12 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Photographer

Your wedding is quite possibly the first event that you’ve ever hired someone to photograph, so it’s perfectly understandable if you are a bit unsure of what to ask. Thank goodness for the internet, right?

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I’ve seen a few long lists of questions for photographers, but let’s be honest you probably don’t care what brand of camera your photographer uses or what shoes he plans to wear.

I've complied a shorter list, from my experience on both sides of the interview, of questions that you probably do want answered.

By the way, please have an interview (video chat works too), rather than listing questions in an email.  I really believe that meeting face to face is the way to get a feel for who they are and how you feel around them.  After all, they will be with you the majority of your wedding day!

Now, let’s get to it!

About the Experience:

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1. Please share about yourself.  Like I said before, it’s worth making sure that your personalities and priorities are at least somewhat compatible.  Do they have a sense of humor that will put you at ease in front of the camera, or did talking with them seem uncomfortable?

2. Tell them about you. Okay, I know this is technically not a question, but it’s still worth doing.  If they are interested in what you have to say, it’s a good sign that they care about how you want your day to go and they will listen to your desires in the future.

3. What kind of experience can we expect from you? Give them a chance to prove that they offer more than just beautiful images.

4. Will you help me create a timeline? Who is better to give advice on timing than someone who has walked alongside multiple brides each step of their wedding day.  Again their interest level in your timeline may be a good indicator of their willingness to accommodate your desires.

About the Logistics

5. Are you shooting any other weddings on my date? You may have already asked if your day was available, but did you make sure that your wedding is the only one they are planning to shoot that day? 

6. What packages do you offer?  There are actually a few related questions here.  What are the prices? What exactly is included in each package? How many hours of coverage do I need? Finally, are you able to customize a package to fit my needs? 

7. Will there be a second shooter?  Having two photographers working together often means more photos in less time, and it definitely means additional perspectives on the big moments.

8. What happens in the case of illness or emergency?  No one wants to be stuck without a photographer on the morning of their wedding because the flu is going around.  Do they have a trusted colleague to cover for them?  Will you be reimbursed?

About the Photos:

9. What’s your photography style? They might say something like, traditional, artistic, or photo-journalistic. Don’t be afraid to ask for samples or more specific descriptions if you aren’t familiar with these terms.  

10.  What kind of retouching or processing do you do? Are they willing to do a lot of blemish reduction and facial retouching, if that’s what you want? Do they edit photos for a specific feel (i.e. vintage, modern, soft)? If you prefer natural, authentic looking photos can they do that?

11. Are you take-charge or laid back? Some people want a photographer who will take the initiative to direct the flow of the day, while others want a photographer who goes with the flow and captures things as they unfold naturally.  Are you a match in this area?

12. Share your ideas. I know, I slipped in another non-question. If you have specific shots that you want or creative ideas you’d like to try, make sure that they are capable and willing to do those things.

One final piece of advice: Go with your gut on this.  There are tons of photographers out there, and I think you will thank yourself for taking the time to find a photographer that you are compatible with, one who will give you photos and an experience that you love!