• Elizabeth Nelson

10 of the Most Important Questions to ask your Wedding Photographer.

Before you decide on who is going to photograph your wedding day, here are some of the most import questions to ask the photographers you are considering as well as answers/tips from a professional wedding photographer herself. ME! 💕

Did you and your fiancé every have one of those date nights where it seemed like you just interviewed one another? I remember on a third or fourth date with my now husband, we sat across from each other in a pizza joint and bounced question after question off one another.


We came away from that date knowing a lot more about one another and it did wonders for our relationship moving forward. To this day we still sit down and find ourselves asking each other something or another that we don't know about them.


So when it comes to your wedding vendors, you want to do the same thing! You need to "try on" or "date" your vendors to see if they are the right fit for you and your wedding day. As a professional wedding photographer, here are the top 10 questions and answers to ask those photographers you are interested in.


1. Do you have my date available?

This might seem like a no brainer, but there are a lot of times that I will have an inquiry come through without a wedding date.


When you do reach out to photographers, even if you aren't 100% sure on a date, go ahead and give a rough number or time of year so that we can know where to look on our calendars. If you do have a date, let us know from the beginning so that we can know right away if we are open for your wedding day.


More often than not, if a blank inquiry comes through, a seasoned photographer wont let the conversation go too far without asking. Otherwise, we've all gotten excited about working with one another only to find out that date is booked.


2. How long have you been photographing weddings? How many have you photographed?

I think for some people this is an important question to ask because you really do want to have a sense of our level of professionalism before booking with us.


When I get asked this question I like to get straight to the point about how many years of experience I have with wedding photography and then explain how many I have done in that time frame.


A good number of weddings, in my opinion would be anywhere from 25-30+ a year and more than 3 years of experience. The reason why I say more than 3 is because even now, as I am entering into my 4th year of photographing weddings full time, I can look back on my work two years ago and see all of the improvement I have made between now and then.


3. Can we see a full wedding gallery?

This is extremely important to ask for if you haven't already been able to see them on their website. The reason why it is so important to see a full wedding gallery is to see a whole days worth of photography and not just those picture perfect social media posts.


This also gives you a sense of how a photographer will flow through the day. How many detail shots are there? How many getting ready of the bride vs the groom? How is the quality of light during the ceremony or after once it's gotten dark? Do they work with flashes or only natural light?


You can tell a lot from scrolling through a full wedding day gallery about the quality a photographer is able to produce. It will also give you a better sense of your photographer’s style, as well as their attention to detail. Make sure these are from weddings they’ve shot in the past few months so they’re an accurate representation.


4. Have you photographed at our venue or ones similar?

This will help out both you and your photographer. Local wedding photographers will have a handful of venues that they have photographed at a lot and some they haven't had the chance to.


If your venue is one that they haven't photographed at yet, don't be alarmed. When we haven't photographed at a wedding venue before, we typically go a week or a couple days before your wedding to scout it out. Getting a chance to see where your ceremony is going to take place, scope out locations for your newlywed photos and possibly learning where we can and can not go are all things we will figure out during our visit.


That way when it comes to your big day, we won't be totally caught off guard and photos will happen effortlessly like we have photographed there a hundred times.


5. What is your photography style?

Most of the time you will be able to tell our style based on the photos, galleries and stories we have shared, but it is absolutely a question to ask before booking.


For example, I consider my style of photography to be candid with a touch of documentary flare. Meaning, I like to be a fly on the wall and capture what is happening in the moment. I don't like to get super posed getting ready photos or have you do something over and over to get a shot. Of course if there are certain specific photos that you would like documented, we can work together to get them captured.


For your detail photos, I don't really get into super creative flat lays but rather use what is naturally a part of your day to show the little details off. For the ceremony, I will remain a fly on the wall and work to capture all of those fleeting emotional moments, the spontaneous laughter, and the quiet moments you share with your friends and family as they watch you tie the knot.


For the reception, I like to remain on the sidelines while you catch up with your guests at their tables and then get out onto the dance floor with y'all as you tear the night up.


Getting a good sense of how we like to photograph weddings is 100% something you should know about your photographer and align with as well. Everyone will have a certain flare that works for your wedding!


