Photographer Questions

Wedding Blog: Tales of a Planner

Wedding Ideas and Planning Tips from Industry Professionals here at Ybarra Events

Wedding planners are more than just event planners. We're designers, problem-solvers, coordinators, budgeteers, part-time therapists, and friends to the couples and families who are entrusting us to help them with their events. Since we're on friendly terms now, here are some tips and tricks to the trade of navigating wedding planning! 

60 Questions to ask Potential Wedding Photographers

I know interviewing event vendors can be overwhelming.

To help, we have complied a list of useful questions

to ask during interviews. With our help, you will find your

perfect Wedding Photographer! 

updated: 01-25-2021

How to Navigate Vendor Interviews

Although there are many overlaping questions you can ask, each vendor has their own specific wedding tasks. No matter the vendor, the question you want to be asking yourself after the interview: Do your personalities mesh? It is extremely important for you to be comfortable on your wedding day and to have full confidence in your vendors. Here are a list of great questions to ask the wedding photographer. 


Before setting up interviews, check out their portfolio

Each photographer is an artist. Each person in the world has their own preferences in artistic beauty and style, and wedding photos are no different. You really want to make sure you love the photos you receive, and if you don't enjoy the photographer's photo style or editing style, of course you will not be pleased with the end result. Alway do your research first and narrow it down to a few photographers to interview. Look at their websites, look at their Instagram and other social medias, read reviews, etc. I generally like to compare three or so. That way, you are not overwhelming yourself, but you have options. If you interview with all three, but none of them feel right, you should always interview more! There is a perfect photographer out there, and most of them travel, if you are having trouble finding one locally. 

Different Wedding Photography Styles

All Wedding Photographers have signature styles that are composed of a couple different photo styles on how they prefer to capture your wedding day, and then they really add in the magic during the editing process. Different Photo styles you might see are Candid Wedding Photography, Portrait Wedding Photography, Photojournalistic Wedding Photography, High Fashion Wedding Photography, Fine-Art Wedding Photography, Illustrative Wedding Photography, Traditional Wedding Photography, Natural Light Wedding Photography, and Aerial Wedding Photography. They may prefer more serious wedding photos or take a more comical stance. There are even some wedding photographers that only use film instead of digital photography! Not only do you have all these different artistic approaches, you also have different levels of... for lack of a better way to say it, weird. Yes, photographers get weird in so many ways to get that perfect photo, and we love it! I have seen photographers (not calling out any names!) lay on the ground, dangle upside down from trees, balance on obscure rocks or anything really. I have witnessed them using their assistant with flashlights (sometimes even from cell phones) to get the perfect backlight, or holding random branches and leaves to make the area more forest-y or garden-y. Of course there is always the use of fans as well. I have even, as a photographer's assistant in my previous life, used a water bottle on the mist feature, and sprayed it in front of the wedding couple to get that perfect creative shot the photographer was envisioning. Anyone else, show of hands? Even as a planner, I am often in the background assisting where I can, throwing rose petals at the couple, as an example.  

Different Editing Styles for Wedding Photographers

Now that you know just how many different styles there are to take wedding photos in the first place, now to look at the editing process. Each wedding photographer works their own magic on your wedding photos, with the end result being their artistic signature style. They are all uniquely beautiful in their own ways. It is not really possible to list all the different ways to edit photos, but here is our attempt! The three main editing styles are Natural, Moody, or Light and Airy. I suggest starting there when you are first comparing photographers. Within those styles, there are also different extremities. How light and airy or how dark and moody do you prefer? Then, within those styles are an infinite number of subcategories. Some photographers edit more in a vintage style, some blur the background of photos, some sharpen and enhance, some edit stray hairs or folds and creases in clothes. Others keep the imperfections for a more authentic feel. 

Personality Matters

Ok, you have found a few different photographers that you love artistically! Now you need to know how to decide who is the perfect fit! Of course, personality matters. The photographer will be one of the vendors that is with you for almost the entire day. It is important to feel comfortable with them. They should be able to make you laugh as well, so you can get a natural smile during wedding photos. If you feel at ease while talking to them, that is a fantastic step in the right direction! You need to feel confident in their creativity. The photographer is an artist, and they're always happy to take recommendations on photos that you like, but ultimately it will take trust. 

