Wedding Photographer FAQ

First and foremost, you will find so many articles that tell you that you should ask your photographer what their photo backup method is and if they have insurance. This is so important for photographers to have, and you should verify that they have both of these in place. Here’s an unpopular opinion… you don’t need to know the details of the backup plan because if you aren’t someone who understands the industry, you probably don’t understand the why behind all of it. Instead, here are a few questions I think you should spend your time on when you get on the phone with your photographer.

What is included in the package?

Hopefully this information has been shared with you as soon as you have reached out to them. This is important because it helps you understand the value you are receiving for your wedding photography package. Each photographer packages their services differently. They can vary from hours of coverage, how many photographers are included, and more. Be sure to ask clarifying questions if they come up regarding what is included.

Inquiring couples receive this information from me in our first communication. (Click here to get that process started!) After that, we schedule a call so I can learn more about them and their wedding day and so they can ask me any questions that they have. The rest of the questions are questions that I hear often, or should hear from couples.

What is the payment process?

Most photographers will require a deposit from clients with a final payment as your wedding date approaches. These numbers can differ, but I have found that an industry standard is somewhere between a 25-50% deposit with final payment a month before the wedding. Photographers do this because there is a lot of work for them leading up to the wedding. They need an assurance that you are committed to them before they put in all of the work ahead of time.

With me, clients pay a 25% deposit and the final payment is a month before the wedding. I always remind clients that they can set up their own payment plan that works with this and sometimes clients will send smaller checks throughout the whole planning process.

Do you have a contract?

I like to go through the contract with clients one on one to ensure that they know what is there. These contracts are set up to protect you and to protect the photographer, so you want to make sure there is one. These often outline the details of the work that you are agreeing to have your photographer do and they will help you understand what to expect from your photographer. This is also a helpful tool for you to refer to when you have questions. Sure, it is easy enough to send an email, but sometimes you can get a faster answer by referring to the contract.

How long does it usually take to receive photos?

This should be specified in the contract and the photographer should give you a range of dates. Each photographer is different, but the wisdom in the industry is that photographers should be selecting a range that is after when they actually think they’ll finish the work.Only in the busiest seasons in the busiest months have I ever encountered a situation where I have actually reached the range of dates provided in my contract. I usually try to be a couple of weeks ahead of that.

My contract says 6-10 weeks for wedding photo turnaround. Engagement photos take about 2-4 weeks.

Do you have a second shooter or assistant that comes with you?

Every photographer works differently and there are pros and cons to each answer. I personally love having someone there with me and try to have a second shooter or assistant join me for every wedding. A second shooter isn’t included in every package, but I do often add an assistant free of charge for weddings that don’t include a second shooter. 

Pros - Another photographer will help capture a variety of angles on your wedding day. If you have a tight timeline, they can help things run smoothly by dividing up from the photographer and grabbing different shots. If something were to happen to your photographer, or their camera, you have a backup plan in place who can stay and capture your day. An extra set of hands is available to serve you and the photographer. Someone forgot the veil inside? Now we have an extra set of hands to run and get it and we can continue working.

Cons - The biggest con is that this raises the price of your package. Not only is your photographer paying an extra person, they are also adding to the work that they will have to do to edit your gallery. More cameras means more photos, which isn’t a bad thing, it just takes more work to edit the photos. Sometimes, you just want your day to be a little bit more intimate. With a photographer there, it might feel a little less like just the two of you than you would like, and that feeling can multiply when you have more than one photographer following you around.

Do you help create a timeline for the day of?

As with many of these, this can differ from photographer to photographer. Some photographers tend to be very hands off with this process, while others like to be involved.

I work with clients to create a sample timeline after we have our first phone call together. I believe this is one of the most important services a photographer can provide because we are there throughout so much of the day. We understand how much time it takes to take on each part of the day and we are there for all of it. This gets you started with one of the most important, often most challenging parts of the planning process.

If an engagement session is included, or something you plan to hire them for, how long is it?

I ALWAYS recommend an engagement session, so if one isn’t included, make sure you understand how much extra it might cost for you to add one. Engagement sessions are a great time for you to learn about how your photographer works. It gets you more comfortable with them and more comfortable in front of the camera. Those intimate moments that I talked about earlier become a lot less awkward if you’ve taken the time to get to know your photographer.

I’ve also had clients come to me after they’ve worked with other photographers and been dissatisfied with their engagement session. It’s like a trial run for you and for the photographer. You want to know what you’re getting.

I also think that you need a good amount of time for this.  You don’t want it to be rushed. Engagement sessions are 90 minutes for me and are the longest sessions that I provide outside of wedding days and adventure sessions. They are such an important part of the process! These photos also provide so much more personality. Showing up as you do in every day life is such a fun thing to photograph and have for you and your partner to remember this stage before saying your vows.

Do you have any travel fees?

This is a good question to ask because, like many of the questions here, it will vary from one photographer to another. Some will include travel fees within a certain distance, some may have promotions going where fees are included for a certain period of time… there are many ways for photographers to approach this, so make sure you understand what you are getting into price-wise.

I include travel in my wedding packages for weddings in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Anything outside of that area can expect to see an increase in the overall package price as a result of the travel, and lodging required for the event.

Do you have a backup method for photos and do you have insurance?

I know I discussed a similar question at length earlier. It is still important to hear a yes from them when you ask these two questions. 

Beyond that, it isn’t necessary to get into it much. If they have it, you’re good to go. If they don’t ask them why and if they plan to get something in place prior to your wedding.

How will I receive my photos?

Most photographers will share your photos in an online gallery. These make it easy to download your files, order prints, and more.

I send potential clients a sample gallery so they can get a feel for how that works before they book me.

Can I see a sample gallery?

On that note, if you haven’t already seen a sample gallery, ask for one. You’ll want to check that the big moments you’re hoping to have captured are included, that things look the way they’ve been advertised, and that they are consistent throughout the gallery. If things are not consistent throughout the gallery, it can be hard to know what you’re going to get and it might leave you disappointed when the final gallery appears in your inbox.

Can I print my photos anywhere?

Some photographers require you to print photos through them. This can be an added charge that you don’t always anticipate so be sure to ask about this.

I encourage my clients to print where they’re comfortable, but I hope they use the recommendations that I provide so they have images that are high quality. After investing so much in your wedding day, and specifically your wedding photos, you want to be sure that these are going to be worthy of that investment.

How many images are included?

Here’s a shocker… this will also vary by photographer and I think it matters a lot. Some photographers will keep this number low. As a photographer who strives to tell the story of your wedding day so that you can remember it well, I send as many photos as I can, or “every photo that turns out.” 

I don’t think clients should have to pay extra for more photos or that their photos should be capped at a certain number. They’re your photos, it is your day, and the photos were already taken

So, how do you know if your photographer is the right fit? Here are a few things to ask yourself.

  1. Did you feel like you had a good connection with them?
  2. Do their packages align with what they need?
  3. Do the services included in the packages work for you?
  4. Do you trust them to capture your day?
  5. Do you feel like they will be helpful to you?
  6. Do they fit into your budget?