The Essential Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

A List of "Must Have" Wedding Photos

Sarah McKay Photography ​  

After you recite your vows and exit your ceremony, see your reception space for the first time, and spend the night on the dance floor surrounded by your family and friends, your wedding day will eventually come to a close. Your photos—one of the only tangible pieces you will have from your wedding day—are how you will revisit your wedding during the days, weeks, and years after you celebrate. Not only do you want to love your wedding photos, but you also want to love your wedding photographer. From initial research to guiding you through your wedding day, we thought we would share 15 questions to ask your photographer and three bonus questions to ask yourself.

For Your Wedding Photographer

  1. Why do you love photographing weddings? Because your photographer’s personality is key, asking a question like this one will offer a peek into who your photographer is as a person and why they photograph couples and weddings year after year.
  2. What excites you about our wedding? No one wants to feel as though they are simply a number, so inquiring why your potential photographer is excited about your day, in particular, will offer great insight. When anyone is passionate about their work, the results are typically stellar.
  3. Have you photographed at our venue before? If your venue is in a large city or just popular in your area, your photographer may have photographed there before. Ask what they enjoy most and even what they enjoy least about your space. Disclaimer: Don’t let your photographer’s answers sway you completely. Professionals often work in new-to-them spaces, and they do so wonderfully.
  4. How many hours does your package include? Before you ever sign a contract with a photographer, make sure you review the hours included in their packages. You want to make sure the timing for your day (getting ready, ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, portraits, and even time in between events) matches up with the hours offered. Ten hours of coverage is one of the more popular time allotments, and it’s usually a great amount.
  5. Do you capture engagement photos? An engagement session is a great way to meet your photographer and spend time in front of his or her camera. This will allow you to feel much more comfortable together on your wedding day, plus you will receive photos you can use for save-the-dates, guest books, and more.
  6. How do you like to structure your timeline? If you’re not planning to work with a wedding planner, your photographer will likely build and run your wedding day timeline. It’s key to know when (and where!) photos will happen throughout the day. Hint: Ask your photographer for a copy of the timeline one to two weeks before your wedding day to ensure you agree with all of the details. Then make sure bridesmaids, groomsmen, and family members are aware of the plan.
  7. Will you have a second shooter? Many photographers include a second shooter or assistant photographer in their wedding packages. The second shooter and the photographer often split up the day’s early moments (i.e., if the photographer is capturing the bride getting ready, the second shooter is capturing the groom). Second shooters also offer another wedding day perspective during your ceremony and reception, and it’s nice knowing backup is already in place.
  8. How do you handle family dynamics? Your wedding day is not the time to hide family dynamics from your photographer. Tell them everything. Your photographer has likely experienced it before, and he or she will know how to help you keep the peace.
  9. What details should I make sure to have with me on my wedding day? Photographers like to capture rings, veils, flowers, and stationery together while you’re getting ready. Ask what details you should keep with you to make sure these shots happen without a frantic search to find your soon-to-be spouse’s wedding ring.
  10. Where will shots be captured? Ask where (and when) your photographer will capture your portraits as a couple, as well as those of your wedding party and family. If you have locations in mind, make sure to share them.
  11. Do you encourage couples to do a first look? Knowing whether your photographer favors first looks or not may help you decide which option will work best to keep your timeline on point and your vision at heart.
  12. What do you do in the event of weather? Plain and simple: what’s the plan if the weather is not bright and sunny?
  13. What are your meal requirements? Your venue manager will likely ask how many wedding professionals will be eating dinner and what they require. Make sure to include your photographer in the mix.
  14. When can I expect to receive my photos? Some photographers eagerly send sneak peeks, while others wait to send the complete gallery a few weeks down the line.
  15. How will our photos be delivered to us? Ask if you will need to purchase prints or albums through your photographer or if you will own the rights to your photos.

For You

  1. Do I like the photographer’s personality? Your photographer is about to experience every moment of your wedding day right by your side. Simply put, make sure you like them.
  2. Do I feel I know enough about the photographer? Review their website, explore their social media channels, read reviews, and talk to friends who have worked with them. Make sure you feel as though you know (and truly like) your photographer before ever signing a contract.
  3. Do I like their photography style and medium? There are photographers who work in film, and there are others who prefer digital photography. Some photographers favor natural light, while others favor darker shots. If you love candid shots, make sure they are something your photographer captures well and often. If portraits are important to you, review past examples that your photographer has taken.