Understanding who is behind the lens capturing some of the most important moments in your life, is the only way to get those stunning, Insta-worthy wedding photos you truly want. And not just one or two photos (or even ten) for Instagram – but an entire album’s worth of photos that you can cherish for a lifetime!
Here are 9 important questions to ask wedding photographers before booking so you can find your perfect match.
Don’t be shy when asking questions. These are all Lilly-approved- I’ve even included my insight on why you should investigate each of these components.
The best way to use this list? In-person or over a video chat or phone call! That way, you can get answers in real-time and you can hear what they’re saying, instead of interpreting it from an email. You’ll also find plenty of related questions to consider. My advice with these is to jot down the ones that apply to you. Don’t ask every single question just because it’s on here! Some may not be the right fit for you.
Let’s start at the point of a consultation with a wedding photographer. Whether you sit down for a cup of coffee, an aperitivo, or a Zoom call, these are the most important questions you can’t forget to ask a potential wedding photographer to make sure you’re a good fit.
Think of it in “rounds.” If the photographer meets all of your needs here, then you can move on to the next round of questions!
It should probably be your very first question to ask a wedding photographer. You might even ask this before you ever meet for a consultation! Established, experienced wedding photographers often book up months in advance. So start early on in your search!
There’s no reason to get your hopes up only to be let down by the answer to this question.
Could you imagine meeting with a photographer, absolutely falling in love with their style, creating a special connection with them, only to be dashed when they say, “Oh wait… I don’t have any availability that weekend.”
Save yourself the heartache, and ask this question upfront! You can even ask as soon as you begin emailing back and forth.
Every wedding photographer has their style. And I’m not just talking about an editing style! I mean how they flow throughout the wedding day and the way they compose or frame their images.
Some photographers prefer to only create posed photographs for a wedding day. That includes positioning everything in the photo and walking you and your partner through poses.
Other photographers, like me, take a combination of both posed photos and candid moments.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to photograph a wedding (for the most part), but you just have to make sure it matches the style you’re looking for.
Chances are, if you’re planning a wedding, you’re already imagining in your mind what your wedding day photos will look like.
And that image in your mind has a style!
So, make sure you get a great understanding of your potential photographer’s full wedding day style. Do they frame and curate photos the way you like? Do they edit in a style you like?
The last thing you want to do is opt for a photographer without fully understanding their shooting style. And then you wind up with a wedding gallery that isn’t what you wanted or expected!
While there are plenty of wedding vendors, your photographer is, arguably, one of the priorities. To make sure they capture every moment, they have to be with you every step of the way.
Depending on what they say and how they describe their process, you’ll understand more about their personality and whether or not it’d be a fit for you.
You’ll want to find a photographer whose personality and work style mesh well with your energy! That will keep you from feeling stressed or uneasy about the wedding day.
A wedding day is a marathon for your vendors. And it takes a lot of experience to understand how to properly manage.
These questions will help you understand their experience and whether or not they’re right for the task of your wedding day.
Part of the wedding photography process is creating incredible works of art that couples can cherish forever.
But there’s a completely different side to the process. The professional, business side.
Making sure you have a wedding photographer who can not only create stunning masterpieces but who you can also depend on professionally is crucial to having a stress-free wedding planning (and wedding day!) experience.
The photographers who have their business aspects in place are the ones who will know exactly what to do if things don’t go according to plan.
If you’re hiring a professional, experienced wedding photographer they should have an entire system prepared for any event.
That includes everything from their gear to a thorough backup system. Your photographer should plan and prepare for every scenario. Equipment can malfunction, but you should never notice because we’ve planned and prepared for nearly every possibility.
Delays and cancellations can pop up, but you shouldn’t have to worry about that because your photographer is prepped to handle it.
I think some couples shy away from asking for a portfolio and a full gallery from the wedding photographer. They might think it’s private, and therefore they don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.
But the truth is, most wedding photographers who are worth their weight in gold are more than happy to share full galleries with you! All you have to do is ask for it.
Creating one epic photograph for Instagram is amazing. But, can your photographer consistently create photographs throughout an entire wedding day with the pressure of a specific timeline and so many moving parts? One of the best ways to be sure is to see many real-life photos.
I’ll be one of the first to admit that Instagram is an excellent tool to help reach clients around the world! But, with it comes a lot of photographers who heavily curate the “perfect” Instagram feed for their audience. It makes it look like their work is incredible, with every photo being a masterpiece.
