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Why Asking Questions is Important

When it comes to your wedding day, choosing the right photographer is essential. Finding the right questions to ask a photographer before hiring them can make all the difference in your wedding day. From understanding their style to ensuring they have the experience to handle all aspects of your wedding day, knowing what questions to ask when hiring a photographer is crucial. Don’t be afraid to dig deep and get a clear picture of what to expect from your dream wedding photographer!

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Don’t worry about awkward poses or feeling weird in front of a camera.
No pressure in the moment photography for laid back couples.

Key Takeaways:

  • Confirm the photographer’s availability for your wedding date early in your planning process.
  • Investigate the photographer’s experience, especially in contexts similar to your venue.
  • Understand the photographer’s style to ensure it aligns with your vision.
  • Discuss packages and pricing to ensure their services fit within your budget.
  • Request to see examples of the photographer’s work to assess their proficiency across different wedding stages.
  • Inquire about the photographer’s equipment and backup plans to ensure reliability.
  • Understand the photographer’s process, including how they plan and execute wedding coverage.
  • Clarify the rights to the photos, including usage and copyright details.
  • Be aware of any additional charges that might apply, like travel fees or overtime rates.
  • Confirm contingency plans, including backup photographers, to cover unforeseen circumstances.

General Questions to Ask a Wedding Photographer

A woman holding a man  on a staircase diuring thier engagement session


If you already have a meeting with this photographer, then there’s a good chance they already asked the date and confirmed availability. However if you are sending a message on Instagram, or an email, check first. Some photographers take a limited number of weddings, some have teams and it’s important to be sure they are open to your date.

  • Is my wedding date available?


I wrote about this a bit in my guide “Average Cost of a Wedding Photographer” , but unless you like to gamble you need to ask how experienced a photographer is. Check to see if they have shot any weddings at venues similar to yours, ask how many years they’ve been shooting (and clarify if that is weddings or just general photography.)

  • Have you done any that are similar to mine?
  • Can they show you relevant examples of their work?

    A less experienced photographer isn’t a guarantee of bad photos, but they may not know how to handle certain lighting situations, day of changes, or how to structure a timeline properly. It’s a bit of a gamble – ideally you need a good photographer to have been the lead photographer of at least 20 weddings.


Asking the photographer to describe their style is a good indicator of the end goal for each photo. I would recommend asking the photographer to show you a few images of getting ready, receptions, portraits, and ceremonies from a few different weddings just to be sure the style is consistent and you like it.

Ps – I call this a moment showcase, you can see mine here:

  • How would you describe your style as a photographer?
  • What sets you apart from other photographers?
  • Out of all your photos, which one is your favorite? Why?
  • How do they approach the shoot?

Packages and Pricing

Wedding photographer prices can vary, Some photographers charge $2000 and others charge up to $25,000. Asking the starting price or the average cost is a good measure to make sure you can afford them. You may need more than minimum coverage which should be discussed during a consult in person or over zoom. In general I believe anything under $3400 is risky for traditional weddings because the photographer will have to work twice the amount of weddings to stay in business (which is a problem if you change dates.)

The average wedding at minimum needs:

  • 1 photographer
  • 6-8 hours of coverage
  • Online Gallery with full-resolution downloads

Questions to ask a photographer About Their Photography Portfolio

A couple doing thier first dance in a warehouse wedding

Examples of Previous Work

Ask your potential photographer if they have worked in venues similar to yours. Remember they do not need to have worked at your venue before to shoot it well. Often I travel to venues in locations i have never even been to and I find it makes me more creative. Primarily focus on how reception looks in their examples or in rooms without natural light. Its easy to take good photos in sunlight, but its a challenge to photograph a darker room where flash is necessary.

You don’t need to see a full gallery, but asking to see images from several parts of the day does make sense. Examples of weddings photos and engagement photos are important to deciding if a photographers style works for you.

Consistency in Style

If you like the style of photography they are shooting, the next step is to make sure its consistent across the day. Often I see “light and airy” photographers have vastly different styles at reception or “dark and moody” photographers struggle when they have to create the light themselves with flash. You just want an overall consistent aesthetic you are happy with.

  • (If candid) will I still get posed photos?
  • (if posed / editorial / traditional) Will I still get candid photos?

Client Testimonials

Reviews matter, though they don’t always make it online.

Often my couples text me reviews and forget to leave them on Google. That said if you can’t find any online reviews or comments, ask the photographer if they have any they can share. If they don’t have any at all – I would recommend finding other photographers or testing the water with engagement photos first if they are just new.

One bad review doesn’t necessarily represent a red flag, that happens and people aren’t always happy. Often the photographer sees the client again after the wedding, and sometimes photographers receive the blame for things they had nothing to do with such as the father in law avoiding family photos, vendors not finishing, or weather.

