Your wedding will be one of the most important days of your life, and your wedding photographer will
help ensure that you’ll remember what it looked like forever. Given the importance of the
photographer, though, it’s absolutely imperative that you choose the right one.
There are a number of factors that will go into choosing your wedding photographer, ranging from your
budget to their availability. But before you commit, it’s important to meet with them to discuss your
questions, concerns, and expectations. Here are some of the most important questions to ask when
you’re trying to choose a wedding photographer.
How Would You Describe Your Style?
First of all, determine what kind of work they do artistically. Do they stick with traditional wedding day
shots? Do they do artistic work? Are they more like photojournalists that document the ceremony?
There are important questions, because you want to make sure they’ll capture the day in a way you
want to remember. Ask if they shoot in color, black and white, or both, and whether they shoot digitally
or on film—although both will create beautiful photos, film takes a tad longer to process.
Also, ask what their working style is. Do they prefer to capture natural moments as they unfold, or to
arrange and choreograph specific shots? Do they mind if you give them a list of shots that you want
taken, or do they prefer that you don’t cramp their artistic style? Also, ask what they’ll be wearing so
that you know if they’ll clash with the rest of the wedding.
What Experience Do You Have?
Ask the photographer how many weddings they have shot. This will give you a more accurate idea of
their experience than asking how long they have been shooting; a part-time photographer might only
shoot a few weddings per year while a very busy new photographer might have photographed hundreds of weddings in just a year or two. Ask how familiar they are with the style of photography you want and whether they have had any new or continuing training the past few years to sharpen their skills. Also, ask if you can see samples of their previous work. You might want to ask for pictures that are both retouched and original so you can compare their work on both; you can also ask for a number of
pictures from a single wedding to see if their style remains consistent. Be sure to ask for references, too! They should be able to provide you with a list of brides who have previously hired them. Ask these brides if they would recommend the photographer, how professional the photographer was, if they had any complaints, and if they are happy with the photos that they have received.
What If Something Goes Wrong?
Ask your photographer if they will be bringing backup cameras and lenses just in case an accident
happens. Also determine if they have insurance; you might be held liable if somebody trips over the
camera and injures themselves. Plus, find out what happens if they get sick or otherwise can’t make the wedding. Many big photography studios will simply send someone in their place, but this substitute might not have the artistic style you’re looking for. Ask if the photographer can give you a reference to someone who can cover for them if they can’t make it. Finally, be sure to ask them what will happen if the wedding runs longer than anticipated. Will be they able to stay late? What will they charge for overtime?
What Pictures Will I Get?
Make sure that you are clear from the start about how many and what type of pictures you will receive. How many prints will he or she provide and in what sizes? What type of paper will they be printed on? Does the photographer offer albums? Also find out what their policy is on electronic images. Will you receive a disk with pictures on it? Will the photos be posted online for you to access, and if so for how long? Does he retain the copyright on your pictures? (This is an important question because it may affect your ability to post your photos online later.) If she does not offer online images, you may wish to have your pictures scanned so that you can keep permanent digital copies. And if the photographer does not offer an album, you can look at an online service to create one for you, provided there are no copyright restrictions.
Can We See a Sample Contract?
This is possibly the single most important question on the list. Know what you’re going to sign up for
before you actually do. Make sure that the contract spells out exactly what the responsibilities of both
parties are and that it explains what you’ll be receiving. Avoid working with a photographer who doesn’t use contracts or won’t let you read it beforehand.
Choosing a photographer can be difficult, but if you look carefully you should be able to find a good one. These questions can help you pick the right person to document your perfect day.
Bryan Passanisi is a wedding guest blogger from Shutterfly. He recently became the new head of the Shutterfly blog. He currently resides in Redwood City. In his spare time he enjoys movies, reading and exercising.
Jennifer Gay and Elizabeth Klob Cicada Owners