Hiring a wedding photographer is probably at the top of your to-do list if you’re newly engaged. Don’t know where to start with hiring a wedding photographer? Or what questions to even ask than this post is for you!
Obviously, I’m biased but I definitely think a good photos, a good photographer, and the whole experience are worth the splurge. It’s super important to ask a lot of questions so you feel confident with your decision. And since you probably have never done this before you may have no idea what questions to even ask. This list is for you!
1. Is my wedding date available? – If you’re eloping and don’t having a set date it’s still totally OK to still inquire with a wedding photographer just know that a contract does need a specific date and so you do have to decide on one before you officially book.
2. Will you be the one shooting my wedding? If not, can I meet the photographer who will be on-site? – Some photographers have associates or a team that works for them and so it doesn’t hurt to ask if it’s unclear on their site.
3. How many other weddings will you photograph that weekend? – Most photographer will book probably at max 2 but it could be 3 or more. This never hurts to ask but a majority of photographers value taking less clients so they can serve the few they have really well which makes the experience better for everyone.
4. Will you have any assistants with you on our wedding day? – Assists can be just someone helping them with carrying lighting or details to another photographer altogether. Be sure to clarify if it is a second photographer helping to photograph your day or an assistant with no camera.
5. How long have you been shooting weddings? How many weddings have you photographed? – Experience will often determine price. So, if you have a low budget a new photographer or someone that doesn’t have a lot of experience will usually tell you that and explain why that is the reason they are less.
6. Can we see the full galleries of a few of your recent weddings? – I love to do this a couple inquiries so they can get an idea from the beginning. But, this is the best way to see the photographer’s work in all different types of lighting and to get an idea of how they’ll tell the story of your wedding day.
7. Have you ever shot a wedding at our ceremony and reception venues? If not, do you plan to check the venues out in advance? – It’s common for photographers to have not shot at a specific venue unless they are on a recommended vendors list. If you’re concerned about it definitely ask the questions. But, a lot of photographer’s myself included will just arrive to the venue a little earlier to scope out the scene and get a lay of the land.
8. Have you ever worked with our planner? Videographer? – I would say videographer/photographer partnership is one of the most important for your wedding day. Everyone wants to get the shot but it’s about working together so that you have the best with the best photos and video.
10. How would you describe your photography style? – This can be anything to their style of editing ie warm, moody, light, airy, etc.
11. How would you describe your working style? – If you prefer more candid moments does that go along with their style? And for family or any other formal portraits are they going to be able to wrangle everyone to get the good shot?
12. Do you shoot digitally? With film? Or both? – Most wedding photographers these day use digital cameras and there are a handful that use only film. But, some photographer do do both or have film as an add on like me!
Pricing and Packages
12. What is included in your standard package? – This should fully break down all their service and deliverables. Like the amount of hours, photos, second photographer, video, slideshow, gifs, if the help with planning and timelines, etc.
13. Can I customize a package to fit my needs?
14. Based on what I want and my needs what package would you suggest? – Photographers have most likely been to lots of weddings so they know how the timing and transitions work and how long they take. It’s important to understand that everything you want capture in the day might fit in a certain about of hours and to not short that or squeeze it into a shorter amount of time.
15. Do you include engagement photos in your packages? What about pre-wedding events like rehearsal dinners?
16. How many hours are included in each package? How much do extra hours cost? – Usually gone over in the standard package section but if you’re not clear be sure to ask!
17. Do you offer a photo booth? – Some photographer offer this as an add-on. Some DJ or entertainment companies offer it too! So, don’t be afraid if they don’t you can tell get on if that’s what you want!
18. Do you offer retouching, color adjustment, or other corrective services? Are those included or an additional charge? – Most photographers do standard retouching but any photoshopping is an additional charge and it’s important to be aware of the additional cost. And if they don’t offer any body altering photoshopping and that something you want it’s important to ask that too!
19. Do you charge a travel fee? For what distance? What does that cover?
20. Do you have any additional add-ons? – This can be anything from a second photographer, film, engagement session, day-after session, rehearsal dinner coverage, or wedding day content creation.
Prints and Albums
21. Can we order prints or albums directly from you? – Most photographer have a shop attached to your final gallery and it’s best to order photos directly through them to ensure their quality and colored properly.
22. What type of albums do you offer? Do you provide assistance selecting images and designing the album?
23. Are albums or prints included in your packages? How many pages or prints are included, and what is the turnaround time?
24. How long after the wedding will we receive the images? How will they be delivered? – Industry standard is 8-12 weeks. Contact will have the amount of time and since it’s signed by everyone it’s enforceable by law.
25. Will we have the rights to the images?
26. Will we receive the high resolution digital images? Is there a fee for that?
27. Will the images be accessible online? For how long? – Standard is that your gallery is accessible for a certain about of months or years and there is an unarchive fee after that amount of time.
28. How does the planning and timeline process work with you?
29. When and how will we receive the contract?
30. How much of a retainer do you require? When is it due? – Typically a retainer and signed contract means your photographer is officially booked and so it’s important to be super clear on all those steps.
31. Do you accept payments in installations?
32. What is your refund or cancellation policy? – Also important to know up front. In most situations retainers are non-refundable as stated in the contract.
33. What happens if the weather is bad during my elopement?
34. What happens if we need to reschedule? – Is there any additional fee? Life happens and if you need to change the date for any reason it’s important to know if there will be any additional cost.
35. Do you have liability insurance? – Some venues require this so it’s important to know if they have it and or can attain this.
36. Do you carry backup equipment? – Life happens, if something happens day-of will they still be able to take photos?
37. What is the backup plan if you are unable to shoot my wedding for an unexpected reason?
38. Can we request a list of specific shots we would like?
39. Will you be posting about our wedding on your website and social media?
40. Will you be submitting our photos to magazines or blogs? – It’s important to ask both if you care or if you prefer they not submit your photos to blogs. This is usually explained in the model release and would be an exclusivity clause and could be an additional fee.
I hope these were helpful! If you have any questions about my services drop them below. Or inquire and I promise to go through this whole list!
Hi I'm Torez, a die-hard romantic and San Francisco-based wedding photographer with years of experience capturing love stories against the backdrop of our charming city. From intimate City Hall ceremonies to epic coastal elopements, I've seen and photographed it all. I know the ins and outs of navigating wedding planning in San Francisco like the back of my hand - from selecting the perfect location that aligns with your love story, to creating the dreamiest wedding timeline that lets you enjoy your day to the fullest. And guess what? I'm sharing all of that expertise right here with you.