Over the course of your wedding planning process, there are so many wedding-related decisions that you will make. Selecting your team of pros can be some of the most important.
When deciding on the right photographer to hire, it’s likely that you will reach out to a few different companies as you begin your research. If you set up interviews with potential candidates, here are 10 important questions to ask your wedding photographer.
Here’s What to Ask Your Potential Wedding Photographer
Planning to talk to a potential photographer that you’re considering to capture the big day? Make sure to ask these questions so that you can determine if they’re the best fit. To start, here are some of the foundational questions to add to your list.
1. What sets you apart from others in the industry?
Why this is important: While this may seem like a good question to end with, we think it’s the best place to begin. This is a good question to ask first because it will give you a sense of what they feel is most important to share with you.
Here’s our answer: Joy Photo and Video focus on service and quality to help give you the best experience possible. We pride ourselves on custom packages, dedicated bridal consultants, clear communication, and organization. We hire the top 10% of wedding photography and videography professionals in the industry. We look for people who are service focused, have developed exceptional technical skills, and who have ample experience shooting weddings. Our brides love our team, and we are confident you will, too!
2. What is your photography style?
Why this is important: You will want to partner with someone who can accurately reflect your relationship and the photography style sets the tone. Styles can range from a traditional or classic style, to photojournalistic or candid, vintage, dark and moody, or artistic. This is one of the most important questions to ask your wedding photographer.
Here’s our answer: We have a large team of Joy photographers across the United States. This means that we offer a range of photography styles. Depending on what you’re looking for, we can make sure you’re partnered with someone who has a similar vision.
Most of our photographers capture classic photographs with a balanced mix of both posed and candid. We use light to our advantage so that the outcome often leads to bright and airy photos.
No matter the style, or goal is to evoke the sentiment of…you guessed it…joy!
3. What kind of packages do you offer and what does a booking process look like?
Why this is important: Asking for a menu of services will give you a sense of the variety of offerings. You will likely find that one of the most efficient and budget-friendly ways to book your creative professionals is to purchase a package, so it’s best to find a company who offers them.
As you get clarity on the options available, asking about the booking process will give you a better sense of how it feels to work with them, such as when payments are due and if payment plans are available.
Here’s our answer: Your package can range anywhere from $2000- $4000+ (for both photo and video), depending on you and your wedding needs. Our packages are custom and personalized just for you and your wedding day. Generally, if you have a smaller wedding, you'll only need one photographer and one videographer. But if you have a larger wedding, you can add second shooters as needed.
We mainly build your package on the size of your wedding by guest count, and the number of hours of coverage that you'll need for your wedding. Your packages can include audio of vows and speeches, aerial drone coverage, documentary style editing, video live streaming, and extra sessions, and more! We generally ask for a 50% deposit, but we can make payment plans, without interest, with as low as a 25% deposit to secure your date.
After you book, your dedicated bridal consultant will work with you personally to get wedding details, timelines, and shot lists organized for your day. Next, you will have your introduction call and begin to build your relationship with your professional wedding photo and video team.
4. Can you share portfolios of your work and reviews from real couples?
Why this is important: While this seems like a basic need, it’s what you do with the information you receive that determines if it will be helpful. When you’re reviewing samples of their work, begin to see how it compares to the vision you have for your big day. While the vibe for weddings will change from one to the next, most photographers provide consistent styles of photography. You may also be able to glean insights, like whether they shoot a majority of indoor or outdoor weddings.
It’s one thing for a photographer to tell you that they are great, but it’s another to see their work and then hear about it from a real couple who worked with them. Find out if they have links to review websites where couples posted them directly, without being potentially edited or curated by them.
Here’s our answer: Engagement and wedding galleries shot by many Joy team members in a variety of settings can be found on our website. Click on ‘Portfolio’ and then choose the location which you’re interested in. You can review both photo and video assets which span across different places, from Texas to Florida.
We’ve also pulled together reviews from real couples into this article (captured directly from The Knot and WeddingWire.) At the time of this posting, we have an average review of 4.9 stars on The Knot and 5 stars on WeddingWire!
5. If I work with you as my photographer, can I choose my videographer, location, and other wedding partners?
Why this is important: You might find that some professionals have exclusive partners in a specific area of the industry (especially with common intersections such as photography and videography.) Whether or not you already have your desired professionals in place, this will be important to have in the back of your mind as you begin to put your team together.
Here’s our answer: We’re open to partnering with other professionals in the industry. One of the perks of working with us is that we have a team of both photographers and videographers who meet the high-quality standards which we set for our professionals. In many cases, these team members have shot many weddings together which can help the logistics of the day go much more smoothly.
We also have valued Joy partners across the United States, from wedding officiants to wedding planners. You will find that if your team members are already comfortable with working with one another, the foundation of support underneath you will feel more solid.
Wedding Logistics to Ask a Photographer About Before Hiring Them
As we continue our list of questions to ask your wedding photographer, here are some more specific things to ask related to wedding logistics.
