Questions to ask before hiring a wedding photographer (you’ll only need these 4)

Why ask six, ten, or even 45 questions when all you need are four questions to get all the information you need before picking your wedding photographer?

I feel as though the bulk of these ‘Questions You Must Ask Your Wedding Photographer’ are poorly thought out. For starters, there are usually way too many questions. Perhaps these articles began with good intentions but I once came across a blog post that recommended couples to ask for at least five references.

That’s rather excessive given that prospective employers only request for two references.

In these modern digital times, you can easily access customer reviews via Google and Facebook. There is no need to invade a total stranger’s privacy.

And unless you’re interested in photography yourself, asking what type of equipment a photographer uses doesn’t really provide you with a meaningful answer. Neither does asking how he/she will be dressed because, to be honest, if you are the paying customer, you can instruct them what you want them to wear on your wedding day.

So apart from asking the obvious question – “Are you available?” – what questions should you ask a wedding photographer?

Here are the 4 questions you will ever need to ask a wedding photographer before you hire them.

Can you show us examples of weddings that you (or your team) have photographed that are similar to ours?

Most wedding photographers have not photographed at every single wedding venue in their area, especially the newer venues. And even if they have photographed a wedding at your specific wedding, the context may have been completely different.

Just because a wedding photographer is familiar with your wedding venue does not instantly qualify them, and vice versa.

So rather than wanting to know if a photographer has direct experience with your said venue, you should be gauging his/her experience in contextual similarities.

What does this exactly mean?

If your wedding ceremony is indoors, ask to see images of wedding ceremonies that took place indoors. Specifically, “We’re getting married at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Waverly. Our faith is important to us – it is why we’ve chosen to have a religious ceremony. Could you share some recent work that could give us an idea of how our wedding photos would look like?”

If your wedding is scheduled in the late afternoon in winter, you should be aware that daylight fades very quickly. In this situation, you want to see examples of how well the photographer performed with fast fading light. For example, “We love your photos! We’re having our wedding at Sergeants Mess for both our ceremony and reception. Our wedding will be in May and our ceremony will start at 4pm. Can you show us examples of any winter weddings you may have done?”

If you’re including cultural traditions in your wedding, you will want to know if your wedding photographer is familiar with said traditions so that they can anticipate the right moments. And even if they’re not familiar with your cultural traditions, gauge whether they’re open to reading up on them before the wedding.

How will we get our wedding photos?

This simple 7-word question is actually a combination of multiple questions. By asking this question, you will find out what you get for your money, how you will receive it, and when. For example, a typical response you can expect from a wedding photographer is –

“You will receive your wedding photographs via an online gallery where you may view/download high-resolution images fit for 8×10-inch printing. We know that you cannot wait to see your wedding day photos so we typically have everything edited and ready for you within 8-weeks of your wedding.”

Unpacking the above response for industry jargon, we discover the following:

  • the what: high-resolution digital images (edited), fit for printing up to 8×10-inches (2400 x 3000 pixels)
  • the when: within 2-months of your wedding; and
  • the how: digitally, via an online gallery with download privileges.

Depending on the response you get to this question, you may wish to ask some further follow-up questions for clarification.

For example, it may be wise to clarify what a wedding photographer considers as ‘high resolution’.

Another point of clarification you should seek is whether your wedding photos will be digitally watermarked. FYI most wedding photographers no longer practice this but some still do.

How much of a deposit is required and when is it due?

So you’ve reviewed a handful of wedding photographers and you both agree on who to proceed with.

Chances are if you like a particular wedding photographer, other couples will as well. Given that wedding photographers in Australia only take on one wedding per day, it is in your best interest to secure them as soon as you have made your decision.

Because most wedding vendors (photographers included) require a booking fee to secure a date, get this crucial piece of information to avoid disappointment.

Leading on from this question, you can ask your wedding photographer what the payment terms are. For example, you may want to know when final payment is due as well as whether you may spread out the balance across multiple months.

Are there any wedding vendors that you can recommend to us?

What better way to get first-hand recommendations than to ask them from your wedding photographer?

Wedding photographers tend to meet a lot of wedding vendors because they spend the most time on-site on a wedding day. Often you will find that they will know how you should contact and who to avoid.

It never hurts to ask for florist, stylist, videographer, celebrant, DJ, and MC recommendations because chances are, they’ll work well together, thus reducing your need to stress about it.

BONUS: The most critical question you must ask yourself before you hire a wedding photographer

Ultimately, hiring a wedding photographer comes down to you and your partner’s decision.

Every couple will have different deciding factors depending on what’s important to you: budget, communication, experience, style etc.

But if I may leave you with one thing it is for you to ask yourselves the following question when picking your wedding photographer: ‘Would I like to spend an entire day with this person?’

Recommended reading: Look no further, here are Sydney’s best male and female wedding photographers

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