For many newly-engaged couples, planning a wedding together will be their first opportunity to invest in their first major purchase together. Most couples have never hired a wedding photographer or other wedding vendors so its all new. My guess is the only experience you may have had in having professional photos taken happened during your senior portraits or as a guest in a group photo at another wedding.
The truth is, you are considering commissioning an artist to capture incredibly high-value moments during one of the most important days of your life and want incredible portraits of you as newlyweds, your closest friends and your family on your wedding day and you might not know where to begin.
I’ve had countless friends come to me asking what questions they should ask when interviewing a wedding photographer, so I’ve complied a list to share. These are the top 20 questions to ask when interviewing wedding photographers.
How many years have you been photographing weddings?
I have been photographing professionally for over two decades. I am a formally trained photographer with a background in fine art and photojournalism. I got to study under legendary professors, work at the famed Milk Studios, photograph celebrities and even photograph luxury resorts for magazines alongside being a wedding photographer.
My first paid photography assignment was in the 1990s. I captured my first wedding in 2005. Starting with film photography and moving to digital, I’ve gotten to witness how photography has changed in an era where digital cameras went mainstream, how retouching, filters, camera tricks have influenced the trade and what remains timeless. I’ve photographed hundreds of weddings and captured nearly a million photos.
How many weddings have you captured?
I have photographed over 500 weddings in Chicago, Boston, New York City, rural Colorado, in the California wine country, in the Caribbean and in Europe.
Can we see an entire wedding from start to finish rather than just the greatest hits?
Of course! While it’s common for photographers to only post their best photos on their websites, this can make it challenging to determine how well a photographer will perform throughout your entire wedding day. I take pride in reliably creating a consistent look in my photographs. Whether you are getting married at a 5-star hotel or a quirky warehouse, my level of experience helps create a cohesive look. I always encourage anyone considering trusting me as their wedding photographer to review a complete gallery featuring all of my photographs from an actual wedding that I’ve delivered to my clients.
Do you work with a second photographer?
For larger weddings or where it makes logistical sense to have extra coverage, a second photographer is available. While I photograph your wedding with two cameras simultaneously to offer different looks (wide angle and telephoto), I’m a believer in quality over quantity. I want you to get great photographs but if your wedding is small, it doesn’t make sense to have more photographers than is necessary. About half the weddings I photograph enlist a second photographer.
Do you carry backup gear?
I always carry multiple cameras, lenses and forms of lighting to ensure your wedding is still documented in the case any equipment were to ever fail or become stolen or damaged at a wedding. My cameras are equipped with a backup memory card slot so there’s an extra copy of your wedding in case any of my cards were to ever fail or become corrupt while photographing your big day.
What happens if you get sick and can’t photograph my wedding day?
Though I have never missed a wedding in my entire career, I am a member of a local photography network of trusted professionals. We make sure there’s a backup available on days we are photographing weddings. In the unlikely event of severe illness, death or other circumstance beyond control, a photographer with equal qualifications may be used to photograph the wedding. I would of course edit your photos myself as long as I am physically capable. In the rare instance I couldn’t do this, your photo editing would be handled by a trusted professional in my network.
How do you back-up the digital photographs from my wedding?
My goal is always to provide the highest security for your wedding photos. Your digital photographs are always captured in the highest available RAW format using cameras built with two memory card slots so in case one of my cards fails during a wedding, there is always a back-up card of your data. Upon returning from your wedding, your files are backed up to two hard drives and a catalog is created of your full resolution images. Once your RAW image files have been artfully edited and exported as JPEG files, they are backed up again.
What can I do with my digital photographs?
You are granted a license to print your photos wherever you like! I kindly request that you do not manipulate, publish, sell your images or share images with your wedding vendors without my consent. I wish to ensure that only professionally enhanced images are showcased in magazines, vendor’s portfolios, and wedding industry websites.
Do I own the copyright to my photos?
You are granted a license to print your photos when, where and however you like. If you value owning the copyright to your images I offer a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and complete copyright buyout. Your NDA arrives with a copyright buyout which restricts me from discussing anything about you, your fiancé and the details pertaining to your wedding and prevents all vendors and I from showcasing any of the images I’ve created from your agreement with me.
Do you retouch the digital images from my wedding?
