The Most Crucial Questions to Ask Wedding Photographers Before Booking

September 3, 2019

Having a list of questions to ask a wedding photographer before you book one for your big day is crucial. How else will you be able to gauge which wedding photographer is right for you?

There are so many factors that distinguish each wedding photographer, from style and experience to personality and prices. From finding out about their photography and work styles to their packages, pricing, and image delivery methods, you should have a handy set of questions to ask wedding photographers ready once you start your search.

That’s why we’ve put together this extensive list of questions to ask a wedding photographer before booking one. Use it when interviewing professional wedding photographers to help narrow down your choices for capturing your wedding day. And, of course, feel free to ask anything else that matters to you that doesn’t appear on our list.

Table of Contents

Questions to ask wedding photographers to see if it’s a fit

Questions to ask a wedding photographer when it’s a fit

Questions to ask wedding photographers before you book

Questions to ask wedding photographers to see if it’s a fit

Sometimes, you know right when you first lay eyes on a wedding photographer’s Instagram that they’re the one for you. Other times, you think you’ve found the one, but you need to make sure of a few things first.

That’s where this initial set of questions to ask a wedding photographer comes into play. These questions will help you get a feel for the wedding photographer in terms of style, experience, and personality.

You can also ask wedding photographers questions about what equipment they use and what medium they photograph in. Some wedding photographers invest more than others in the best cameras and lenses. And, there are photographers that still use film cameras as a complement to digital SLR cameras to add a timeless look to your wedding photos. That’s why these should be the first questions to ask a wedding photographer.

1. How would you describe your wedding photography style?

Why to ask:

That is the question. Wedding photographers have styles that range from sophisticated and elegant to cutesy and hokey, with lots of room in between. You can probably figure out where they fall within a few scrolls of their Instagram, but it pays to ask. Hearing a wedding photographer explain their style in their own words can go a long way in establishing a connection. Or, it could fail to make a spark.

How we’d describe the You Look Lovely style:

If you asked us this wedding photography question, we’d say that You Look Lovely has a romantic, timeless style that’s inspired by classic editorials and photojournalism.

We’re inspired by the fashion and documentary styles of Richard Avedon, Slim Aarons, and Annie Lebowitz’s pre-digital photography.

We love photographing outdoor weddings on medium-format film in natural light, while we avoid overly posed pictures whenever possible.

And we love capturing candid moments that illuminate joy, connection, and emotion.

As a couple ourselves who’ve been together for more than a decade, we can’t get enough of seeing others experiencing pure love with their favorite people.

2. How long have you been a professional wedding photographer?

Why to ask:

If you would have asked us this question when we first started, we would have told you it doesn’t matter. After all, why should the number of weddings you’ve photographed matter if you can demonstrate great style from shooting just a few weddings?

The thing is, not all wedding photographers have experienced the sheer volume of possibilities that can unfold on any given wedding day. And while a newbie wedding photographer who’s just gone “pro” may have a nice looking portfolio, you also want to know that their wedding photography portfolio show they can handle the specs you’re seeking for your wedding day coverage.

On top of that, the more weddings that a photographer has worked, the sharper they’ve honed their intuition about where to be at what times, who and where to focus their attention on, and how to make everyone comfortable and get those perfect shots.

That’s why this should always be one of the questions to ask a wedding photographer.

How we’d answer this question:

As wedding photographers since 2011 who’ve worked more than 300 weddings collectively, You Look Lovely has nearly seen and done it all.

We’ve nailed first-looks in every possible lighting situation, photographed countless sparkler exits (without any burns!), and have checked off literally hundreds of family portraits from an itemized list provided by the MOTB, including all of her besties from the class of ‘89.

We’ve documented same-sex weddings and nuptials across a variety of cultures and religions. While we’re based in NYC, arguably the most diverse and dynamic city in the world, we’ve also traveled the world to photograph destination weddings and editorial spreads internationally in Italy, Canada, Mexico, Turkey, and Colombia, and across the US from Miami to Maui, Vermont to Virginia, and many places in between.