Questions to ask your potential Wedding Photographer

  1. Are you available for my wedding date?
  2. How far in advance should I book your services?
  3. How many years have you been in business?
  4. How many Weddings have you shot?
  5. How many Weddings do you work in a weekend?
  6. How would you describe your photo style? Fine-Art, Moody, Natural lighting? Candid?
  7. If your style is more candid, would there still be formal group photos? Or if your style is more posed, will you still capture some candid photos?
  8. What is your working style? Do you blend into the background, or do you take charge? 
  9. Do you photograph in film or digital format? Or both?
  10. Do you photograph more indoor weddings or more outdoor weddings? Or is it a mix?
  11. Can I see a sample of a full wedding gallery?
  12. Can I give you a list of photographs we like for inspiration?
  13. Are you the Photographer that will be at my wedding day?
  14. What type of equipment will you bring to my wedding?
  15. Do you bring any back-up equipment if something happens to your camera or SD card?
  16. Do you have liability insurance?
  17. Would you be willing to add my venue as additional insured if required?
  18. If the venue requires you to read or sign their vendor guidelines, are you willing to? 
  19. Have you ever worked at my wedding venue, and if not, would you tour it in advance to scout photo opts?
  20. How early do you arrive on site at the venue? (for most photographers, this will depend on the package you book)
  21. If I need you to stay later than originally planned, will you stay? Is there a fee, and how much?
  22. Do you bring an assistant?
  23. How will you and your assistant dress on my wedding day?
  24. If you fall ill or are unable to attend my event, who is the back-up photographer?
  25. What are your packages, pricing for each, and what is included in each?
  26. Are the packages customizable?
  27. What are the add-on options? Engagement photos, Album, etc.?
  28. Do you offer additional services, such as a photo booth?
  29. Do you have a travel fee? If so, how much?
  30. Do you add sales tax?
  31. What is your cancellation Policy and Postponement Policy?
  32. Do you have a written contract? (Tip: Don't book any vendors that won't provide a contract! Red Flag warning!) 
  33. What have you been doing for your COVID-affected Clients? Do you have COVID specific verbiage in your contract?
  34. What is your payment plan? What is your retainer fee amount and when is it due?
  35. Which payments are non-refundable? 
  36. How long is the turnaround to get my photos back from my wedding?
  37. Do I own the rights to my wedding photos?
  38. What are the steps you take to protect my photos after the event, before they are uploaded into your software?
  39. What is your method of backing up my photos to keep them safe? Multiple hard-drives? Stored in multiple locations? 
  40. How will I receive my photos? Will there be an online gallery?
  41. Can I share the online gallery with family and friends?
  42. Do I have unlimited downloads?
  43. Will I have High Resolution photos as well as web-size photos? 
  44. Will my images be watermarked?
  45. How long will my photos be available online for downloading?
  46. How long do you keep my images in storage after my wedding? (just in case something happens after delivery and I need to redownload them 3 years later, etc.)
  47. Do you use my wedding photos in social media posts, websites, blogs, magazine submissions? 
  48. If I don't want my wedding photos used in social media or advertising, do I have that option?
  49. Do you edit the photos in-house? Or send out to another company?
  50. Can you provide me with a list of references?
  51. Have you ever worked with any of my other vendors? Planner, Videographer, Florist, etc.? (If so, you can check with the other vendor to see if they refer them.)
  52. Do you work well with Videographers? (Since they are covering the same details, they need to work as a team.)
  53. What sets you apart from other Photographers?
  54. What communication can I expect from you before the wedding day and how often?
  55. What information do you need me to provide before the wedding day?
  56. Ask yourself, did you like the photographer? Were they easy to talk to?
  57. How has the photographer's communication been so far? Are they quick to respond and did they listen to you and address all of your questions and concerns? 
  58. Did you like their level of customer service? 
  59. Do you love their photography style? 
  60. How do they measure up to the other photographers you have interviewed?

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About the Author: 

Tara Ybarra, Co-Owner and Event Planner for Ybarra Events, has been in the Wedding Industry for over 20 years. From Photographer, to Wedding Cake Artist, to Florist, to Officiant, and now Wedding Planner, her accumilated experience, paired with her College Courses in Event Planning, have given her the experience she has today. Blogging gives her an opportunity to share that knowledge with her readers. 

Ybarra Events is located in California’s spectacular Napa Valley. Ybarra Events are the pièce de résistance of wedding planners. Run by the dynamic duo of Tara and James Ybarra, they help couples organize, design, and plan their nuptials at some of the most fabulous and luxurious wedding venues in Napa, Sonoma, San Francisco, and Beyond. Chat with them today to start planning the wine-country wedding of your dreams.

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