(Closed) Questions for photographer

posted 5 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 2
1317 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - NH

If you have a certain kind of shot you want, ask to see examples.  I wanted sparkler photos and my photographer said she has done plenty, etc. but obviously hadn’t when it was on the big day and I could tell she had no clue.

Post # 3
288 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

View original reply
SaugaBride:  This is the long list I found on the knot of questions we asked:

  1. Name and contact info for you and your photographer
  2. Name of the photographer(s) who will be shooting your wedding (and the number of assistants, if applicable)
  3. Correct date(s), exact number of hours, starting time(s) and specific addresses for every location your photographer will be expected to go, from the rehearsal dinner to the morning-after brunch
  4. Subjects to be covered, including getting ready, ceremony, cocktail hour and reception
  5. Detailed shot list you’ve agreed to
  6. Timing for breaks (like your band or DJ, your shooter will need to be fed and to take a break—schedule it during dinner to avoid missing any amazing dance floor shots, or if you’re having a second shooter, ask them to alternate breaks)
  7. Number of cameras that will be used and which formats (digital, film or both)
  8. Number of proofs you’ll receive, and how you’ll receive them (digital or hard copies)
  9. Date your proofs will be ready and how long they’ll be available to view online
  10. When and how you’ll receive your order (albums, prints) once you place it, and any other package or delivery fees and details
  11. If shooting film, number of rolls to be shot, whether in color and/or black and white, type of film and cost per additional rolls (if needed)
  12. Copyright details — who owns the rights to the photos, and if there are any restrictions on posting or distributing the photos on social media or elsewhere (include stipulations for where your photographer is allowed to share your photos, especially if you’d prefer that they aren’t used for promotional materials or submitted to magazines without your permission)
  13. Non-disparagement clauses that prevent you from leaving negative reviews online (it’s so important to see if these are included—some couples are coming back from their honeymoon to lawsuits because they didn’t read the fine print!)
  14. What you would like the photographer to wear (optional)
  15. Total cost (itemized, if possible)
  16. Overtime fee, if applicable
  17. Reorder price, if you decide to order additional prints later
  18. Deposit amount and date paid (usually when you book)
  19. Remaining balance and due date
  20. Cancellation and refund policy
Post # 4
7283 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

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SaugaBride: Wedding photographer here! First things first, ask to see a FULL wedding gallery from start to finish, and ask them how many hours of coverage that wedding was booked for. That will answer a lot of your questions right off the bat. It will show you their shooting style, what they were able to capture, and delivery of a final product. It eliminates to need to ask them “do you capture….” (insert laundry list of silly things like “the kiss” “the rings”). 

I can tell you my biggest pet peeve question is “what is your style?”….and I urge people to stay away from that question. Have you seen my work? Do you like it? Yes? Ok, great….what does it matter how I classify my style? 

The answers to questions will also vary a lot depending on how much time you’ve got your photographer booked for. For example, an average wedding requires 8+ hours of coverage to adequitely capture everything. Asking them what moments they cover….if you’ve only booked them for 5-6 hours means you aren’t getting the same key moments that other people are…like the getting ready process or a first look. Those are definitely things to take into consideration.

Aside from that some questions I’d ask:

  • How many images can we expect? Industry standards are anywhere from 50-100 FINAL images per hour of coverage. That number varies greatly on the type of wedding. Weddings with little “action” or the  same 20 people dancing the entire reception yield less images than a jam packed wedding.
  • Do you have business & liability insurance, can you provide our venue with a copy? ANY photographer shooting weddings should have insurance. Period. No exceptions. They should also be able to provide you with a copy of that. Our insurance covers not only us but our gear.
  • Do you have sufficient backup gear? A photographer should NEVER go to a wedding w/out comparable backup gear.
  • What is included in the package? If you are unsure of what they tell you, ask them to clarify.
  • What is the turnaround time on delivery of final images? Industry standards are anywhere from 6-12 weeks depending on the photographer. Prime weddings months (May/June & Sept/Oct) turnoud tends to be on the longer end simply due to volume. 

Some other general info I feel it’s helpful to know:

I try to stay away from the Knot lists of what to ask a photographer. Things like “how many cameras do you shoot”…it’s sort of irrelevant. If they have sufficient backup, it really boils down to their own shooting style. I’m a petite photographer. While I always carry backup and it’s at a fingertip reach, I shoot primarily with ONE body at a time, changing lenses, because wearing two bodies + lenses is just not comfortable with me. Again, this ALL boils down to – do you like what you see with their work? Same thing for “what camear do you shoot with”. Any pro should be using pro-level gear. I do. However, I’ve picked up my SIL’s Canon Rebel with a basic 50mm lens, turned it to manual, and shot some amazing images when teaching her how to use her camera. Would I shoot a wedding with it? No, but I could. If you like what you see, image and quality wise, their camera doesn’t make a difference.

