60 Questions to ask your wedding photographer in 2024

Searching for a wedding photographer can be a daunting task as websites all make the individuals look amazing, I mean that’s the point of a website, right? So how can you tell who or what is suited to your personality or style?

Let’s address the elephant in the room, photography is now so accessible and affordable with us all having a camera in our pocket there are a lot of people calling themselves a photographer. Gone are the days when photographers only survived if they had technical skills and technical savviness. It is rare to see an ‘assistant’ learning the trade with a photographer now, most just jump straight in. Sadly this has led to an influx of inexperienced photographers who offer what I see as an unacceptable standard of work.

Allow me to help you find a great photographer using my 20+ years of experience.

Here are some questions that should help you figure out this very thing, I hope it helps and if you think of something I’ve missed feel free to ask me personally.

I recommend you refer to these questions when booking meetings for your potential wedding photographer

Christchurch Priory interior

Questions Answered on this page

What Should I ask? Initial questions

The first part of these FAQs is what I wish everyone would ask. When looking for your wedding photographer it pays to do your research. A website is not the definitive answer to all your questions as anyone can put a selection of images together (or even steal them, yes it does happen!) and make themselves look amazing. There are many things to consider, are they full-time or part-time, are they insured or even qualified?

Why is it important to hire a professional photographer for your wedding day?

The importance of hiring a professional photographer for your wedding day cannot be overstated. A professional brings a unique blend of technical expertise and artistic vision, ensuring that every moment of your special day is captured with clarity, creativity, and style. They are adept in handling various lighting situations, from the soft glow of a sunset ceremony to the dimly lit ambience of a reception. This technical skill is complemented by their experience with the fast-paced nature of weddings, enabling them to capture fleeting moments and subtle emotions that an amateur might miss.

Furthermore, a professional photographer comes equipped with high-quality equipment, which is essential for producing sharp, well-composed photographs. Their post-processing skills further enhance these images, ensuring each photo is a work of art. Beyond just taking pictures, a professional photographer offers reliability and peace of mind. Knowing that your memories are being captured by an expert allows you to immerse yourself fully in the joy of your wedding day. Ultimately, hiring a professional is an investment in preserving your memories, ensuring they are beautifully and skillfully captured to be cherished for a lifetime.

What unique skills and experiences do professional photographers offer compared to amateur photographers?

Professional photographers distinguish themselves from amateurs through a combination of unique skills and experiences that significantly enhance the quality of wedding photography:

  • Advanced Technical Skills: Professionals have a deep understanding of photographic techniques, camera settings, and lighting. This expertise allows them to adeptly handle various lighting conditions and settings, ensuring high-quality images in all scenarios.
  • Artistic Eye and Creativity: With their artistic vision, professional photographers don’t just capture moments; they create compelling and emotive images. Their ability to see and frame shots artistically sets their work apart.
  • Experience Under Pressure: Weddings can be fast-paced and unpredictable. Professional photographers are experienced in working under pressure and can quickly adapt to changing situations, ensuring key moments are not missed.
  • Professionalism and Commitment: A professional photographer is committed to delivering the best results. This commitment extends to pre-wedding consultations, timely delivery of images, and a guarantee of quality.
  • Post-Processing Expertise: The work of a professional doesn’t end at the click of the shutter. They possess advanced skills in editing and retouching photos to enhance their beauty and rectify any imperfections.
  • High-Quality Equipment: Professionals invest in high-grade equipment (cameras, lenses, lighting, etc.), which is crucial for producing sharp, well-exposed photographs across various conditions.
  • Reliability and Consistency: Professional photographers ensure a consistent level of quality throughout your wedding album, with each image reflecting a high standard.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: They are adept at solving problems on the spot, be it technical difficulties or coordinating large group shots, ensuring the photography process is seamless.

Professional photographers bring a mix of technical prowess, artistic insight, and seasoned experience to wedding photography, qualities that amateurs typically lack, it does not mean an amateur cannot take a good photo but the difference is evident in the consistency, quality, and creativity of the images produced, making them invaluable for capturing the essence of your special day.

How does a professional photographer ensure the quality and safety of your wedding photos?