But the reality is that…Instagram isn’t reality. And all too often, I’ve seen photographers whose full galleries don’t match what they post on their Instagram feed.
As a photographer who has worked with hundreds of couples on their wedding day, I have a large portfolio of stunning work to share. In it, I showcase every portion of the wedding day – from getting ready with your best friends to the emotional ceremony itself, all the way to the after party with everyone celebrating at the reception. I even have photos of decor and design to fully set the scene of the wedding day.
Don’t be afraid to ask to see a full gallery. At worst, it will make it clear to you that they might not be the best photographer for your wedding day. At best? You’ll have even more confidence that they can capture every last detail!
Weddings are super busy days that are filled with things to do from the moment you wake up until you go to bed.
While it’s exciting to be around so much celebration, it takes plenty of time and experience to understand how a wedding day works behind the scenes. Your photographer should know how to manage time appropriately and even how to manage people appropriately.
To better understand the experience of your photographer, it’s good to get a sense of how they structure the shoot for a wedding day.
An important part of my service includes coordinating your wedding photography timeline. I’ve photographed hundreds of weddings, and while each is unique, they are composed of similar, important elements:
It may seem obvious, but the more a photographer has worked at a particular venue, the better they understand lighting, special shot opportunities, and the flow of the day. Your photographer’s response will vary depending on how locally they work or if they typically travel for destination weddings.
New venues open up a world of creativity and new experiences that often bring a level of excitement and new energy to your wedding day.
Finally, you want to make sure that your potential photographers offer exactly what you’re looking for to expertly capture your wedding day.
Use these questions to help you find a photographer that can do just that:
Many photographers work with second shooters or assistants. Sometimes, however, they require an additional fee at the time of booking to reserve an assistant photographer on your wedding day.
If a photographer doesn’t have a dedicated second shooter, they often pick any person who is available for that date. Instead of leaving our work up to chance, we train, educate, and support our team so that they can receive the proper guidance to grow and continue to create outstanding work for Lilly Red.
There are so many moving parts and so many elements to capture on your wedding day. The larger or the more detailed the wedding is, the more there is to be caught on camera.
But one single photographer can’t be in two places at once! That’s where the value of a second shooter or an assistant comes into play.
Think of it this way: as you’re walking down the aisle, one photographer can be at the front of the ceremony site to capture your face as you see your partner for the first time. The other photographer can be facing the opposite direction to capture your partner’s face when they see you!
Don’t leave any part of your wedding day uncovered by a photographer!
Almost every photographer has photography services to cater to the most popular wedding day needs.
Sometimes that includes a set number of hours of coverage. Sometimes it even includes things like curated physical albums.
Depending on the wedding and the photographer, these services may be customized to better suit a couple’s individual needs for their celebration.
If you’re planning a bespoke wedding or elopement, you might have certain needs that need to be addressed.
For example, perhaps you’re planning a destination wedding in Lake Como. But it’s a far distance to travel, so you want to make the most of your time there. And to do that, you’re planning a full 3-day celebration to soak up every last second of this incredible milestone in such an epic location.
To make it even better (and, literally, memorable)? You’re looking for a wedding photographer who can customize their services to include all 3 days of coverage time.
Does that sound a little bit specific? That’s because I’ve done it for my clients before! It’s one of my favorite parts of why people either have a full wedding or elope in Italy. Instead of just one day, sometimes they decide they want multiple days to cherish for a lifetime.
Almost every single photographer has an editing process. While we always try to create the masterpiece as much as possible within the camera, an editing process gives it the last little “oomph” it needs to take it from great to absolutely stunning.
Proper editing is needed to bring out the best in each photograph. And truly professional photographers have mastered their post-processing workflows and techniques.
Understanding the post-production process will give you a sense of the skill level of your photographer. After all, you need to know who turns the drafts into pieces of art.
Getting the perfect photos is a collaboration, so I want to know what your vision is! And while I do want to see your visual inspiration so I may use it to guide my work, I am not a copycat photographer.
Your wedding is going to have a personality that reflects you as a couple. And we are going to embrace that! Trust me in what I do. That way, we can create the most memorable creative work on your wedding day.
Your wedding photographer is one of the most important vendors for your celebration. And since you’re putting so much effort, time, energy, and money into preparing for this wedding, you’ll want someone who has the experience to capture everything.
This list of the 9 most important questions to ask before booking is crucial to finding a wedding photographer who’s the perfect fit!