Booking a wedding photographer isn’t something to take lightly. This person is responsible for documenting arguably one of the most important days of your life, so book carefully. Ideally, you’ll find a photographer that you really click with, and the relationship will be Easy Street! To get there, you have to be thorough. So, as you’re searching and interviewing, here are the most important questions to ask before booking your wedding photographer:
- What is their emergency policy if they get sick? Every photographer worth their salt has an emergency plan in place in case something happens. (Covid-19, for example!) Make sure you’re covered and that a photographer will be present at your wedding to document your day in the event that something happens to your main photog.
- What are they doing to protect your images? This might be gibberish to some people, but trust me, you need to ask! How is the photographer treating your files? Are they backed up? Is your photographer shooting onto two cards? In short, how is your photographer ensuring that the photos won’t be lost?
- How long will you have to wait before your wedding gallery is delivered? There’s no right or wrong answer to this one! Each photographer should have a delivery time you can expect to wait before your photos are delivered. Make sure this is written clearly in your contract, and you’ll have nothing to worry about. Also, try not to nag your photog during the weeks following your wedding—they haven’t forgotten you, don’t worry!
- Can you expect sneak previews following your wedding day? I definitely desire instant gratification when it comes to photos! Check with your photographer and see if they offer any sneak previews before your gallery is delivered. Kudos to them if they do!
- What exactly are you getting with your chosen package? Make sure that you’re purchasing your image and download rights to your wedding photos, NOT just access to prints.
- What’s the minimum number of photos you can expect? The horror stories exist—”I only got 100 pictures for six hours of coverage!” Take a moment to review your contract and ensure that a reasonable minimum number of photos is provided. (I personally exceed my minimum number every single time! Fellow photogs, it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver than over-promise and under-deliver.)
- What is their policy about eating at your reception? I include in my contract that the Bride and Groom should reserve a meal and a seat for me and my second shooter. Nothing bums a photog out more than enjoying your day, working hard to make sure it’s perfect, documenting your love, and then realizing that there’s nothing to eat and nowhere to sit. Ideally, you’ll form a bond with your photographer and you’ll become friends, so forgetting to give them a seat won’t happen! Ask your photographer what their preferences are, and if they have any dietary restrictions.
- What is their policy about drinking alcohol at your reception? There is no right or wrong answer here! Everybody is different. I don’t personally drink at a wedding, even if the Bride and Groom offer the open bar to me. Some photographers do, and that’s fine! Set your expectations with your photographer from the get-go so there is no confusion down the road.
- Can they show you a full gallery of their work? Sorry fellow photogs, but I had to say it! As a photographer, our website and social media is a platform to showcase the best of the best. During your research, you should find out exactly what a full gallery looks like so you can adjust your expectations.
I suspect this will be an ever-growing list. If I leave you with one takeaway, let it be this: the last place you should skrimp and save is on your wedding photographer. The photos you take on your wedding day will last a lifetime—and beyond. These are the photos that your children will showcase at their wedding, and your grandchildren too. These are the photos that will hang on your wall for the rest of your life. These are the photos that you’ll upload to Ancestry.com.
Let them be good ones. Choose your photographer carefully.