My post-processing includes global adjustments including correction to exposure, levels, white balance, color, contrast, highlights and shadow recovery, vibrancy, hue, saturation, clarity, sharpening, lens correction, grain, noise, cropping and post-cropping vignetting.
Retouched/enhanced images are superior corrected photographs. These are delivered in my heirloom wedding albums and large art prints. This enhanced image processing may include cosmetic adjustments such as blemish removal, scars, rosacea, teeth whitening. This may also include removal of distractions such leaves, trash, vents, fire extinguishers, sprinklers, speakers, stands, signage, or even a stranger that appeared in the photo.
How many weddings do you capture a day?
I will only ever photograph one wedding per day. This allows me to arrive on time and energetic to capture your big day. There are never any potential overlaps. I will never book any other photo sessions on your wedding day.
Do you have a full staff? Will we be meeting with you?
I do not have salespeople to sell you my services. You will be meeting with me. I do not have a separate editing team or any other components of your wedding that I outsource. I am fully invested in your wedding day in an effort to maintain the best value and reduce overhead.
How many hours of coverage do we receive?
With the variance in each wedding’s unique timeline, travel time between locations, cultural traditions, wedding party size, number of requested family portraits and differing level of wedding day details and decor to capture, I recommend setting up a meeting (Facetime/Skype is also available) so that I may learn about your unique wedding and can help tailor coverage to fit your budget and needs. Most couples enlist me for between six and ten hours of coverage.
How much is required to book your services?
A 1/3 non-refundable retainer is required once you sign your contract to secure your wedding date.
When is our remaining balance due?
Your remaining 2/3 balance is due four weeks before your wedding.
When will we receive our wedding photos?
Your entire wedding gallery is always guaranteed to be delivered within eight weeks after your wedding day. I often process and deliver early and this is based on seasonality and schedule.
Can we give you a shot list of stuff we like from Pinterest or other photographers?
My goal is to push my own creative limits and make unique magazine-quality portraits that inspire others. I want to capture images that speak to your unique personalities and why you fell in love with one another. Attempting to recreate other photographers’ portraits will leave you comparing yourself to other couples. I truly believe you deserve better than to be compared to others because your relationship is unique – let’s create amazing portraits together!
Can we give you a family photo list to capture?
Many couples choose to take group photos before or after their wedding ceremony. There will be dedicated time to capture both the newlyweds together with each new family. This is also a great time to gather your relatives for portraits.
Ahead of your wedding day, you will receive my Wedding Day Questionnaire which asks you to send over the names of all of the important members of your family, wedding party and special guests who will play a key role on your wedding day. I can help you build that list and figure out the amount of time needed to photograph the names on your list.
I’ll also want to learn if there is anything special happening during your wedding day preparations (this could be a first look or a cultural tradition or ceremony), wedding ceremony (readings, traditions and key moments), on-location portraits and reception (toasts, special guests, cultural traditions). Additionally I’ll ask if there are any exceptional circumstances I should be aware of such a guest with mobility challenges or if any family members who shouldn’t be paired together in portraits. My goal is to accommodate your family and make sure everything goes as smooth as possible.
It is unnecessary to provide a list of photos you wish to have captured (first kiss, cake cutting and so on) and it is best to simply enjoy your wedding while trusting that I will capture all the important spontaneity, emotional mom
Can you provide references or reviews?
I am always pleased to provide professional references and reviews from previous clients and their families.
Can you send me your pricing, packages and a wedding photography contract to review?
Absolutely! I value the opportunity to meet with you either by phone or get to know you in person at my studio so I can learn more about you two and your event and help tailor coverage to fit your budget and needs. I am happy to send over my pricing guide which details all the products and services I offer. For more information go here.
I believe every wedding is unique. My clients invest in my time and talent on their wedding day and some opt to add heirloom wedding albums and mural prints following their wedding. You are never under any obligation to purchase any additional prints or products. These offerings are presented as an opportunity to receive the highest quality professional products which arrive with my signature style of award-winning enhanced image retouching.
Wedding coverage includes the time and talent of Heather Parker, thoughtful selection and careful correction of all images, a print ordering gallery for 90 days, gorgeous high-resolution digital files and a usage license.
I hope this list of the top 20 questions to ask when interviewing wedding photographers has been helpful!