12 Questions to Ask Before Booking Your Wedding Photographer
You are officially engaged, and now the wedding planning commences! The first few weeks of engagement can often feel like a tornado of emotions – pure joy and excitement to feelings of overwhelm as you begin to plan one of the biggest events of your life. Raise your hand if you’re stocking up on sweet red wine and ice cream to help get through the stressful initial planning stage!
Once a couple inquires with me for my availability on their date, the next step is for us to set up a time to chat. Typically, we will meet up for coffee or ice cream – my treat! – or we set up a time to do a video call. This step is incredibly important in the booking process because I want to hear all about the two of you, your love story, and what’s important to you on your wedding day! Since every couple is so unique in what they have envisioned for their day and what is important to them, this is a great opportunity for us to connect and make sure we are a perfect fit.
As I sit down and chat with couples, we’ll start to wind down and I’ll ask, “Now that I’ve shared about my process, what questions can I answer for you?” Sometimes I’ll hear papers start to shuffle on the other end of the video call, looking for the questions they have written down. But most of the time, couples just don’t really know what to ask, and that’s totally fair.
This wedding planning business is most likely your first rodeo. If so, it’s incredibly hard to know exactly what questions you should ask from your future wedding photographer. You want to be sure you have all the information to choose the right person to be by your side for the entirety of your wedding day.
So, what the heck should you ask a photographer before you book them for your wedding?
I got you, boo! This blog post is all about the most popular questions couples ask and the important questions I think you should ask your wedding photographer before booking. I’ve included my answers to the questions so you can get to know me while knocking off some of those burning questions on your checklist!
1. How long have you been in business? How many weddings have you photographed?
I have been a photographer since 2014, which is crazy to think about! As of now, I’ve photographed at least 50 beautiful wedding days! My first wedding I photographed was on a hot August day at a winery, and I immediately fell in love with photographing couples’ love stories. I was absolutely hooked, and that passion has just continued to grow over the years.
2. Can we see full galleries of a few of your recent weddings?
Absolutely! This is a must for me. In fact, you don’t even have to ask. I include full galleries in my initial Wedding Collection Guide I send when you first inquire. It is so important to see the actual galleries that clients receive in order to see the complete body of work before booking a photographer. It’s easy to post the very best of your work on your website, but it’s super important to see that the photographer can handle any sort of lighting situation within your venue or weather that they may face on the day of your wedding.
Since I believe this is so important, it’s just part of my Wedding Collection Guide so you never have to ask. But if you’d like to see a gallery from a venue that looks similar to yours, I can always send over more; just ask!
3. Is an engagement session included in your collections?
Heck yes! Every couple receives a complimentary engagement session with their wedding collection. I consider these sessions so very important in the wedding planning process that I include one as my gift to you!
Your engagement session will help us both prepare for the best wedding day ever, starting with getting to know each other. These sessions give us an opportunity to get to know one another outside of a meeting or phone call. You get to see how I work, what posing prompts I give you, and I get to see how you two interact with one another, how you naturally fit together. We’ll get to know each other better, and come your wedding day, I’ll be prepared to photograph the two of you like the rockstars you are.
Most couples haven’t spent a ton of time having their photos taken by a professional photographer, so you may feel uncomfortable or even intimidated when you think about being in front of the camera. But don’t you worry about a thing! We use the engagement session to allow you to relax, get comfortable, and actually enjoy yourselves! Plus you end up with beautiful photos that you can hang in your home or use as part of your reception decor or a guestbook at your wedding.
And if nothing else, it’s just a good reason to schedule a date night with your boo! You are engaged to your best friend, and that’s worth celebrating. I’m so thankful to be able to commemorate that time with my couples with this amazing gift of an engagement session, because they are photos you’ll be able to treasure for the rest of your life.
4. What’s included in your wedding collections?
My wedding collections include: hourly coverage included in your collection; complimentary engagement session; two pre-wedding consultation meetings; customized timeline creation; private online gallery; wedding blog post; social media previews of your wedding photos; and travel costs up to 60 miles from zip code 46953.
I offer 6-, 8-, and 10-hour collections. Most of my couples book the 8-hour collection to ensure they have plenty of time for all the important events, time for flexibility, and time to soak it all in. The day zooms by so quickly, it is important to have enough time to just enjoy and rest in the moments that matter most. With the 8- and 10-hour collections, I also include a complimentary second photographer.