As a professional photographer, I take the quality and safety of your wedding photos very seriously. To ensure the highest quality, I use top-tier equipment and have honed my skills to capture your special moments beautifully, regardless of the setting or lighting. Safety-wise, I am meticulous about backing up the photos. I use multiple memory cards during the event and have a robust digital backup system in place. This way, your cherished memories are not only captured with precision and artistry but are also securely stored and backed up to protect against any unforeseen circumstances. Your memories are as precious to me as they are to you!

In what ways can a professional photographer enhance the overall experience of your wedding day?

As your professional photographer, my role extends beyond just taking photos. I aim to enhance your wedding experience by bringing a sense of calm and organisation to your day. I work efficiently to capture every important moment without intruding on the festivities. My experience allows me to anticipate and capture those fleeting, candid moments that truly tell the story of your day. I’m there to offer guidance for posed shots and to ensure everyone feels comfortable in front of the camera. Think of me not just as a photographer, but as a day-of ally, helping to make your wedding as smooth and enjoyable as possible!

What are the different styles of wedding photography and how do you choose the right one?

Wedding photography comes in various styles, and choosing the right one is all about matching it to your taste and the theme of your wedding. The main styles include traditional, which is more posed and formal; documentary, where moments are captured spontaneously; and fine art, which focuses on artistic, often dramatic, images. There’s also a contemporary style (the best description for my approach) that blends various elements for a modern look. As your photographer, I can help guide you through these styles and find the one that resonates with you. We’ll discuss what feels most natural to you and aligns with the story you want your wedding photos to tell.

How does the choice of a photographer reflect in the storytelling of your wedding day?

The photographer you choose plays a pivotal role in how the story of your wedding day is told through images. My approach as a photographer is to not just document the day but to capture the essence and emotion behind each moment. Whether it’s the joyful tears during the ceremony, the laughter at the reception, or the subtle, tender moments in between, I aim to create a visual narrative that reflects the true spirit of your day. The style, technique, and vision I bring will uniquely shape how these memories are captured and remembered for years to come.

What are the long-term benefits of investing in a professional wedding photographer?

Investing in a professional wedding photographer is investing in a lifetime of memories. The benefits go far beyond the wedding day itself. You’re ensuring that your special moments are captured with the highest quality and artistry. These photos become a family heirloom, passed down and cherished by generations. Professional photos also stand the test of time; they don’t fade or lose quality like amateur shots can. Plus, with a professional, you get peace of mind knowing that your memories are in skilled hands. In the end, these photographs are one of the few things that will remain long after your wedding day, continually bringing back the joy and emotions of that special occasion.

How does a professional photographer navigate challenging or unexpected situations during a wedding?

As a professional photographer, I’m well-equipped to handle the unexpected. Whether it’s a sudden downpour, a change in schedule, or any other challenge, I’m adept at adapting quickly. I come prepared with backup equipment to handle technical issues and have a keen eye for improvising shots that work with whatever situation arises. My experience in various wedding settings has honed my ability to stay calm and think on my feet, ensuring that, regardless of what comes up, your wedding photography remains unaffected and continues to capture your day beautifully. It’s all about being prepared, flexible, and creative – qualities that I pride myself on.

Bride ready to see the paige boy

Get to know your photographer

So you’ve found your photographer? I hope that is me! Let’s work out a way to get to know them a little better, there are a lot of things to ask but when asking don’t forget to listen to your heart, you spend a lot of time with your photographer on the wedding day so make sure you get along. I’ve answered these for you to save you time.

Can we see any full wedding galleries you’ve done recently?

Absolutely! There are sneaky peeks at most of the galleries in the client area but get in touch to see a full gallery. I obviously can only show those that have permitted me to share. All galleries including yours are password-protected.

How long have you been a wedding photographer?

My first wedding as a fully-fledged professional photographer was in 1999, yes that is the last century! I was very young and I have immense experience in the wedding industry because of it, I must be something right to still be here right?

What is your photography style?

As mentioned above, my approach to wedding photography is contemporary. I make sure the majority of the wedding is documentary, capturing intimate moments you may miss during the day. At pre-arranged times we’ll get some traditional groups if wanted and some fine art WOW shots for you to share far and wide, and to impress those buddies at work.

How many weddings have you photographed?

Since starting over 20 years ago I have attended over 500 weddings, that’s a whole lot of love!

Are you familiar with our ceremony and reception venue?

Most venues in Dorset have been visited by me but there are new ones every year and I only have so many weddings a year. The majority would give you a yes but even if it’s a no it is no difference. Every wedding is unique and each day at a venue is like the first time, that’s what makes my job so interesting.