Our experience has even earned us numerous awards from some of the most recognized wedding photographer platforms in the world, including Best of The Knot Weddings and Best of Style Me Pretty on multiple occasions.

Check out these Top of the Rock engagement photos that we had featured on Style Me Pretty for inspiration!

3. How would you describe the way you work as a wedding photographer?

Why to ask:

This is one of those questions to ask a wedding photographer that carries more weight than most photographers realize. Based on the words they use to describe their working style, you’ll get a sense of how helpful, organized, and calm they’re likely to be on your wedding day.

And because wedding days have been known to not go exactly according to plan, it’s vital that your wedding photographer brings positive vibes and an uplifting demeanor into a situation that has a lot of strong personalities and potentially frenetic energy.

If you’re interviewing wedding photographers who work as a team, ask about that relationship. How long have they worked with their partner(s) or teammate(s)? What is the level of experience of each member of the team?

Working with You Look Lovely:

You Look Lovely is a wife-and-husband wedding photographer team, which we find to be a great advantage. We’re deeply in love and adore working together with other loving couples who want to document their relationships. Plus, we’re both incredibly hardworking, caring people who understand the value of photography. These images will be one of the ways to relive the most incredible celebration of your lives, and we want to deliver something that will move you and bring joy for all of your days.

From a tactical standpoint, being a couple ourselves means we can show you poses (without being super awkward) on the occasions when a little more direction is needed. It also means we can read each other from across the room and have an uncanny way of knowing what the other one is thinking. This is vital when we’re photographing the same thing from different vantage points and we need to move quickly to catch important moments.

As wedding photographers, our personalities are full of kindness, positivity, and helpfulness. We strive to get to know your closest kin during portrait sessions to make the experience as comfortable as we can. After photographing hundreds of weddings, we’re confident in our experience and work ethic when it comes to handling any wedding day situation.

4. Do you photograph weddings in film or digital, and what wedding photography equipment do you use?

Why to ask this wedding photography question:

Some say it’s not about your equipment, but how you capture the emotion of the motion. (Or something like that…).

And while you can sometimes capture spectacular images with lower-quality cameras, it’s equally true that an unskilled wedding photographer with top-of-the-line equipment is still a unskilled wedding photographer.

So, this begs the question: Does it even matter what a wedding photographer shoots with if you already know you like their style and personality?

In a nutshell, probably not. But it still might be a question to ask a wedding photographer who’s nearly proved to be a fit just to gain better understanding of their business mindset.

If a photographer has great work but admits to only using a base model DSLR (like a Canon Rebel or equivalent), you may second-guess their level of experience. After all, why not invest in something you know will produce even better results when you’ve clearly demonstrated your ability with an amateur camera?

On the flipside, you might also second-guess any wedding photographer who boasts about how much they spent on the newest or most high-level equipment. Are they trying to mask having no true style of their own by pushing the equipment they use over the work they’ve done? While these things may not matter to everyone, don’t avoid asking them if they matter to you.

What wedding photography equipment we use:

You Look Lovely uses a both Fuji and Kodak medium-format film, full-frame DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, and film bodies including Contax, Canon, and Sony models. We use proprietary camera settings to achieve our expressive look and work with fixed German-made lenses. And, we use the best accessories to enable us to move fast and effectively to capture the most important moments unfolding over the course of your wedding day.

Questions to ask a wedding photographer when it’s a fit

Once you know it’s a fit, you need to go back to basics with the questions you ask wedding photographers. Most important, find out if the wedding photographer is available and if they’ll be the actual photographer on your wedding day. (If you already knew someone was a perfect fit before speaking with them, these should be the first questions to ask a wedding photographer.)

Next, find out about the wedding photographer packages and prices. You may be looking for a wedding photographer with flexible, custom packages to suit your needs. Or, you may want a wedding photographer with an organized package structure that’s easy to choose from. Depending on whether your celebration is local or a destination wedding, you may need to adapt these wedding photographer questions to meet your needs.

