedding photographer if he/she agrees to stay and how much is the added charge per hour.
You do not want to be surprised and stressed out with a hefty additional charge before your photos are released.
8. Do You Require a Deposit?
Almost every wedding photographer will require you to pay them a deposit to reserve their time. This deposit is usually non-refundable and is designed to protect the photographer from missing out on income – so if you change your mind or cancel the wedding, you won’t get your money back.
You’ll need to find out how much the deposit is, and how soon it’s needed, so that you can ensure you’ve got enough in your account to cover it. Make sure only to pay the deposit once you’re 100% sure that this is the photographer you want to go with, and after you’ve booked your venue so you know the date won’t change.
9. When Will the Photos Be Ready?
After taking hundreds of photos on your blissful day, your wedding photographer will then work on editing your photos. These photos will need sorting, cropping, touching up, and bad shots will be deleted to ensure all that’s left is of the highest quality.
So, to avoid spending time on your computer refreshing your email or checking for the delivery, it is important to know upfront when your wedding photos will be available.
The task can take up to at least 2 weeks or more. But if your wedding falls on a peak season, this could take even longer. Make sure you know when to expect the photos, and also how they’ll be delivered. Will they send you a physical photo album, a USB stick, or give you a link to an online album?
10. What’s the Procedure in Case of Emergencies?
Unfortunately, as much as we’d all like an ideal wedding day where everything goes right, sometimes things can go wrong. For example, what happens if your photographer is ill, gets injured or has a family emergency on the day of your wedding? While unlikely, it is possible.
Every good wedding photographer should have a backup plan in place, just in case they can’t make it on your wedding day. For example, they should have an agreement with a backup photographer ready to step in to take care of the situation.
If the studio or photographer does not have a contingency plan, you’d better start looking for a backup on your own!
11. Can I Have Some Time to Read the Contract?
Your choice of a wedding photographer should meet your wedding requirements. In addition, the wedding photographer should make you feel at ease. They should also make you feel confident that they can fulfil the job to your standards and without any difficulty.
Your wedding photographer should be able to answer all your questions and queries as this will be an assessment of their knowledge, skills, and competence.
If you think that the photographer perfectly meets your requirements, then get them booked to secure your slot. However, it’s really important that you read the contract thoroughly before you sign it. You shouldn’t feel pressured to sign without reading and understanding everything on there.
Ask for some time to read over the contract before you officially make the booking. In particular, ensure you know what will happen if they or you need to cancel, and what your rights are.
Where Can I Buy Wedding Photo Albums?
Your wedding photo album will be one of the most important keepsakes from your big day. You’ll keep it for the rest of your life, and delight in showing your friends and relatives all of the heartfelt shots.
That’s why it’s important not only to choose the right photographer, but also to choose a beautiful photo album to keep the all-important pictures in.
At Bride and Groom Direct, the UK’s most trusted wedding stationer, you’ll find several beautiful styles of wedding photo album to browse through. Many of our designs, such as this gorgeous Always & Forever Gold Foil Photo Album, can even be customised with a photograph on the front. We also stock a huge range of photo frames perfect for displaying your favourite snapshots throughout your home!