6. Where are you located and are there any travel fees?
Why this is important: Instead of assuming that a photographer works exclusively within the city or state they live, it’s helpful to understand the extent of their coverage. This might mean that there’s an opportunity to have someone further away come in for your wedding, or more flexibility if there are significant changes in your planned venue location. If travel is an option, make sure to find out what the incremental fees will be. These vary widely from one company to the next so you don’t want to be surprised later in the brooking process.
Here’s our answer: We are headquartered in Austin, Texas and serve couples across the Lone Start state. Generally, we don't charge any travel fees. However, if your wedding is too remote from one of our main city hubs (Austin, DFW, San Antonio or Houston), there will likely be some travel fees. In these cases, your team is probably driving long distances and my need to get a place to sleep after your wedding. Most weddings are local, so this is not usually a problem. But, if your wedding is far away, we’ll plan with you to make sure everything runs smoothly.
7. Can I request specific photos for your shot list?
Why this is important: Some photographers have very specific shot lists which they adhere to so it’s good to know how flexible they are. In addition to flexibility, this will help you better understand their processes on determining which photos to capture. Getting alignment on this prior to the big day could make or break your levels of satisfaction when you receive your wedding album. Begin to think through now: are there photos which you feel you must have captured? Certain poses, set up with loved ones, or wedding details? If you decide this in advance, then you will have time to communicate this with your wedding photographer before it’s too late. (Don’t wait until the big day because there will be a lot of other things on your mind!)
Here’s our answer: Yes! We will provide you with a standard shot list which are built into a custom timeline. And if you partner with us for both photo and video, the timeline will cater to all Joy team members supporting your big day. Our timeline template allows you to include your ‘VIPs’ for each portion of the wedding day. This informs our team what is most important to you so that we capture the shots that we know you can’t do without. This also gives you the ability to add your own inspired custom moments throughout the day, without feeling like you’re starting from scratch. (Win-win.)
8. Will I receive a contract when I hire you with details on your policies?
Why this is important: Finding this out in advance will make you feel more prepared if something does go wrong. This is increasingly important to engaged couples because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. A contract may include policies such as hours of coverage, cancelation guidelines, payment schedules, and liability insurance.
Here’s our answer: We provide our couples with an agreement which details everything we’ve agreed to. We take pride in not ‘surprising’ you with anything in the fine print so that you’re comfortable with the proposal agreement by the time that it gets signed.
When it comes to our policy on cancellations and refunds, there are lots of scenarios that can happen and it’s important for you to know how we professionally handle those. If something unforeseen occurs, we can either postpone your wedding or cancel all together. Remember though, 50% of the value of your wedding is non-refundable.
If you need to change your date, one of the advantages of working with us is that we have a team. This allows us to be flexible to adjust our calendar to work with you. And no, we do not charge date change fees! We do not guarantee we will make every scenario work, but we will do our best!
9. When do I get my photos, and do I get rights to my photos?
Why this is important: These answers can vary significantly from one wedding professional to the next. Since you’ll have high anticipation after you’re married, it is good to know planned timelines so that you have the right expectations. You should also find out if they offer sneak peeks of a few highlights from the wedding, prior to delivering all the photos. Depending on the size of your team, it’s common for hundreds, if not thousands, of photos to be captured. Narrowing them down and editing the selected shots can take time.
Most couples forget to ask about whether they will receive raw photos or get rights to ‘own’ their own photos. If your pro doesn’t provide you with full rights, then there will be added fees if you’d like to share or print additional photos.
Here’s our answer: Within 4-6 weeks after your wedding, you will receive your photos and video and any other items we promised to deliver. We provide you with access to your own personal online photo album. And depending on the package you purchase, this could also include a physical printed album. We give you all the rights to your photos and do not include watermarks.
10. What should I expect from you on the day of the wedding?
Why this is important: If you’re seriously considering hiring someone, this is one of the most important questions to ask your wedding photographer. Have them walk you through a high-level flow of what to expect on the big day. This is where you’ll want to listen closely for punctuality, back up contingency plans, and how they work with other professionals on your wedding team. You might also want to find out about planned attire or expectations for providing them with meals, just so there are no surprises.
Here’s our answer: In the days leading up to your wedding day, you will receive continual support and clear communication in case you have any updates or changes. So by the time that you get to the wedding, you will already have a connection with your photographer. Our team is punctual and has a great reputation for how we partner with other pros in the industry.
Many of our photographers have years of experience supporting weddings in different locations, from a variety of cultures, and representing many unique themes. Our goal is to help things run so smoothly on the day of the wedding that you barely notice we are there. We understand how intimate and special a wedding day will be and won’t get in the way of that. It’s our goal to bring you more joy and help bring your vision to life.
We hope this helped you determine what the best questions to ask your wedding photographer before ‘sealing the deal’. If you’d like to get more tips, here are some helpful articles from Brides and Here Comes the Guide.
Have more questions you’d like for us to answer? Fill out this form to get started.
[Photoshoot in the spotlight: Daniela and Carlos in Dallas, Texas.]
The Joy Team