What are your rates and what’s included in your packages?

This, as you may find is a difficult answer to find online. some photographers have it on their website whereas most don’t. this is not because we are hiding it, it is simply because there are so many variables it gets confusing. For a wedding in the local area (within 100 miles of Bournemouth) my peak full-day wedding prices start at £1950 and off-peak £1300. Things that a package could contain are a pre-wedding shoot, Wedding Album, second photographer or even a trash-the-dress shoot after the wedding day.

Do you have insurance?

Absolutely, and I don’t mind if you ask. This is one thing that does need to be asked, I have come across many a part-time photographer without it. The Lockdown shone a light on this. I have indemnity, Public liability and separate drone insurance.

How long after the wedding will we receive the photos?

How long is a piece of string? no, seriously I try as hard as I can to keep to a decent timeframe but I do not rush your photos. The turnaround in peak season, July-Sept can be 6 weeks due to the sheer volume of weddings but that said in 2023 I kept it to under 3 weeks with a few sneak peeks the following week of the wedding.

Do you have backup equipment and a backup plan in case of an emergency?

I certainly do carry backup equipment, failures of modern equipment are a certainty and carrying spares is part of being a professional. A wedding only happens once and I can’t repeat it just because a camera breaks down. Two cameras on me one more stashed away with many different lenses, each camera writes to two separate memory cards. It’s as belt and braces as it gets.

Can we provide a list of specific shots or poses we want?

I will ask you to give me a selection of traditional groups and special people you would like on the day, as for specific photos sure let me know what you’ve seen and what made you like my work. I won’t copy another photo but I’ll keep it in the back of my mind when shooting. Your wedding is as unique as you, your wedding photos should reflect that, let’s lead not follow.

Do you travel for weddings, and if so, what are the additional costs?

One of the perks of my career is that I can travel. All I need is my camera gear and clothes and I can go anywhere. Ask me for a bespoke quote for your destination wedding. I have been to many different countries with my work, I’d have to say Dubai was the furthest!

How much deposit do you require to confirm our booking, and when do we pay you?

To confirm your wedding date and keep it out of reach of anyone else a 20% non-refundable booking fee is payable. The final payment needs to be cleared 30 days before your wedding day whether it is part of a payment plan or a lump sum.

What is your policy on image backups and storage?

Your photos are stored in 3 different locations before you receive your photos then once you receive them I archive them on my server and have a copy online for you to access anytime in the first 12 months. After this, your photos become your responsibility unless you decide to extend the cloud photo storage for a further 12 months for a small fee.

What is your cancellation or rescheduling policy?

Cancellations forfeit the booking fee and the remaining amounts are tiered towards your wedding date correlating with the possibility of me filling the date. This is outlined in your contract. If Rescheduling your wedding for a reason beyond your control I will do everything I can to help you keep me as your photographer, during the pandemic only one wedding clashed and had to be photographed by an associate, communication is key.

Do you offer engagement or pre-wedding shoots?

Yes, but they are an addition as not everyone wants them, I found this out the hard way. If you want them, and I do recommend them, please add them to your bespoke package. The way I keep my base price as competitive as possible is by only putting in the bare bones so you can choose your package.

Are you the photographer who will shoot our wedding or will it be an associate?

Unless I cannot physically crawl to your wedding or an outbreak of brain-eating fungus (anything is possible) forces me to isolate it will be me. If not I have a network of superior photographers around the country to call on like Captain America facing Thanos.

What happens if you are sick on our wedding day?

I will assemble the legions mentioned above to come to your aid. I know and trust a lot of photographers across the country. You will not be let down…..or your money back!

Can we meet before the wedding to discuss the details?

Meeting your wedding photographer before the wedding is a great idea. Many a time I have walked into a room of people in dressing gowns wearing no makeup and hair up. I don’t recognise anyone and am thankful for the word ‘bride’ across the back of the gown! I may have had lots of contact with you via email but nothing beats a face-to-face chat, if that is not possible there is Zoom/facetime/Teams, it’s easy these days.

How do you capture the essence and emotion of the wedding day?

ooooo now that is a good question. I see it like fishing, I set myself up in an area of good light and with experience, knowing something will happen and wait. That is one of the differences between a wedding professional and a general photographer. I know the day inside and out and I love it.

