Figuring Out Logistics
Are you free on my wedding day?
It's the most basic question but it needs to be asked before either of you spend time getting to know each other. If the photographer is not available, move on.
Are you familiar with my wedding venues?
Some photographers like the spontaneity of discovering a venue for the first time on the day they shoot it. Others like to suss out a spot so they know the lay of the land beforehand and don't miss any important locale.
Will you be my photographer?
At a large studio, the person you meet with may not be the photographer who shows up on your wedding day. If a different one will be assigned to you, meet with the person to evaluate their style and make sure you like their personality—you'll be spending many hours together on a happy but intense day.
Do you have a backup photographer?
Cars break down, the flu strikes suddenly and other unforeseen things occasionally happen to undermine the best of intentions. Pros realize this and have an emergency plan—another photographer on call. Find out who understudies for your photographer and look at his or her recent weddings to make sure it's a good fit.
Are you comfortable taking charge?
Some photographers have amazing skills working a camera but not working a crowd. A photographer who shoots weddings should be able to rally groups of people and make them all look at the camera and (silently) say "Cheese!" at the same time.
What will you and any assistants wear to the wedding?
This is especially important at formal nuptials where a photographer wearing ripped jeans and red leather Vans will put a blot on the day's aesthetic. But don't ask the photographer to wear a tuxedo and dress shoes—a good photographer needs to be moving all day and must be comfortable.
You Mean Business
What's the total number of weddings you've shot?
The photographer doesn't have to be a 20-year veteran but if he or she is new to the wedding business or mostly does portraits, you'll want to know that upfront.
How would you describe your style?
The look of photos can be classified as traditional, artistic, photojournalistic, or documentary. Figure out what style you prefer by checking out recommended photographers' websites and discussing details in person.
Can you show me a wedding, from start to finish, that you've shot?
It's understandable for a photographer to produce a "greatest hits" book of photos since it shows off his or her best work but a complete wedding gives a more realistic idea of what you're hiring them to do.
Can I give you a list of shots I want?
No need to tell the professional to shoot the first dance or cake cutting but do let him or her know if you want a shot of you with your 14 first cousins or your husband's fraternity brothers.
Can I post your photos on Instagram?
Unless you have a personal-use copyright release with your photographer, you should ask permission to post any shots on social media. And if you do post them, remember to properly credit them!
Can I see a sample contract?
Don't hire anyone who doesn't have you sign a contract. This legal paper, which the vendor signs too, protects you and the photographer and should list every detail you agreed to, including when payments are due, how long the shoot will last, delivery dates, and the total fee.
Do you offer any packages?
These can save you money, so find out what the photographer offers and if you can customize them (such as swapping out rehearsal dinner coverage for an extra parents' album).