1. Do you have photos of entire weddings that I can see?
Request to see the images from a few complete weddings, instead of just a sampling of several events. This way, you can better judge the photographer’s work and see how he photographs the entire spectrum of a wedding―the bride and groom getting ready, the ceremony, the reception, and the portraits. If possible, try to see a proof book: a collection of raw prints before they were retouched.
2. Do you have references I can call?
Ask to speak with two or three former brides. Ask them: Would you recommend the photographer to your best friends, and why? Was the photographer on time? How was he or she dressed? Was he or she professional to work with throughout the entire process? Did the guests have any comments?
3. Do you post the proofs online, or will I receive negatives?
If your photographer shoots on film, you will receive traditional negatives. If he or she shoots digitally, the proofs should be posted online. Digital proofs posted on the photographer’s website or on another specific site are usually available sooner than negatives, and they allow you to share your photos with family and friends soon after the wedding. Be sure to ask how long the pictures will remain online.
4. Who will be photographing my wedding?
If your photographer works for a large studio, he or she may be one of several other photographers working for the company. Since every photographer has his or her own style, technique, and personality, it’s important that the person you interview and like will be the one doing the picture taking. Some studios do not know who will be shooting a wedding until the very day of the event. If the studio cannot guarantee you your first or second choice of photographers, consider moving on. You do not want to risk ending up with a photographer you won’t be happy with.
5. When will my proofs, prints, and wedding album be available?
Find out your photographer’s turnaround time. Also, ask how long you have to choose the photos from your proofs and order your prints and album.
6. How many pictures will you take?
A photographer usually shoots about 500 exposures at an average wedding, but how many of those images will you have to choose from? Some photographers charge per roll of film, so find out that price as well.