If on the other hand, all the reviews are negative: trust the reviews after verifying they are real and look for another photographer.

Questions About Equipment and Backup Plan

Groom getting ready to pull the garter off the bride for the garter toss.

Equipment Used

Questions about equipment are a little odd. If you are not a photographer, you likely wont have any idea whats good or whats bad. At this day in age, every camera manufacturer makes a great camera.

Ask these questions instead:

  • Do you have backup camera bodies? (2 cameras total is recommended in case one breaks)
  • Do your cameras have dual card slots? (this creates a backup for each shot taken on the camera)
  • Are the raw image files kept on both the cloud and a physical hard drive until delivery?
  • Do they have off-camera flash equipment and the competency to use that equipment? (at least one off-camera flash, a trigger, and an on-camera flash)
  • Do they have duplicate or alternative lenses that cover the focal lengths in the photographer’s portfolio?

Backup Plan in Case of Equipment Failure

Photography gear can fail from time to time. Every photographer needs to have backup memory cards, hard drives, cloud storage, camera bodies, and batteries. In the event it rains, the equipment overheats, or some other unplanned event these things will ensure they can keep going through the day.

A photographer without insurance is a red flag and you need to work with someone else if the photographer you chose doesn’t have it.

Questions About Their Process

Pre-Wedding Consultation

The photographer consultation should include learning more about what you are looking for and creating an experience that accomplishes that.

Here are some of my favorite key questions to guide your consultation:

  • How do you pose?
    Every photographer poses or uses prompting tricks of some kind to help you look better in the images.
  • Do they have business insurance?
  • Do they have contracts?
  • What planning help do they provide?
  • How would you describe your personality during the wedding day?
  • How do you interact with the guests?
  • What will you wear to the wedding?
  • If we have to change our wedding day, are we going to be charged a new retainer?
  • Do you have past timelines we can look at?
  • Can I give you a shot list?

    (I typically only recommend a list of people for group shots or locations for photos to be in, not Pinterest boards.)
  • How many weddings are you photographing in one weekend?

    It’s important to know that while your contracted time may be 8 hours this doesn’t always include the prep time or travel, so an 8-hour day is often closer to 10-12 hours. If a photographer does too many weddings in one weekend, they will eventually be overworked and will see a reduction in quality.

Timeline for the Day

Most wedding photographers prefer to create photography-specific timelines with the clients prior to the wedding. You must provide as many details as you can about vendors, parts of the day, and any other information about the locations as you can in order to get an accurate timeline.

  • What time will you arrive?
  • What time will you depart?
  • How long do we need for (getting ready, travel, first look, etc)?

How They Handle Group Photos

Group photos are tough for photographers. The key is to assign someone from the bridal party to gather the right people using a list. This helps the photographer, wedding planner and makes sure you have the right group photos.

  • Are the group photos going to be dramatically lit or can they be fast easy-going posed photos?
  • Does the photographer prefer to do all the group photos at once, or a few different times spread through the day?
  • Will guests be able to have their photo taken at cocktail hour or during reception?Questions About Editing and Delivery

Editing Process

  • What is the selection method for photos to be edited?
  • Does the photographer do extreme retouching or Photoshop work?
  • Is there an extra cost for photoshop work beyond normal editing?

Delivery Timeline

  • When will preview images be ready for viewing/sharing?
  • When will the gallery be fully delivered?
  • When the gallery finishes will the photographer be available to go through the gallery with the client?

Number of Edited Photos Provided

  • How many images are delivered?

    In this case, I personally recommend a photographer who delivers full galleries somewhere between 600-1200 images for most weddings. When a photographer delivers more than that, its often duplicate images that are nearly identical or are not well captured. Too many photographs are overwhelming to look at and can often be the cause of someone never looking at their full gallery.

If there is a missing image or something needs to be re-edited, what is the process?

Questions About Rights to Photos

Groom seeing his bride for the first time during the first look.

Ownership of Photos

Most if not all photographers will own the copyright to the images of your wedding, and in most cases this does not affect you. Most of the time this just means you can’t go sell the images commercially ( for stock photography, wall art, etc) If you need your images to be copywritten to you, you can ask for the copyright which would top the photographer from using the images in any way. You should expect a fee for this.

Usage Rights

While the photographer likely retains your copyright, you should be given some kind of usage rights to your images. These questions should flesh out what you can do:

  • Do we have the right to download full-resolution images?
  • Can we use the images on social media?
  • Do we have to print through you or are we able to print anywhere?Printing outside the photographer’s studio frees them from misprints responsibility. For wallet prints, it’s okay to use your home printer. For wall art, go with the photographer’s lab for color-corrected, durable prints.
  • Are wedding prints and albums included?
  • Can wedding vendors use the images?