1. Are you available on my wedding date and how far in advance do we need to book with you?

Why this is really the most important question to ask a wedding photographer:

Before you approach any wedding photographer candidates, it’s vital to have secured a wedding date and venue. That’s because there’s no point in contacting a wedding photographer who’s already booked on your wedding date. And unless you have a date secured, your wedding photographer candidates won’t be able to help you without knowing whether they’re available.

If you ever encounter a wedding photographer whose style you love but they’re already booked on your wedding date, you’ll know they’re truly awesome if they refer you to other wedding photographers they know whose style you may also like.

Find out if we’re available on
your wedding date.

No matter how soon your big day may be.

2. Will you be the wedding photographer on site photographing my wedding?

Why to ask wedding photographers this question:

Some wedding photographers are the faces of their companies, but when it comes to actually doing the photography, they outsource the job to someone less qualified.

You often see this when wedding photographers are “growing” their businesses, which can translate to “taking some time away from photographing while I work on enhancing my social media presence.”

Still, they continue to book clients and, when their wedding day finally arrives, they hire an “associate” to perform the photography who tries their best to mimic the brand’s aesthetic. This can and does work for many wedding photography brands, but it’s vital to know this before you sign a contract.

Who we roll (film) with:

At You Look Lovely, we always photograph weddings as a couple, so you never have to worry about someone other than Adeline or Erik taking your wedding photos.

3. What are your wedding photography prices, what deposit do you require, and do you offer a payment plan?

Why to ask:

It’s important to understand that hiring a professional wedding photographer to capture your wedding is an investment in your memories and a gift to your future selves.

Not everyone can afford to hire a professional with the experience and artistry required to meet their tastes or needs. And not every person who photographs a wedding is skilled enough to call themselves a professional, have their images published in top editorials, and earn industry awards.

If you’re looking for this caliber of wedding photographer, an investment for wedding day coverage will cost at least several thousand dollars, and may run into five-figures when you add the cost of albums, prints, an engagement session, and other services. If a photographer is offering full-day coverage (at least 8 hours) for anything less than $5k in a major US market, you should question their business acumen. But if you love their work, then you may have found a great deal (no promises, though!).

The volume of competition and experience across the industry makes wedding photographer prices difficult to place into a general range. That’s why establishing a connection with a wedding photographer’s style and personality is so important.

You’re investing in something delicate that requires precision and proficiency in skill and timing. And, you’re investing in something you’ll be reflecting on for decades to come, with everyone who is important in your life.

You Look Lovely pricing, deposit, and payment plan details:

Having professional wedding photographers document your day is something that becomes more priceless with each passing year of your life. These photos will last forever and will become important pieces of your family history. And with an album, you’ll have a physical family heirloom to pass down for generations.

When considering your wedding photography budget, think of the value your wedding photos will gain during your lifetime. Your wedding may be one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your life. And, you’ll look and feel your best. That’s why it’s crucial to choose the right wedding photographer who’ll capture your day how you’ll want it remembered, while getting the intricate details, memorable moments, and loved ones who attended.

We limit the number of weddings we photograph each year to provide the ultimate experience to our couples.

Our all-inclusive wedding photography package features everything most couples are looking for. That includes all-day coverage with two photographers (Adeline and Erik), a large couple’s album, parent albums, an online gallery of your edited images, a USB drive, a set of prints, and an engagement session before your wedding, for $10,500.

We offer couples the option of breaking it up into 4 equal installments. And we ask for a deposit of 25% of the total package price upon booking. You’ll have your wedding photos delivered in a beautifully designed, secure online gallery, backed up cloud storage.

4. What’s included in your wedding photography packages and are they customizable?

Why to ask:

It’s important to find out if your wedding photographer offers customizable packages for two reasons.

