7 Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Written and Photographed by Curator Lisa of lisa kathan photography:

Your wedding day only happens once, and you can’t redo it! So you want to be sure the person who’s capturing all those amazing moments knows what they’re doing and has the knowledge and experience to back it up. Here’s a few important questions that all couples should be asking before hiring a wedding photographer.

Are you insured?
If you’re talking to a photographer who is not insured, it should be a red flag to you. Why is this important? First, many venues require that your vendors carry insurance in order to work there.
But also, and importantly, an insured photographer is a professional photographer. If they’re not insured, they’re not really professional, and you don’t want to hire a photographer that’s not committed to their business and your wedding.

Do we connect?
OK, this isn’t really a question you can ask your photographer, but you should definitely meet with them in person or on video chat to find out if they get you. You’ll spend more time with your wedding photographer than possibly anyone else on your wedding day, so be sure you actually like them.

How do you plan to light the spaces we’re using?
If they’re photographing any part of your wedding that has dark spaces, or is at night, your wedding photographer will need to use artificial light. Your photographer should have the equipment and skill to light even the darkest spaces. Unless everything is during daylight hours and outdoors, they should have a plan to light your wedding. You might also want to ask to see either a full wedding gallery or photos of the reception to get an idea of how it might look on your wedding day.

You can read lots more about light on your wedding day HERE.

If we hire you, will you be at my wedding?
It’s important to know that if you’re building a relationship with a photographer, and you have an expectation for them be there on your wedding day, they’ll be the one who shows up.
Some very busy wedding photographers hire associates, which is a photographer who becomes the main photographer on your wedding day. Actually, having an associate capture your wedding can be one way to save on our photography budget. But either way, you should be able to meet with and communicate with whoever the lead photographer is for your wedding.

Our wedding a small…will you cancel for a bigger one?
I have actually heard of photographers cancelling on smaller weddings, so they can shoot a larger, more profitable wedding. It’s rare when this happens, but if you’re planning a wedding where you’re not having a full day of photography, you might want to ask the photographer what their policy is on this.

What’s included?
Some photographers might charge less up front, but only include the wedding photography and an album in their pricing, with the digital images being an additional cost. Others may charge more up-front, but will include all the digital images in their packages. Be sure you understand what you’re getting.

What happens if something happens to you?
If you hire a solo photographer (which most photographers are), you should ask what their plan is if something happens to them (like an emergency). Don’t worry about asking, any photographer that has a plan will be more than happy to share!
Many photographers have an extensive network of quality photographers with a similar style that they can call on in an emergency. Others have associates that work with them, but it’s good to know that your photographer has a plan, just in case.

Questions you may think are important, but aren’t really!

How much do you charge?
Your budget is absolutely important, but if it’s the leading question you’re asking, you may miss out on the most vital questions when hiring a wedding photographer. Budget should play a role, but if your aim is to hire the cheapest photographer you can find, you’ll most likely be disappointed with the end-result.
Be prepared to pay at least mid-range for your area for a quality wedding photographer. In the Chicago area, that’s $3,000 and up for a full day of wedding photography (not including engagement sessions, albums, etc.).

How many photos will we get?
Don’t choose a photographer solely based on how many images you’ll get after the wedding. Consider the quality of the images. Most top photographers deliver around 75-100 per hour, so it’s possible that if you’re getting way more than that, you’re not getting the photographer’s best work.

Have you photographed at our venue?
Whether or not a photographer has shot at your wedding venue is no big deal to an experienced wedding photographer. Some will scout your venue in advance of your wedding to get an idea of what to expect, and others will show up early on your wedding day, but any photographer with quality equipment and experience should be able to handle any kind of situation that might occur on your wedding day.