Along the entire wedding process, I’ll be working closely with you to ensure we create a timeline that reflects your desires for your day, and I’m available to answer any questions you may have along the way.
I also offer add-ons for purchase during the booking process, such as custom heirloom wedding albums, heirloom USB drives with all your images, and Save the Date announcement sessions.
5. Will we have a second photographer on our wedding day?
A second photographer is complimentary when booking my 8- or 10-hour collection. I’ve shot weddings without a second shooter plenty of times, but I have found that a couple’s experience is just so much better when there are two of us there to serve you as your photo team.
Not only am I able to deliver more photos from your wedding with two shooters, it’s just fun having another perspective on your wedding day. I can focus on all your incredible portraits, while my second shooter is capturing the candid, in-between moments or sneaking off to capture your guests enjoying cocktail hour while I’m photographing details.
You will just find your photography experience is totally elevated when I have a partner and assistant to ensure we can stick to your timeline and capture every moment of your day.
6. How involved will you be with the timeline? Will you help us with posing on our wedding day?
I always want to ensure my couples have a stress-free wedding planning experience, so about four months from your wedding day, I’ll send you a timeline planning guide. This will give you some templates to help you start to think about how you want to organize your day. It is hard to know how much time each part of your day should last, and figuring out the timing and order of the reception events can be tricky. I’m here to give you a good solid idea on what you can do but offer you the freedom to design your timeline in a way that’s unique to the two of you.
I’ll gather all the important details you want covered during your day, and I’ll send you over a timeline draft for your approval. This takes all the work off of you to put something together, and the file is actually a live file, meaning as soon as I edit it, you have all the changes automatically updated on the link you can share with your family and friends. It’s just my way of making sure no detail is forgotten and you can just enjoy every second of marrying your best friend.
I will definitely help you with posing for your portraits with each other, your wedding party, and your family. I know how important those photos will be for you and your families. But you’ll also find that I spend a lot of time letting you two naturally interact with each other and your wedding party. Weddings are such a joyful time, and you will smile until your cheeks hurt. I want to capture those in-between moments for you, in all your joy and bliss, so you may find me stepping back and letting your moment unfold. Since we will have already worked together during your engagement session, you’ll know exactly what to expect on your wedding day when it comes to my direction and support. No worries – I’ll make sure you look absolutely perfect in your images!
7. Will we receive the digital files?
I provide you with a link to an online gallery for both your engagement session and wedding day photos. This gives you the ability to share your beautiful photos with family and friends. You will also download the high resolution photos from your online gallery. You will receive a print release with your online gallery so that you can use your files for prints and products
As a photographer, taking the photos at your session and wedding is just a fraction of the work I do. Once I get your images home, the largest portion of my work with you will be the time spent hand editing every photo for color and consistency before I share your online gallery with you. Because I want all of your photos to look consistent with my brand, I do not allow couples the RAW files. Essentially, these raw files are like old film negatives. As a client, there isn’t much you can do with these files since they are raw and unedited. The magic happens when I import the files into my editing software and hand edit each image for you.
8. How do you ensure our image files are kept safe after our wedding day ends?
Quite honestly, this is one of the most important questions you should ask any photographer that you are considering booking for a session or wedding. While it is important to choose a photographer who has the skills to capture your day perfectly, it is also important to ensure they have a very specific plan on how they save your images and back them up until the images are delivered to you.
For starters, while I am photographing any session or wedding, the images are saved to two separate cards within my camera. This ensures if something happens to one of the cards, such as file corruption, I have a second card that is working as the backup for all of your images.
As soon as I get home, I switch into those comfy sweats, grab a glass of wine, and I get busy importing your images before I ever go to bed. Once the images are on my computer’s hard drive, I copy them over to an external hard drive. I also have a cloud backup system that works around the clock to copy my computer to the cloud on a server hosted offsite, just in case my house burns down, someone steals my computer or hard drive, or both.
I store the cards from your wedding in a safe place until all the images are delivered to you through your online gallery. They will not be reused or cleared until I know you have the images in your hands.
From wedding day to gallery delivery day, you can rest easy knowing your images are safely stored in five separate locations – two sets of original cards from wedding, computer, external hard drive, and cloud backup. I am grateful that I have never lost any client images, but I am certainly not perfect and it can happen to even the best photographers. I will do everything in my absolute power to ensure your images are protected and safe until they are edited and returned back to you.