Number one, you may be planning a unique wedding that requires more hours of coverage than usual. Perhaps you’re planning a grand sparkler exit or taking off in a vintage Rolls-Royce at the end of the reception. Or maybe you’re splitting up your ceremony and reception by hours by having an early morning ceremony and nighttime reception.

Some couples schedule some time before guests arrive to have their family, bridal party, and portraits taken in between the ceremony and cocktail hour so they don’t miss any of it. This is a great option to ensure your wedding photographer gets all the most important portraits if you’re opting not to have a first-look. If you decide this is the route for you, you may want to ask the wedding photographer about special packages that consist of more coverage hours than the standard 8 to 10.

The second reason to ask about wedding photography packages is to see if you can get special pricing. Some photographers will offer you an engagement photography session at a special rate by booking it with wedding coverage. Check out these editorial engagement photos NYC couple Morgan and Aaron did in SoHo for inspo!

Same goes for rehearsal dinner coverage, if that’s something you’re planning to do.

Even better, some photographers may offer you an all-inlusive wedding photography package that features everything you need.

By asking these questions to wedding photographers, you’ll be able to get the most from your investment in their services.

You Look Lovely wedding photography packages:

At You Look Lovely, we include an engagement portrait photography session in our all-inclusive wedding photography packages.

That’s because engagement sessions let us get to know each other in a more relaxed environment before your wedding. We’ll get to know each other’s personalities and you’ll get to experience how we work. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to get a glimpse of our fine art photography style with yourselves as the stars.

You can use these images for Save the Dates, invitations, a custom guestbook, and/or a display at your wedding. And, of course, you’ll know the quality to expect when it comes to your wedding day photos.

Choose a location that’s meaningful to you, and we’ll schedule romantic engagement photos before your wedding day.

We also believe that every couple should possess a wedding album as a family heirloom to pass down for generations.

That’s why we offer heirloom albums in a variety of luxe leathers and Japanese linens. Our all-inclusive package comes with a large album for you, along with two parent albums for your families to each have a physical memento of your wedding.

5. Do you charge a travel fee for destination weddings?

Why this is an important question to ask a wedding photographer:

If you’re anything like us, you love to travel. And that means there’s a chance you’ll decide on having a destination wedding. If so, that’s awesome, and we fully endorse your decision.

It’s very important to hire a wedding photographer who’s comfortable photographing destination weddings. That’s because there are more logistical matters when planning a destination wedding than when getting married locally.

Most destination wedding photographers charge additional fees to cover airfare, hotel, car rental, and other travel necessities. Some destination wedding photographers even require the couple to book airfare, hotel, and car rental on their behalf.

It’s important to understand the difference between a photographer’s service fee and travel fee to get an ultimate idea of the total budget you’ll need for having a professional destination wedding photographer document your big day.

How we handle travel fees for destination wedding photography:

Because destination weddings allow us to further explore the world, our travel fees are as low as possible.

That means we cap travel fees at 35% of your total photography package price and do all our own bookings. Charging this as a travel fee means that we typically break even after all bookings are made. Note that this is for destination weddings that require us to fly.

Weddings in the NYC area that require over 50 miles of driving will have a smaller travel fee. This will depend on the location and details of your wedding or engagement.

We love documenting the love of people who love exploring the world as much as we do. So if you have a destination wedding you’d like us to photograph, find out if we’re available on your date.

Questions to ask a wedding photographer when you’re ready to book

By now, there shouldn’t be any questions to ask a wedding photographer left that’ll affect your decision. Still, some subjects should be addresssed so you’re as clear as possible about everything that’s going to being delivered. Also, you should set a clear timeframe between you and your wedding photographer about when you’ll get your wedding photos.

1. How long after our wedding will we receive our images and how will they be delivered?

Why to ask:

Finding out when and how your wedding photos will be delivered is definitely something to ask. Since every wedding photographer does image delivery differently, you’ll want to know about accessing and sharing your images.

You’ll also want to know when you should expect to get your wedding photographs delivered. After all, you’re going to be excited to see your wedding photos and should know when to expect the finished product.