What sets your photography apart from others?

As easy as it is to take a photo today the technical camera skills are something I haven’t thought about in a long time. When on a shoot or at a wedding I am concerned with what is happening in front of the camera. I can get people to relax which is key to a natural smile plus women have laughed at me all my life which is good for my work life, not so good at home lol.

How do you handle varying cultural or religious wedding traditions?

Love is universal, capturing emotion is the same wherever I bring my camera. Knowing traditions doesn’t hurt though. I’ve been in the wedding industry for long enough to have seen most.

Do you have experience with weddings of our size and type?

I started my career with a wedding of over 300 people, I’ve shot events of over 1000 people and since the pandemic, I’ve shot many weddings with under 20 people. So it’s sufficient to say, yes.

Do you offer videography services as well?

Not currently. Video is a very different skill, the camera is set up differently. Some think it is a flick of a switch but it is also a mindset. Changing between the two, in my opinion, opens up the possibility of mistakes, there are a few who manage it solo but not many. I recommend a videographer who specialises, I can let you know of some great film makers I work with.

How do you coordinate with videographers?

I usually pop a quick email to those I don’t know beforehand to say hi. We work on the same team, for you! I work well with 90% of videographers and I’m sure they sat the same of photographers. There are always a few that insist on being in your photos.

How intrusive is your photography style during the event?

It is a fine line to tread at a wedding, I try to be as unintrusive as possible but there are key moments when I take control if needed like rounding up a wayward family, usually, this is done by your ushers though.

How do you handle unforeseen issues on the wedding day?

There are always unforeseen moments on a wedding day. If they are photogenic I’ll capture them but I am there first and foremost for you. I have spotted a bride’s sugar level fall off a cliff before anyone else recently, I stopped in the middle of a group session and sat her down, gave her chocolate and water from my bag. I’m your BFF for the day don’t worry

Do you offer destination wedding services?

Yes, Yes and Yes. Who doesn’t like to travel? Contact me for a bespoke quote.

What are your travel fees for weddings outside your area?

If a wedding is within 100 miles of Bournemouth travel is included in the base price but if you are further away you can expect to pay for travel and if needed, a hotel stay. I don’t need the 5-star treatment just a bed so I’m rested and ready for the morning of your wedding day.

Do you have a dress code for the wedding day?

A dress code isn’t quite how I’d describe it but I believe that I need to be as smart as your guests. Turning up in blue denim is a no from me unless you decide you’re getting married in denim!

How do you plan and prepare for our wedding day?

I am on your team, we will have worked through the day beforehand and I’ve written down days plan. Preparation is the key to this, once we have a plan you’ll be relaxed.

What information do you need from us before the wedding day?

We will run through the day together and I’ll gather information from you with a questionnaire. All I need you to think about is what formal groups you may like (family and friends etc)

Do you bring an assistant or a second photographer?

I rarely think about bringing an assistant as I prefer to be solo, free to disappear and capture those natural shots, an assistant is more for a posed style of photography. A second photographer is a brilliant addition to your wedding and yes, I certainly do include this option. A second photographer will let you see your wedding day from two places at once, missing nothing.

How do you coordinate with other vendors?

I know most local wedding vendors, and they know me! If they are new to me I’ll drop them an email to say Hi before the wedding day. I believe we are one team working to make your day perfect.

How do we reserve our date with you?

Get in contact to reserve your wedding day, all it takes is a 20% booking fee and signing your contract. Once that is done I’m your man, officially.

Award winning dorset wedding photographer

What happens on our wedding day?

We’ve made a plan and the big day is here now, what? You need to relax and enjoy your wedding day. Imagine it’s like writing the script for a movie and now you need to sit back and let the director and actors perform. A few little tips and tricks don’t hurt though.

What advice do you have for couples to look their best in photos?

The no 1. piece of advice I’d give you would be to be you and relax! Just ignore me and be yourself, If you are relaxed it will show in the photos, this all comes down to personality harmony.

How do you make guests feel comfortable in front of the camera?

I’m blessed to with a personality that helps people to relax and enjoy themselves in from of the lens. Quite a few people have said I’m funny, I don’t see myself as a comedian but I’ll take the compliment.

How do you handle group shots and family portraits?

I’d love for you to have a few people around me to gather members of your family…. maybe the ‘Ushers’ I mean that is what the definition of usher is, isn’t it? I am quite good at herding cats without appearing rude which is something I hear quite a lot. It’s a fine line but I make it fun!

