DOcumentary Style Photographer based in AZ

As the joy of your engagement fills your heart, the excitement of planning your dream wedding begins to take center stage. Amidst all the decisions and details, one aspect that may leave you feeling bewildered is selecting the right photographer to capture your special day. The choices can seem endless, and the significance of this choice is undeniable. But where do you start? What are the essential wedding photography questions to ask your photographer? 

There’s so much to unpack, so let’s get started. 

What Questions to Ask Your Photographer

Essential Wedding Photography Questions to Ask

Like most topics, not all questions are created equal. Because of this understanding, there are a few essential questions you NEED to ask:

Can I/we see your photography portfolio?

When I started my photography journey, my photos looked incredibly different from where they are now. Unlike traditional wedding photography, my style has shifted to a documentary style. Your wedding photographers’ style will come out in distinct ways in their portfolio, so this should be your first question. 

What are your packages and pricing?

This question is an easy one. Packages and pricing will be two of the most significant factors in choosing a photographer outside of photography style. Be sure to ask your photographer what the specific packages are and how they are broken down. A few follow-up questions include: how many photos does your package include? Will our photos be printed in an album? Be sure to get all the information you can to make the best decision for you and your partner. 

How long will you be at the wedding?

While this may seem like a photographer will be present at a wedding for its entirety, it only sometimes works like that, especially with varying locations and logistics. Some photographers are only present for certain wedding-day events, whereas others are available for its entirety. 

What’s your delivery time for photographs?

Each photographer is different, not only in how they shoot a wedding but in how they edit as well. Because of this distinct other, you must clearly expect when you will receive the photographs of your special day. 

What happens if there is a cancellation?

No one wants to ask this question, but it does happen. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances cause delays or cancellations to a wedding (*cough 2020 cough*). What you want to understand from this question is how and when a deposit is required and if it is refundable if a cancellation happens. Being on the same page, especially financially, will relieve many headaches down the road, trust me. 

Who owns the rights to the photography?

This is the last of the essential questions, and it’s a good one. Similar to photography styles and editing, some photographers prefer to transfer the ownership rights to the couple, and others don’t. When working with a wedding photographer, understanding who has the final say in ownership is essential. 

Photography Style Questions to Ask a Wedding Photographer

Now that we got the essentials out of the way let’s dive into the photography-style questions that are great to ask. 

What is your approach to your photography?

If you’ve read through any of the questions above, you’re starting to see a pattern that each photographer is different, from the pricing down to the photography style. For most weddings, photographers fluctuate between traditional and documentary-style photography. Traditional wedding photography involves posed photography, whereas documentary-style photography is focused on capturing candid moments throughout the day. There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, just your preference for the photographs you want captured. 

How are your images selected?

Image selection is essential when it comes to wedding photography. As the happy couple, it’s crucial to know how many photos you will be provided after your big day and, of those photos, which events throughout the day will be captured. 

Can I see a full gallery of photos?

For most photographers, their portfolio will reflect some incredible moments. However, because photographers will select their best work, it only sometimes reflects the entire wedding day. By asking for a full wedding gallery, you will see how your photographer captures every aspect of the wedding, from the ceremony to the exit. 

Logistic Questions to Ask Your Photographer

Let’s be honest: logistical questions are not always the most fun and exciting to ask, but they are essential wedding photography questions to ask, especially as you continue to plan for your big day. 

What kind of equipment do you plan on using?

Photography equipment can vary from wedding to wedding. Sometimes, there is a need for lighting, reflectors, and other photography tools depending on the wedding environment and time of day. Understanding what a photographer plans to use will help determine the sequence of events during a wedding and even sometimes how the wedding space is laid out. 

Will you bring an assistant?

Most often, a wedding photographer will bring an assistant or apprentice. This individual will help set up any extra equipment, take candid photography, or actively assist in the wedding day shoot. Regardless of a photography assistant’s role, it’s always a great move to know who will be helping and how you can best welcome them into your wedding day activities. 

How do you collaborate with other vendors?

Every wedding involves numerous moving parts and critical individuals working together to ensure the day’s events unfold smoothly. From the day of coordinator to the DJ, a photographer should work well to coordinate the sequence of events and collaborate with individuals to anticipate the day’s most impactful moments. 

How do you prepare for a shoot?

Most seasoned photographers have their own ways of preparing for a photo shoot, and it’s essential to understand what the photographer’s expectations are for the preparation. Some photographers will send you a shot list, whereas others, like myself, will send out a wedding day questionnaire. By understanding your photographers’ preparation technique, you will better be able to predict and engage in the creative process. 

Photography Background Questions to Ask Your Photographer

How long have you been photographing weddings?

At face value, what you’re asking is, do you have the skills and experience to capture my wedding uniquely and beautifully? There is no perfect answer to this question. Some photographers have a decade of experience, but their style is too traditional for you. For others, they may have less experience, but they capture uniquely stunning photographers. You’re looking for reassurance that you are selecting the right photographer. 

What’s your favorite part of a wedding to photograph?

This is always a fun question to ask. How your photographer answers the question will clue you in on the style of photography they typically like to capture and the means of how they do it. 

What’s it like to work with you on the wedding day?

This is another excellent question to better get to know your photographer. You really want to know your photographer’s demeanor on the wedding day. Each photographer has a different style, and matching that style to the interaction you wish to have on the wedding day is essential. 

How do you develop a backup plan?

As we discussed above, a cancellation policy is essential to have, as well as a backup plan. What if your photographer won the lottery and immediately flew to Fiji? Is there a backup plan? Most photographers will have an available assistant and be on standby if unforeseen circumstances happen. However, fear not; like actors in the theater, we photographers know the show must go on regardless of health concerns, hiccups, or anything in between. 

What Are You Actually Looking for in a Wedding Photographer?

While there are almost infinite questions to ask a photographer, choosing the right one often comes down to three essentials: style, price, and personality. 

Choosing a Photography Style

As I mentioned in a few questions above, choosing a wedding photographer based on style is incredibly important. Do you want a more traditional and posed style of photography? Or would you prefer a documentary style? Regardless, a photographer’s style will be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, factor in choosing a photographer. 

Before you search for a photographer, consider finding wedding images you love and want to emulate. As you meet and discuss the images with the photographer, they will be able to understand the style of photography you are looking for and how to achieve them. 

Making Sure the Price Is Right

Not all photographers are created equal, and neither are their photography packages. It’s essential to understand your budget before jumping into a photographer search. Some of the more experienced photographers will be pricier than those who are just starting out. Regardless of your choice, focus on choosing the right photographer that your means can allow. Trust me, you don’t want to regret your decision on the wedding day. Do your due diligence upfront and clearly define what you want from your photographer and what you’re willing to budget. 

Feeling Out the Photographer’s Personality

Although style and price are undeniably significant factors in your photographer selection, don’t underestimate the importance of their personality. When searching for a photographer, it’s crucial to find someone who not only puts you at ease but also exudes confidence when needed. How these qualities manifest can differ from photographer to photographer, so observing how they embody both traits during your search is essential.

Why Ask All the Wedding Photography Questions

Finding the right photographer is all about finding the proper connection, which is why I love photography. I love connecting with the individuals I photograph and feel truly honored to be chosen to tell their stories. 

It’s this feeling that I don’t take lightly, and neither should you.

If you don’t know who I am, my name is Tess, and I’m a documentary-style elopement and wedding photographer. It’s my passion to tell love stories through photography and help photographers grow in their skills and expertise.

If you are looking for a wedding photographer, feel free to check out my portfolio or even reach out to schedule a photo shoot

Whatever you are looking for in your photography journey, I’m here to help. 

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