Second Shooters – Unless it’s a husband/wife team, most photographers contract second shooters for their weddings. It’s difficult to employ a full-time second shooter (and be able to pay them enough to make a living), and therefor, they usually work with a few different ones and contract out for weddings. Because of this, it can be difficult for a photographer to answer “who is your second shooter” because at the time you book they probably won’t have that nailed down. This goes back to seeing a full gallery – if you like the work you see, you’re most likely getting a comparable photographer.

CONTRACTS – Never hire anyone who a) doesnt’ have a contract, and b) has a small contract. Every question you ask a photographer, and every detail, should be outlined in the contract. My own contract is every bit of 8+ pages long. It covers everything from inclimate weather to illness, to when images will be delievered, what the package includes, etc. 

Copyright – This is the #1 biggest miss-information area in photography. Any photographer who includes a “Copyright Release” is generally someone who is new to the industry or does not understand themselves – which is scary. The photographer ALWAYS retains copyright of the images, and should be providing the clients with a “Print Release”. By giving up copyright, the photographer no longer has any claim to using the images – not on their website, not for marketing, not for showcasing on their blog, nada. No legit photographer making a living is going to give up their ability to use the images to book future events. BUYING copyright is certainly an option, but it usually comes with a VERY hefty pricetag. Instead of asking if you get a Copyright Release, ask them at what resultion your images will be delivered and what kind of release is included. 


At the end of the day, you just have to choose someone whos work you love, and trust them to do their job. It’s no secret money talks. A $1500 photographer is not going to be the same as a $3000 photographer. It all boils down to what you’re looking at – because again, the answers to most of these quetions will be vastly different depending on who you’re talking to. 


Hope that helps! 🙂

Post # 5
178 posts
Blushing bee

View original reply
starfish0116:  Thanks so much for sharing that info! Super helpful! 

Post # 6
663 posts
Busy bee

How long have you been in business? 

Do you have any travel fees?

Do you have any time limits? 

Do you have a shot limit?

When will I get my pictures back?

Do you offer prints, canvases, albums, etc? 

Post # 7
44 posts
  • Wedding: November 2015

Great  information

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by  mznaterz.
Post # 8
553 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

+1 for

View original reply
starfish0116 as a photographer who’s not a fan of the knot lists. 😀 Everything she said is great…(though I do disagree a bit on her point about the length of the contract. I worked really hard to pare mine down to normal person language/attention span while still covering all the salient points.) 

also, YES YES YES to the copyright thing. and then 1000 more yesses.

I start at 6 hours and find that for weddings all in the same place, that’s usually enough time if the timeline is strategic. I definitely let clients know if I think they need more based on a few factors:<br />1) guest list size. More people makes everything take a little longer…in just about every way.<br />2) family size. Small immediate families take about 10 minutes to get every conceivable family grouping…Big families obviously take longer.<br />3) bridal party size. Second verse, same as the first. (This is more relevant if you want anything more creative than everyone in a line and smile. there is nothing wrong with the classics…just know that posing large groups in more artistic ways takes more time.)<br />4) how much getting ready coverage and how much dancing coverage they want. If they want the full transformation, they need more coverage. If they’re going to a salon elsewhere 5 hours before the ceremony, showing up half an hour before dress time is plenty to grab the details and a few touch-up photos which will work to tell the story in the album. I tell people I can get adequate dancing coverage in 3 songs if time is an issue. No lie. 90% of the people who are going to dance…dance to one of those songs. (The Michael Jackson or similar opener, the Frank Sinatra or similar 2nd song/slow dance, and the 3rd modern pop/hip hop party cranker. :-D)<br />5) do they want to go to several different locations on the grounds of their venue for photos.

Ask them what they do when their time is up. Make sure they always check in to make sure you don’t want them to stay (and if you do, how do they handle that? I usually don’t ask them to worry about it that night and just email them a reminder that I won’t start working on their photos until that last hour has been paid for.)

If you’re on the fence about a 2nd shooter, ask them how they work. Ask to see a wedding with a 2nd and one without. I work alone a lot, and there are definite positives to having a 2nd shooter, but not having one doesn’t mean you can’t get good coverage and have a complete set of images. (what starfish said about using different 2nd shooters is totally on point.) 

Also, asking to see a full wedding will tell you if the full set of images you’ll get will be consistent with what is shown on their website. I know photographers who heavily photoshop their website portfolio and do a lot less to the hundreds of pictures they give to the bride and groom, selecting a smaller set of favorites to give their special sauce treatment to. Other photographers (like me) do less processing overall, but everything on the website is in the same state it was when it was delivered to the bride and groom. Neither is better than the other, you just have to decide what your preference is.


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