How do you handle difficult lighting situations?

No lighting is difficult but sometimes a bit of technical knowledge is helpful, at the end of the day that is what you are paying for. Wedding photographers have to be able to perform in all weather and lighting conditions, there are no do-overs.

What is your policy on guest photography during the event?

I have no problem with your guests taking photos at your wedding, I think it is a sign of the times and having phones in the photographs shows the time we are in. I would say, however, I won’t shout to get people out of the way, if they walk in front of me to get their photo at a key moment i.e. the ceremony kiss or something like that I can’t be held responsible for missing it.

How do you ensure a diverse range of shots?

Time management is a big part of wedding photography, if we end up with 40 group photos I won’t be able to get those lovely natural photos we all like. We will work all this out together on our journey from booking to your wedding day.

Can you accommodate special requests or unique ideas for photos?

Absolutely, you are the boss. I would love your input on your favourite photos before the wedding day but on the day itself, let me get it for you, don’t worry it’s all in hand.

Do you need feeding on our wedding day?

Now that is a great question and one that sparks fierce debate online between wedding services. My personal opinion is that if I worked in an office I’d take my own lunch so a wedding day is no different. I will happily slope away for a break while you are eating, no one needs to see photos of people eating, do they? If you feel kind enough to offer food I would not decline but it is not expected.

Is there an extra charge for overtime or additional hours?

Clocking off at the end of the allotted time at your wedding isn’t going to happen. The time is an approximation of the length of stay at your wedding. If things run 20 minutes or so behind so will I. If you are running hours behind I’ll talk with you as that is different, there could be a charge as it’ll be equivalent to the next package.

Abbots Court wedding photographer - the pagoda

What happens after the wedding day?

A wedding day has a long time in the lead up to it but the big day flies by. After the fun has been had and everyone has gone to bed what then? Your photographer is one of the only services that does not finish when the wedding day is over. Our journey is just starting to get going, your photographs are being polished and backed up for eternity.

What is your turnaround time for delivering the photos?

Turnaround for the final presentation of your photographs does depend on the time of year, in late summer the editing queue does start to back up. It can get to about 6 weeks in a super busy year. You will always get a sneaky peek at some photos the following week after the wedding. I did manage to keep to 3-4 weeks in 2023 through.

Can we have a few photos shortly after the wedding for thank you cards?

Absolutely! When the sneaky peek photos come to you they are also ready for printing on your thank you cards. Cards are also something available from your gallery should you want to add this to your package.

Can we have digital copies of all the photos?

ALL wedding photography packages include digital copies. You have the right to print them too, although I have access to professional labs and the quality is better in your gallery ordering system than on the high street. The only limit on copyright is commercial use, if Hello magazine wants to feature your photos we should talk…

Do you provide photo retouching, colour adjustment, or other corrective services?

Colour adjustment and retouching are all part of the package. My rule for retouching is if it’s not going to be there in a couple of weeks, remove it e.g. a spot that appears on the day.

Can we order prints or albums directly from you?

Yes, I’d recommend it! I have chosen my album suppliers and photographic labs specifically because their quality is exceptional. They are professional services not available to the general public and made to last.

How do you protect our images from being lost or damaged?

Your photos are backed up in three places by the following day including one offsite. Once they are finished editing your photographs are stored online in a private gallery for you to download anytime. I recommend downloading them to a computer yourself too. After 12 months the gallery expires but should you want to keep the online backup it can be extended indefinitely with a small 12 yearly charge, currently £25 per year.

How involved can we be in the editing process?

You have chosen to use my photographic services as you like my style so trust me. If you see something that stands out in the final images please ask the question as human error can happen but the editing part of the process is part of your photographer selection. Photographers take their photos on the day with their editing process in mind.

Will you post about our big day on social media?

Yes, as much as it pains me to use social media it is a part of life now. Your photos and sneak peeks will appear on social media unless an NDA is required. I have experience with Armed Forces weddings, for example, uniformed people would not end up online unless agreed before publishing.

Will you be submitting our photos to blogs or magazines?

Blogs and Magazines are always interested in featuring great weddings, If your wedding gets interest from one I’ll let you know. They usually want to send you a questionnaire, whatever happens, it is always exciting to see the hard work that goes into a wedding featured.

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