6. How much does everything cost?

Again this might seem like a no brainer, but a lot of people will wait until the very end to ask about price. While it isn't terrible to wait, you do want to make sure, especially if you are planning on a budget, that your photographer is within said budget or has a way to work with your budget before getting too excited. Otherwise it is even more of a bummer for the both of us if it doesn't work out.


When I get asked this question, I will typically like to jump on a phone or video chat in order to chat face to face and have the option of answering questions right away. Because wedding photography can come with a high price tag I like to be able to explain pricing in a realistic way so that you and your fiancé know exactly what you are paying for. It can help bring down the sticker shock as well if you are working within a budget.


I am a firm believer in the fact that wedding photography should not have to break the bank in order for you to get those perfect wedding photos you have been dreaming about.


7. What determines the final number of images we receive?

This is a difficult question to answer but I understand why a lot of couples will ask. Because you are spending a lot of money on photos, you are probably wanting to know exactly how many you will get but it's tricky, so let me say this.


Every wedding is different. That is the number one reason why it is so hard to give an exact number when we are asked this question. When I do get asked this question I like to explain it like this. Many factors will effect your final image count such as how many hours of coverage you are getting, your guest count, time spent between locations, how long or short your ceremony is, how many different events are happening throughout the day and at the reception and so on.


For example, a 6 hour wedding with no getting ready photos, a short ceremony and a more sit down style reception will result in fewer photos. A 6 hour day with getting ready photos, a short ceremony, a large guest count and several hours of dancing, toast giving, cake cutting and flower/garter tossing will result in a much higher photo count.


So if you do feel inclined to ask, having an understanding of how I approach your wedding day and aligning on what the most important photo moments are to you, will allow me to estimate how many photos you can expect. We really don't like to put such a precise amount on such a fluid event, but we can give you an idea!



8. Can our guests take photos during the wedding?

Having this conversation with your photographer is very important. A lot of us will have something written into our contract but every photographer will be different.


The reason why this is an important question to ask is because for professional wedding photographers we are charged with getting all of your most important moments captured and if guests are allowed to photograph as well, they can sometimes be a hinderance and cause us to miss photos.


Typically I will allow people to have "family photographers" during parts of the reception and during cocktail hour because there is room for us to "work" together. During getting ready, the ceremony, the family photos and newlywed photos are pretty much off limits because those are typically when your most important photo moments will happen and I can't afford to miss them.


However, I am always willing to chat about options and if there is some reason that you are wanting to allow your guests or a family friend to have photographing time, always bring it up and we can work through the options.


9. How do we receive our photos and when?

Once your day is over and done with, you will very much like to relive those moments captured so you need to have the conversation about when and how you are going to receive your photos.


Some photographers will give you a thumb-drive with all the photos and others will use online platforms. I prefer the latter because it is the easiest way to share with all of your friends and family once you've gotten your photos.


After your wedding, I will send you a customized URL that you can share and I strive to create a 48hour preview gallery whenever I can because I know how agonizing it can be to wait on the full gallery! From there it is typical to have your full gallery within in 2 weeks. During busy seasons, which fluctuate year to year, it can take slightly longer but I have yet to need a full month before sending a gallery. 3 weeks has been the longest it has taken me to send over a full gallery in my 4 years of photographing weddings.


10. What happens if something happens to you?

After everything you have put into planning your perfect wedding day, it can be a little nerve wracking to know that anything could happen the day of that could ruin your wedding. So what happens if your wedding photographer suddenly has to cancel?! This is such an important question to ask and a conversation that should be had prior to your wedding day.


Usually there is detailed information written about such events in a contract, but having a one on one chat with your photographer is best. For me, because I am the lead and only photographer in my business currently, if I were to suddenly fall ill or have a last minute emergency come up, I have it written that I am 100% held responsible for finding you a replacement photographer.


For me, I have an internal list of photographers who shoot in similar styles and have similar personalities to myself that I can call upon in order of such events. Although it is rare, you never know what can happen and so you must discuss what options and systems are in place if it ever did occur.


There are probably 100 more questions to ask your photographer, but these are some of the most important and most frequently asked. Never be afraid to ask us questions when it comes to your wedding day or about our business practices. We are here to capture your prefect dream wedding all while creating a stress-free environment from start to finish!


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Phoenix, Arizona  elizabeth@nelsoncinematic.com  480-268-5795

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