So, having a clear delivery timeframe with your wedding photographer is crucial for setting expectations.

When you’ll get your wedding photos from You Look Lovely:

You Look Lovely takes the post-production of your wedding photos to heart, which we’ll detail next. You’ll receive your edited wedding photos in a personal online gallery between 8 and 12 weeks after your wedding day.

2. Do you provide retouching, color correcting, and/or other editing services?

Why this is one of the most important questions to ask wedding photographers:

When it comes to editing wedding photos, every wedding photographer approaches the process differently. Some do minimal editing, providing color correction through the mass application of filters. Others take a more refined approach, providing retouching and color correcting on a granular, image-by-image level.

That’s why it pays to ask. You don’t want to get back photos that are poorly edited after investing thousands of dollars in wedding photography coverage. The last thing you’ll want to find out is that you’ll have to spend even more to get your wedding photos retouched or edited in a different way.

The good thing is that if you love a wedding photographer’s style, that means you love the way they edit.

Of course, if you’re concerned about something personal that you’d like your wedding photographer to avoid photographing (if possible) or to retouch in post-production, always address this in your initial call to see if they’d be able to accommodate you.

How we edit wedding photos and do post-production:

At You Look Lovely, for every one hour of coverage of your wedding day, there are over three hours of post-production. We inspect all the images of the day, making sure there aren’t any misfires or unintentional expressions that make their way into your gallery.

Then, we color correct each individual photograph and provide a round of retouching to enhance images while keeping them honest. We want everyone to feel beautiful, comfortable, and relaxed, and we’re happy to work with any requests, just ask!

3. Will our wedding photography images be accessible online? If so, for how long?

Why to ask:

In the days of cloud storage, a good question to ask wedding photographers is about image accessibility online. Having your images stored in an online cloud gallery makes it easy to share them with loved ones. It’s also safer than having them stored on a USB that can be lost or a laptop that can crash.

That’s why you should ask your wedding photographer if, and for how long, your images will be stored online.

How we provide online wedding photo accessibility:

With You Look Lovely, you’ll have a personal online portal where your images will be beautifully presented in a gallery. You can download high-resolution files of your entire gallery and share directly to social media. Plus, you can purchase professional-quality prints and select favorites for putting in an heirloom album.

You’ll be able to keep your online gallery with You Look Lovely for up to 10 years, depending on the package you book.  

4. How do we book you to be our wedding photographer?

Why to ask:

Yay! You’re on your way to checking this important to-do of your list! If you’ve had all your questions answered, then it’s just about time to pose this question to a wedding photographer.

When you’re ready to book, you typically submit a form to send an inquiry to a wedding photographer. This will include the most important details like your wedding date, venue, and some information about yourselves. Then, the wedding photographer will respond with some package information and a price quote.

After getting all the details through a call or email, the wedding photographer will put together a formal agreement. Then, all parties will sign, the couple will submit any required deposit, and the booking becomes official. Woohoo!

Still, not every wedding photographer accepts the same forms of payment. So make sure to find out what works best with your final choice. Cash or check is universally accepted by most wedding photographers. It’s also easier than ever to accept credit card payments, and online payments are virtually instant.

Still, some wedding photographers only accept certain cards due to the associated fees. If a wedding photographer doesn’t accept credit cards and you’d like to pay online, ask about PayPal or Venmo.

Booking us to be your wedding photographers:

At You Look Lovely, we want your experience with us to be awesome at every moment. That’s why it’s simple to book us for your wedding.

Just send us the short form below to get started with the need-to-know details about your wedding. All we ask for is your name, event date, venue, and any details you’d like to share about yourselves. Then click “Submit.”

We’ll get back to you within one day with information about our packages and to answer any additional questions. We’ll also set up time for a call via phone, FaceTime, or your preferred platform. That way you can get to know us better and have your questions answered in real-time if you prefer.

photography by You Look Lovely

You Look Lovely

follow along @youlooklovelyphotography