1. How long have you been a photographer and how long have you been doing weddings?
This is an important question because there are some wedding photographers out there who may not have the experience and insight and business sense to give their customers the great photos they deserve. This isn’t always true, but it’s still something to watch out for.
If your photographer has been in business less than 10 years or if s/he started specializing in weddings only within the last couple of years, that could be a concern.
That said, younger photographers can also be very talented, but all things being equal, you want to go with someone with more experience over someone who lacks it—especially when we’re talking about big-ticket items like your wedding photos.
2. How many weddings do you shoot a year?
You’ll want somebody with plenty of experience and business savvy. Wedding photographers who work at least 50 to 75 weddings per annum, and preferably more, can ensure that they’re striking a good balance between running a successful business and delivering the kind of consistent quality we’re looking for.
If your photographer works fewer than 25 or even as few as 30 weddings annually, it might be worth considering someone else (or doing additional research before hiring).
3. What’s your style?
Most importantly, this question is meant to help you find out what type of photos you’re likely to get from this person: documentary-style, traditional posed shots or something in between?
These are the three basic types of wedding photographer styles. You’ll want to find out what type of photos your potential hire specializes in taking so you can decide if it’s a good fit for your needs.
4. Do you have backup equipment?
What happens if your camera breaks down on the big day? Having at least one secondary camera is key because getting married once is bad enough; having to do it twice because your photographer doesn’t have a plan B sure wouldn’t be great.
Some photographers will offer two shooters so important moments are captured from alternate angles. If this isn’t an option, make sure there are multiple pieces of backup equipment on hand just in case.
5. What’s your photography style?
Do you shoot more documentary-style or traditional posed photos? If it’s the latter, you might want to know if your photographer uses any props or lighting effects (e.g., umbrellas, softboxes) to enhance their images.
Many photographers swear by these tools for creating better wedding photos because they place additional emphasis on certain elements that can help tell the story of the day and draw attention away from less important details that detract focus.
6. Do you use PhotoShop?
Digital manipulation is a polarizing topic among many photo enthusiasts—and not just wedding photographers. Yes, there are some things digital enhancements can’t fix, there are also times when they’re legitimately necessary.
For example, say you didn’t get a shot of the rings because your photographer was busy taking another photo at the time and it’s important to the story of the day.
As long as this is not done during post-processing, many views using PhotoShop tools to digitally create missing elements (e.g., reflections in glasses) as acceptable and even preferable when compared with not having these crucial images at all.
7. How do you approach lighting?
Some photographers stick with natural light exclusively while others rely mostly on artificial lighting for their wedding shoots; others use both depending on what they need to accomplish in each shot.
In general, if your photographer uses lots of external lighting gear (e.g., softboxes, umbrellas) make an effort to ask them why and how they use it.
A good photographer should be able to provide you with a clear explanation of the benefits of their lighting gear and what types of photos each is best suited for.
8. What do your packages include?
This is one of the most important questions you can ask photographers when it comes to your wedding because many have add-on fees that add up on big days like this—and even on regular ones too.
For example, some photographers charge extra for second shooters or require couples to purchase a certain number of prints/albums to get digital files while others bundle these items into their packages so everything is covered in one price.
The more you know about what your package includes, the easier it will be to choose the right person for your big day.
9. Do you have sample albums?
If your potential hire has photos of their wedding work displayed in an album, that’s a good sign they take pride in their work and take pride in sharing their best shots with clients.
Even if they don’t have albums available for viewing, ask to see samples of other events they’ve shot—a portfolio showcasing previous weddings is always a great place to start when evaluating a photographer’s overall skill set.
10. How much time are we getting?
It doesn’t matter how talented or enthusiastic your photographer is if you only get them for part of your wedding day.
The amount of time you can book them should be determined by what’s included in their package, but do ask if there are any additional fees associated with longer periods of coverage or anything else that could negatively impact the length of time they’re on-site.
Of course, once you’ve chosen your wedding photographer and made all these important decisions it’s important also not to lose sight of why you hired them in the first place.
Yes, it might seem fun to spend endless hours looking through beautiful photos after an event like this one is over—and yes, your photographer will probably post a whole bunch online—but don’t let that lead to bad behaviour either because there are proper times and places for taking photos too.
Remember, your wedding photography is for you to enjoy and cherish not to let it take over your life.