Questions About Additional Charges

A couple in brazil in front of a mansion where the man is dipping and kissing the woman.

Travel Fees

If your wedding is in multiple locations in your city or you’re doing a destination wedding, there are going to be extra costs for this unless otherwise stated.

What are the travel fees and what are they covering?

Does travel time from our getting ready location to our ceremony location take away from the shotting time in the contract?

Like most photographers, I always count my hours without stopping, so for example if I begin shooting at 12 pm and have an 8-hour contract, the end of the day will always be 8pm unless otherwise stated. If you have an additional 45 minutes of travel time you may want to choose for a nine or ten-hour collection instead.

Overtime Charges

Sometimes your wedding timeline goes off from things outside of your control. If you need to extend the time the photographer is there you need to know:

  • Are there extra charges for extending photography coverage and if so how much will that be per hour?
  • How will we be billed for this extra coverage?
  • Will full wedding galleries be delivered prior to paying for the extended coverage if we opt for it?

    In many cases, a photographer will wait to deliver even image previews until this extended coverage bill is paid for. Once the images are delivered, the incentive for some people to pay a bill is lowered. Keep in mind, if you ask for the extra time and agree to the charges you are responsible for them.

Questions About Contingency Plans

A bride and groom share a dance under the night sky at Sunken Gardens, illuminated by strings of lights, creating a dreamy, romantic wedding scene.

Backup Photographer

Photographers are human and its entirely possible for thing beyond their control to cause them to be unable to work your wedding. A hallmark of a good photographer is having a solid backup plan in that case. Most photographers have a network of photographer friends and colleagues that can handle a wedding day for them in those cases, and the original photographer still handles the edits.

What Happens in Case of Photographer Illness or Emergency

Ask if the second photographer can act as the lead in the case of emergency, if not ask of they can have a second that is capable of that.

In the event both the photographer and second photographer cannot attend, ask if there is a third back up option they have for the wedding day. If there is no available backup photographer, ask what happens in if they must refund.

Keep in mind most photographers like myself would rather photograph the entire day with a broken leg than miss the wedding day!

Questions About Their Personality and Interaction

Bride laying on the ground looking at the camara while husband looks off to the park nearby.

Personality Fit

A wedding day is stressful, only hire a photographer that makes you feel comfortable, and you enjoy being around. There is NOTHING worse you can do than hire a photographer who has great work but makes you feel uneasy or not like yourself during your wedding day.

Questions to ask a photographer:

  • What is thier sense of humor like?
  • How do they relax?
  • Are they laid back or tightly wound?
  • What are their hobbies or things that they et excited about?

How They Interact with Guests

The kind of photographer that can blend into the bridal party is ideal. You want someone who is there to connect with your people, your wants, and you desires.

Questions to ask a photographer:

  • How do they handle guest photo requests?
  • Do they prefer to interact with guests or be a fly on the wall?
  • How do they handle high-stress or guests on the dance floor?

Questions About Contracts and Insurance

Couple silohuetted in a chicago garage

Contract Details

Listen, if your photograpoher doesn’t have a contract – that is the reddest flag they could have, They aren’t serious and most likely don’t have the experience needed to do the job.

  • Will you be the one shooting my wedding? If not, can I meet the photographer who will be on-site?
  • Will you be bringing any assistants or second photographers?
  • Is meal coverage for the photography team required in the contract?

    A wedding day is a ton of work, if you don’t feed your photographers they need to be able to leave to get food. Leaving the wedding can be risky due to: traffic, car accidents, missing moments, and so many other things that aren’t worth it. Basically feed your photographers so they don’t pass out and can keep doing their job well.
  • New: Was this contract written by a lawyer or chatGPT?

Liability Insurance

Many wedding venues require liability insurance, some even require they be listed on the insurance for the day. If the photographer you’re talking to does not have liability insurance do not book them.

Finalizing Details

Groom looking at brides hands during first look while bridal party watches.

Payment Schedule

Most photographers will require a retainer payment that is part of the total price of your package. To book me I charge a $1250 non-refundable retainer to reserve the wedding date in addition to signing the contract. If the total package price is $5000, then $1250 will be the retainer – the retainer is not added to the package cost. Many photographers choose to do a percentage, and then have the remainder due later.

Questions to ask a photographer:

  • How much is the retainer for wedding photography?
  • What’s the payment structure?
  • When will the balance be due?
  • Can we make payments in between?
  • Do you accept cash, card, or check?

Confirming Details Before the Wedding

I like to ask my couples “if were still on for tomorrow?” as a cheeky way of saying I’m ready if they are. but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be asking stuff prior to the wedding jut to make sure everything goes smooth.

Do they have the timeline?

Does their team have anything they need?

Do they have the room information for both partners?

Reach out for Photography

(a.k.a. Ask my Rates & Availability).

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