Six Important Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer Before Signing a Contract

Six Important Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer Before Signing a Contract

A wedding is a big deal. It’s one of the most significant days in a person’s life, and it goes by in an instant. That’s why finding your wedding photographer is so important! Your wedding photographer preserves this once-in-a-lifetime event, and helps you to help you cherish your wedding (and your marriage!) for the rest of your life.

Once you’ve researched photography styles, interviewed your favorites, and decided on your perfect photographer, it’s time to make things official! Here are six important questions to ask your wedding photographer before signing a contract.

1. May I see several full wedding galleries?

Any photographer can shoot one or two perfect events and pull together a highlight reel of gorgeous wedding photographs. You want to see full galleries to see consistency from the start of a wedding day to the last dance, and from one wedding to another. Make sure you like what is captured at each point throughout the day! 

I always share full wedding galleries with my clients, so they know what to expect!

2. How many weddings do you book in a weekend?

Some photographers have a team of associates that work under their brand, and this is a great service! Just make sure that the photographer you meet and fall in love with will be the same photographer who captures all of your wedding day!

3. What is your guaranteed delivery?

My Dad, a chef, always says that good food takes time. Good photographs take time, as well. Just make sure you have a clearly defined expectation of how much time. A photographer’s turn-around time varies, and there is no right or wrong timeframe, just make sure it’s spelled out in the contract so you know what to expect!

Six Important Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer Before Signing a Contract

4. Can I give you a “shot list?” 

I get this question so often! The term “shot list” can mean one of three things: 

  1. A list of standard photos the couple expects.
  2. A list of family and friend groupings.
  3. A Pinterest board (or similar) of specific poses the couple wants the photographer to take.

I don’t follow a written shot list of photos, but I capture typical detail photographs in the course of my normal work (the dress, the rings, portraits of the couple, etc). I’ve been doing this long enough that the “shot list” is in my head and is a matter of habit. 

When it comes to family and friends, however, I always ask my couples to write out those groupings for me! I don’t know all of the important people in your life as well as you do, and I rely heavily on my couple’s lists to ensure no one is forgotten.

In regards to the last point about an inspiration board of specific poses… I love when my clients show me inspiration, as long as they recognize that it’s just that— inspiration. Every wedding is unique, because every couple is unique, and no two photos will ever be identical. I love to see what inspires my couples, and what photos they fall in love with. But my biggest goal is to capture each couple in their own unique way, so I view these “lists” as inspiration instead of as a list to follow!

5. In what format or medium will I receive my final images?

This is such an important question! Will you receive high resolution images or social media-sized images? Will images be delivered in a shareable online gallery or via USB? How long will you have access to digital images? Are image downloads included in your package? If your photographer shoots film, will you receive printed proofs, or digital  proofs only? Will your gallery included color-corrected and/or retouched images, or is retouching an additional cost? Will you receive any tangible product such as prints or an album, and how long will that take to create?

Every photographer has a unique system for image delivery, so it’s important to ask questions and make sure you fully understand the final delivery format and what you can expect!

6. Can I make changes to my package after I sign the contract?

Very few clients have a finalized wedding day timeline when they sign a contract with me, so I allow a lot of flexibility for a la carte items and additional coverage after the contract has been signed! I always encourage my clients to make a list of their package must haves, and put that into the contract first, and we can add hours or items later as needed. 

Once you have answers to these questions, sign that contract and pop a bottle of champagne!! Congrats on making a huge and exciting decision about your wedding— celebrate it! 

Six Important Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer Before Signing a Contract

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Hello, I'm Sarah Bradshaw! Classic-obsessed, coffee-loving D.C. wedding photographer. I’ photograph because I believe that all of life is beautiful and every person has a story worth telling. I'd love to tell yours.

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