What Questions Should you Ask (Me) Your Photographer/Videographer Your First Consultation?
The key to finding wedding vendors you love? Meeting them (in person or virtual) and interviewing them before you sign on the dotted line. We'll be spending the entire day together! In addition to loving the "light bright and airy with a slice of vibrant colors," style, us having an in-person or virtual interview is a great way to make sure you’ll be happy.
Not sure where to start? Here is a list of some of the questions I asked my wedding photographers (minus the covid related questions) back in 2020.
The Basics (photographer interview questions)
These are the very first questions you'll want to ask when talking to prospective wedding photographers, as they'll indicate whether or not it's worth having additional conversations. After all, if they're not available on your wedding day or you feel uncomfortable with answers around who will actually document your day, this is likely not the best fit.
Is my wedding date available?
This one is likely pretty obvious, but it's a poor use of everyone's time to have a conversation with a photographer who isn't available on your wedding date.
Will you be the one shooting my wedding? If not, can I meet the photographer who will be on-site?
Some of the larger wedding photographers work as part of a collective, so it's important to understand who you are hiring for your wedding day. If the person you're talking to isn't the person who will document your big day, it's important to know that upfront; you'll want to be sure you have just as strong of a connection with the photographer who will be with you throughout the celebration.
Will you have any assistants/second photographer with you on our wedding day?
Some photographers always work with an assistant, while others, like me, determine if an additional photographer is need based on size and complexity of your event.
Pricing and Packages
Now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty. Here's what to ask as you discuss pricing and packages.
What is included in your standard package? What add-ons do the more expensive packages include?
Most photographers will answer this question by giving you a one-sheet that breaks down their standard packages. If you have questions about what sets each package apart or what's included in each, always ask.
Can I customize a package to fit my needs?
Yes, I want you to have what you need for your day!
Do you include engagement photos in your packages? What about pre-wedding events like rehearsal dinners?
For Me this is depends on the packageThis will likely be outlined in the one-sheet that includes their package breakdowns, but if you don't see any information about other events, it can't hurt to ask, especially if these are things that are extremely important to you.
How many hours are included in each package? How much do extra hours cost?
Don't forget that coverage hours really begin when the photographer arrives, which is generally at some point during the getting-ready process. They'll take photos of the couple preparing for the day and capture any detail shots, such as invitation flat lays, welcome bags, and the ceremony or reception spaces.
Do you offer retouching, color adjustment, or other corrective services? Are those included or an additional charge?
Most wedding photographers will include editing of photos as part of their standard package offerings, but what if you want additional changes (such as removing a guest from a photo, fixing a flyaway hair, or adjusting the color)? Ask about how many rounds of edits are available to you and what this process looks like.
Do you charge a travel fee? For what distance? What does that cover?
Most photographers have a radius outside of which they charge a travel fee. Over a certain distance, you may be required to pay for your photographer’s lodging, as well.
Prints and Albums
Once the wedding is over, it's time to enjoy those beautiful photos! Make sure you have a clear understanding about deliverables—when you'll get your photos, if you'll receive high-res files or actual prints, and whether or not your photographer can help you make an album—before you sign on the dotted line. These questions will ensure you're both on the same page. Here at Melchy Hill Photography the answer is Yes, yes, and yes.
Can we order prints or albums directly from you?
Any answer is acceptable here, but if you're the type of person who wants to work with just one vendor, you'll likely prefer being able to order prints and albums straight from your photographer. If they don't offer this service, ask if they can recommend a person or company who does.
What type of album do you offer? Do you provide assistance selecting images and designing the album?
If there's one thing too many couples neglect to do, it's create a wedding photo album. We here at Melchy Hill Photography believe couple should walk away from their wedding with a physical album. The truth is we do not look at our digital files and flashdrives can get lost during moves.
How long after the wedding will we receive the images? How will they be delivered?
At Melchy Hill Photography, our turn around time for weddings is 6 weeks. As you interview ask about their turnaround time (which can be a few weeks or even a few months) and make sure you feel comfortable with the answer.
Will we have the rights to the images?
Generally speaking, photographers will own the copyright to the image, but most will grant rights to the couple to post, print, and share the images (This is what we do here at Melchy Hill Photography). Always inquire about your rights and make sure you feel good about the answer.
Will we receive the negatives and/or high resolution digital images? Is there a fee for that?
Most photographers will share a downloadable link with high-res imagery, which you can then share and print to your liking, but it's key to ask what their standard procedure is.
Will the images be accessible online? For how long?
It's important to ask how long your images will be available to you so that you can make arrangements for safe keeping. Generally speaking, downloading photos to an external hard drive is a good way to ensure you always have access to them.
Now, it's time to sign on the dotted line. Unsurprisingly, there are questions to ask about this part of the process, too. Here are a few to pose to your photographer!
How much of a deposit/retainer do you require? When is it due?
We here do a 10% retainer if you are greater than 6 month out. If you are less than 3 months or less the retainer is 50% due at time of signing.
Do you accept payments in installations?
At Melchy Hill Photographer we do offer a couple of payment options. We also have financing through Paypal which does 6 months same as cash.
What is your refund or cancellation policy?
Every wedding needs a backup plan, so ask what your photographer can do in the event that you need to move or postpone the big day.
Do you have liability insurance? Does it cover your assistants, as well?
Your wedding venue may require that every vendor holds their own liability insurance policy, so it's a good idea to ask this early. Melchy Hill Photography does carry this.
What is the backup plan if you are unable to shoot my wedding for an unexpected reason?
Wedding photographers—and any other vendor for the matter. Can get sick, injured, or deal with unexpected circumstances in the same way anyone else does. Most will have a line included in the contract that stipulates what happens if they can no longer shoot your wedding (generally, they will find you an equal or greater replacement), but be sure to ask about this early. We all hope to forget 2020!
Can we request a list of specific shots we would like?
You're hiring a wedding photographer/videographer because you trust their eye, so you want to let them capture the day as they see fit. However, most photographers like me welcome your ideas in the collaboration process.