The internet is full of blog posts and videos on what to ask when booking a wedding photographer. Some questions overlap from blog to blog, depending on the perspective of who is asking. I’ve been photographing weddings full-time since 2018 and part-time since 2014 and would love to offer my perspective on questions to ask to ensure you hire an incredible wedding photographer!
What to ask your wedding photographer
1. How long have you been photographing weddings specifically? This is a helpful question to gauge how long your photographer has been in the industry, but it can also be misleading. For instance, I’ve been in the industry since 2014, but until 2018 I was still in school and only photographing a handful of weddings each year. A more accurate gauge would be, how would you describe your wedding photography experience? For example, I would answer along the lines of “I photographed weddings both on my own and under some incredible professionals from 2014-2018, and went full time in 2018. Since then I’ve still studied under mentors and more seasoned professionals, and have taken on 15-20 weddings per year, which is my personal max so that I can give the best experience possible to each client.”
2. What is your shooting style? Photographers each have their own style of shooting, but we also often are very adaptable to the environment we’re in and the people we’re working with. For instance, I’m your chatty hype woman when the moment calls for it, and other times I’m simply a fly on the wall, a calming presence, capturing the real and candid moments of the day. Perhaps tell your photographer a bit of what you’re wanting, and ask if their style aligns with that vision, or what they can add to it.
3. What happens if you’re unable to attend the wedding last minute? If we’ve learned anything in the event industry from the pandemic, it is that backup plans are crucial. Ask your photographer who would step in if there were an emergency the morning of your wedding. For instance, I have a second photographer in all of my packages who would likely step into the lead position. I always hire other full-time professionals so that the quality of images is on par with mine. And beyond my second photographer, I am in a network of other incredibly talented photographers in Tennessee, but also with connections all over the country and the world (which is SO cool!) So I’m confident that a suitable replacement could be found, prepared, and sent out to your wedding in no time. Hopefully this is a relief to hear!
And here is one common question that actually doesn’t matter. And I’ll explain why.
“Have you photographed at my venue before?” This truly does not matter if you’re hiring a professional wedding photographer. And here’s why. This question comes from the assumption that a person who has been to a venue knows all of the great places to take photos, knows how the lighting works, and will get the same reliable photos every time. What this doesn’t take into account is the skills of a talented professional photographer. They go beyond simply taking photos of the same things and places. A good photographer will be able to go into a brand new space and document a wedding incredibly well. They will have researched the venue beforehand, looking at photos online and tagged photos on social media, to get a feel for the lighting and the iconic locations. They will likely have been in contact with the venue manager and wedding planner as well, and on the day of your wedding, they’ll get there with enough time budgeted to explore the venue. Sometimes a set of fresh eyes can even bring you to photo locations that may be overlooked by less-professional photographers, even if they go to the same venue often.
So if you’re hiring a professional, which you should be anyway if you want to have the best possible photos, it will be no problem if they are new to your venue. Maybe instead ask if they’ve photographed similar venues, or what their research process looks like.
I hope you’ve found this helpful! Want to learn more? Feel free to say hello.