10 Questions to Ask when hiring a Wedding Photographer

When I meet with newly engaged couples who are starting the planning process, sometimes they come prepared with lists of questions, and sometimes, they have no idea what to ask! I’d say it’s a little more common that people aren’t sure what they should be asking when they meet me. So I thought I’d do a quick post on the top 10 most common, and important questions (and my answers) that you should be asking when you are looking to hire your wedding photographer!

1.  How would you describe your photographic style?

  • I would describe my style as photojournalistic. I do have some editorial influences as well for things like details and portraits, but my style is mostly documentary for the whole day.

2.  How do you go about photographing a wedding day?

  • I like to be very hands off on a wedding day. I will set some things up during the getting ready portion of the day when photographing things like shoes/rings/dress/etc. but I like to be in the background capturing the day as it unfolds. I will of course give you some direction when we are taking bridal party and family photos. Most people have no idea what to do when they are in front of the camera, so no need to worry about that! I always tell people that when I’m taking photos of the bride and groom, I’ll have you look at me for some of the photos, but for the majority of them, I like to put you in a location and give you maybe a starting pose, but I like to let you just interact with eachother, and enjoy the time together before you spend the rest of the night surrounded by all of your friends and family (which we all know can be a little crazy at times!)

3.  Will you be photographing any other weddings that day?

  • Never! The only way I could imagine photographing two weddings in a day would be if I had two couples book me for just a few hours of coverage in the morning and then the evening. But that has never happened. 99% of the weddings I book are 6 hours or more (the majority being 8-10), and I would probably die if I had to shoot 2 in the same day. Too much stress on all involved. I may be photographing another wedding the day before or after your wedding day, but that’s no big deal at all. I’ve done 3 wedding weekends before with no problem (adrenaline is a real thing, guys, and there’s no shortage of it at a wedding, even if it is day 3), but that is a very rare occurance. When I do have more than one wedding in a weekend, I download and backup all of the wedding images from the first wedding the same night, and begin charging everything up again so I’m ready to go for the next day!

4. How long have you been photographing weddings?

  • I am in my 4th season of being what I would call a “real” wedding photographer. I shot my first wedding when I was a senior in high school, but I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I don’t really count that. I’ve lead shot probably close to 65 weddings now, and if you add in the weddings that I’ve second and third shot, it’s closer to 100 (maybe even more! That’s crazy to think about). And I think I love it even more after all of that than I did when I started! They just keep getting better, it’s pretty great.

5. Can I give you a shot list to work from?

  • If you want to give me a shot list, I’m not going to tell you no! However, I have shot a lot of weddings (like I said above), so I am going to automatically photograph almost all of the photos that I’ve seen on any shot list I’ve ever been given. (ex. you don’t have to tell me to photograph your first kiss, or the groom seeing you walk down the aisle) If there are unique shots, or photos that are suuuuper important to you, of course I want to know about it! So for those things that I may not be aware of, definitely let me know. The only part of the day that I almost always want to have a shot list for is family photos. It just makes it easier on everyone and ensures that we are efficient with our time, and that we don’t miss any important group photos.

6. How do we get our photos?

  • The first thing you will get is an online gallery of all your final images. These are downloadable right from the website (high res!) so you can have them instantly. You can also order professional prints through this gallery. Then you’ll get a USB of your images as well, usually 1-2 weeks after your online gallery is up (I have to order/load/ship your USB, so that takes a little extra time).

7. Can we see a complete wedding?

  • Yes! It’s always nice to see what an entire wedding looks like, especially in a world where we can just show you the very best! All of my client galleries are up on my proofing website www.katiericard.pixieset.com and you can see exactly what you’d get. I’m always happy to send you to a specific wedding that may be similar to what yours will look like so you don’t have to look through a million photos. 🙂

8. If my event lasts longer than expected, will you stay? Is there an additional charge?

  • I want to capture everything that’s important to you on your wedding day. Sometimes things happen, and you don’t get to start your first dance right when you planned it. So I’m going to stay until I get that. My general rule of thumb is that if we go under 30 minutes over, it’s not big deal, but once we get closer to an hour, I’ll pull you aside and we can decide if you want to add on extra hours to the day. Overtime hours are priced at my hourly rate. I have not yet had to charge anyone for overtime, but I never leave until my job is completely done.

9. Do you work with a second photographer?

  • I work with a second photographer for about 30% of my weddings. I have a few local photographers that I work with on a regular basis, and if they are unavailable, I hire someone who has a very similar style to mine and meet them before working together to make sure our personalities mesh well. My packages do not include a second photographer because I have found that I enjoy working alone, especially on the smaller weddings that don’t necessarily need a second body there. I’ve never had a problem capturing all of the important moments on my own. I do recommend adding a second photographer if you are looking to have separate getting ready photos (in locations that are not close by), or if you are going to have a very large wedding. The general rule of thumb is, if you think there will be a point in the day where you’d like photos of things happening in 2 places at the same time, you’ll need a second photographer (since I’m not magical unfortunately).

10. How do I book you as our wedding photographer?

  • This is my favorite question! haha 🙂 To book your wedding date, I require a 50% retainer when you sign the contract, and then the second half is due on or by the wedding date. You can do everything electronically and pay with a credit card, or you can mail me your contract with a check! It’s prettttty easy 🙂

Yay! So of course, there are lots of other questions that you can ask, but this is a pretty good start. It’s always good to meet your photographer in person so that you can make sure your personalities mesh well together and that you like them as a person in general. Remember, I’m going to be spending basically your entire day with you from getting ready to the dance floor, so if you think I’m annoying, neither of us want to deal with that. 😉 If there are more questions that you think should be on this list, let me know, and maybe I can add a few extras!

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