9. Can we order prints or albums directly from you?
Yes, absolutely! When you receive your online gallery, there is actually a professional print lab that is connected to make it easy for you to get those photos printed and hung on the walls of your home. I love that I can offer the connected print lab because it can take a lot of effort to download your images, choose your favorites, upload those to a consumer lab, choose all your prints, and finally get them ordered. With the lab connected right to your gallery, all you have to do is click the shopping cart on the image you want to order and add the print or product to your cart; it is just so convenient for you to receive your gorgeous images quicker.
For albums, you can order through the gallery store if you want to design yourself, or I’m happy to create a custom designed album for you. Your wedding album will most likely be your first family heirloom that you pass along for generations, so it is important to be sure it’s printed to stand the test of time, and the heirloom albums I offer are absolutely stunning and will last a lifetime.
When you print with me, I know the products you receive with your precious images are professional grade, high quality, and long lasting. I also work directly with the lab to ensure that your images will print exactly as I have edited them, so they always look beautiful and true to life when they are delivered. Plus, I do a happy dance knowing you are printing gorgeous art that will hang in your home for years to come, and that’s truly the honor of a lifetime.
10. What is the backup plan if you are unable to shoot our wedding for an unexpected reason?
I’ve been so fortunate to never miss a wedding or session in all my years as a photographer, but life happens. It would take something catastrophic for me to miss any wedding, but we have a contract in place that will go into effect to ensure you are taken care of for your wedding day.
If I was unable to make it to your wedding, my second photographer would most likely become the main photographer for the day or until I can get to the wedding, depending on the situation. If my second photographer isn’t available, let’s say we are traveling together and are in an accident on the way to your wedding, I have a community of amazing photographers from which I would find someone who would take care of you and do a fantastic job photographing your day.
Depending on the situation, I may hire the photographer to shoot the wedding for me and edit the images, or we’d refund you the money for services not provided and you could use that to pay your photographer. Overall, any photographer we find to cover your day in case of emergency will be willing to shoot your wedding upfront and worry about the financial end of things after.
Ultimately, In any emergency situation, I will always do my best to contact you and stay in touch until we have locked in a photographer to cover your wedding day. I consider my clients family, and I would never want to leave you in a bind on one of the most fun days of your life.
Again, I have never, ever, ever missed a wedding. Ever. But while it can be scary to think about, emergencies do happen, and you should feel confident knowing that I have your best interests at heart and will ensure you are covered in case of the worst.
11. Do you have backup equipment in case of break or malfunction during our wedding?
Oh, this is such an important question! It’s certainly not fun to think about something happening to my equipment, but both my second shooter and I come with backup equipment for everything we are shooting with. This includes backup camera bodies, lenses, flashes, batteries, flash stands, and cards for our cameras.
During your ceremony, you will find me rocking a double camera harness to be able to constantly carry two cameras on my person for the entirety of your ceremony. I find this so important because if my main camera malfunctions right as the officiant says “Now you may kiss your bride!” I will quickly grab the other camera and capture that picture-perfect first kiss as newlyweds!
A guest starts going hard on the Cha Cha Slide and knocks over my flash stand? I’ll grab my other flash stand and flash and we’ll keep going like nothing ever happened. And don’t forget, we are shooting on dual cards during your entire wedding day, so if a card malfunctions, we have all your images safely stored on the second card. We are fully prepared to capture every moment no matter what.
12. What do we need to do in order to book you for our date?
When you’re ready to book, I will send you my Wedding Photography Booking Form. This is a three-part document that makes it super easy for me to collect all relevant information about the two of you, while giving you an opportunity to select your package, any add-ons you’d like.
Once the booking form is complete, you will access the contract, which I use with every one of my clients. The contract will lay out all the terms of our agreement as well as what’s included in the services you are booking. The contract just makes sure we are both protected in a legally binding agreement.
The signed contract and non-refundable retainer are due in order to officially book your date. The retainer is 50% of the total collection price, and this is put toward your final balance. The remaining 50% is due 30 days prior to your wedding day.
With the booking form, contract, and invoice being online, it makes it super easy to complete and effortless for you to make things official with me! Not to mention, the invoice is readily available to you at any time, so you can always login to your client portal and make payments toward your final balance along the way if that works better for your budget.
Whew! There you have it! Those are the top questions couples ask me and the ones that every couple should ask any photographer they are considering to capture their wedding!
Like what you see here and ready to chat with me about photographing your wedding day? Get in touch!