Hiring a professional wedding photographer can be a confusing and often daunting experience.
Hiring the best professional wedding photographer is also one of the most important decisions you can make for your engagement or wedding.
You need be prepare yourself with questions to see if they are a right fit but there are just so many, where do you even begin?
From pricing to style of photography, to travelling costs to if there will be a backup photographer should anything go wrong, these are the things you need to consider before you hire a professional wedding photographer.
You may think you already know the answer to some of the questions below but our advice to you is to never assume – depending on the wedding photography studio, you'd be surprised at some of the things that may not be included in your wedding photography package! You definitely don't want any surprises.
Below we provide you with the most important questions to ask a professional wedding photographer and why you should ask them. We also answer them as accurately as we can so you know what to expect.
BONUS: Download the complete checklist of questions to ask a professional photographer below
How long have you been in business? How many weddings have you shot?
Ideally, you want a professional wedding photographer with plenty of experience. It is your big day after all and there is only one chance to get everything just right.
All of our photographers have more than 5 years experiences and each have shot over 150 weddings across Sydney and around Australia.
What's your personal style of wedding photography?
This is a question to ask your professional wedding photographer to get a feel of their working style and how well you work together. You'll also want to check out their wedding photography portfolio as well to ensure their style is right for you.
At The Mood Lab, we prefer natural light, candid, contemporary approach yet maintaining heirloom quality with a fine art vision.
Will we have full printing and reproduction rights?
Obviously, you'll want to have full printing and reproduction rights after the photos are taken. It will be a bummer if you can't even have the right to printing and reproducing your own wedding photos! But trust us, not every wedding photographer is upfront about this.
You have full printing and reproduction rights to your photos immediately after The Mood Lab takes them.
Will I have rights to the digital copies?
You may want to have digital copies to share with friends and relatives so this is a must.
The Mood Lab gives you all rights to the digital copies.
How many wedding photographers and cameras will be used that day?
Things often go wrong in the most inopportune times so you'll want at least a backup in case anything does goes wrong.
In the standard wedding photography packages, there is one photographer, second photographer can be hired as requested with additional cost. For each photographer we always have two cameras for two reasons: First, they can back up each other if one is faulty, Second with 2 cameras and two different focal length lenses can cover all types of locations.
Do you backup your images?
Having backup of photos will ensure the best memories on your wedding day are not lost should anything unexpected happens to the originals.
We backup all the photos for our clients for at least one year after photos are taken.
How long before you receive the images?
Typically, this will take about 6 – 8 weeks, but we at The Mood Lab know people want to see their photos ASAP and will provide sneak peek photos within a week via an online gallery.
How will the photos be delivered?
Photos are normally picked up from photo studio or delivered via mail or electronically.
We normally deliver the photos with USB and people can pick up from our studio, or we can deliver photos via digital transfer on request.
Do you get all of your photos, or only a selection?
Ideally, you'd want to have access to all photos.
At The Mood Lab, clients will receive all of the photos from the day in high resolution.
Price package: What do they offer and for how much?
You'd want to see prices beforehand and compare options.
How far in advance do I need to book with you?
This will depend on availability of the wedding photography studio but it is best to give ample time for preparation.
We prefer bookings to be made the earlier the better, but normally 6 – 9 months. However, please contact us and see if we can fit you in for more urgent requests.
How would you describe your working style?
Obviously, this is down to your individual preference, personality and how well you work with the wedding photographer. You may prefer a more formal approach or a light-hearted one.
At The Mood Lab, we prefer an easy going and flexible style because we find it brings out the best in people when they are being themselves and enjoying the moment.
Do you have a portfolio I can view? Full wedding albums?
A portfolio will demonstrate the style of your professional wedding photographer and how it matches with your expectations.
Our wedding portfolio is available on our website to view. However, due to the space limitation of the website, client are welcome visit our studio to see more works up close.
What type of equipment do you use (digital/ film)?
For the more technical, you may want to choose between digital or film.
We can shoot with both Digital and film camera, but most of our works are done with digital cameras. Client can request film camera if they have the preference.
Do you produce color and black and white photos?
This will depend on your individual preference or you may want both. It is good to have options.
At The Mood Lab, we can do both. If you are unsure, we can show you some samples to help you decide.
Do you accommodate specific pose requests?
Do you have a favourite pose? If so, you'd want to bring your A game to the wedding.
Yes, we accommodate all pose requests. In fact, we urge you to try fun poses and practice them before the wedding photoshoot!
Who is the photographer that would shoot the wedding. Do they have any assistance? How are the responsibilities divided?
A professional wedding photo studio will likely have many professional wedding photographers and there may be one that you particular like. It is good to know beforehand which photographer will be doing the actual photoshoot on the day.
We offer a flexible approach. If client booked one photographer, there will only be him and there is no assistance, unless client would like to hire a second photographer and they will work as a team.
Do you have backup equipment? A backup plan in case of illness or unavailability?
It is critical to have a backup plan in place with a backup wedding photographer with backup equipment should anything happen to your primary one – after all, you only have one chance to capture the magical moment.
At The Mood Lab, our photographer each have at least two cameras and a whole team of photographers who can always backup each other so you can have the best peace of mind.
Do you have a travel fee?
This will be important to know if you prefer a destination wedding.
At The Mood Lab- for local Sydney weddings, over 25KMs from CBD we will charge $1/kms for the travelling fee for each photographer. For destination wedding, client only need to pay extra for the flights and 2 nights accommodations for all the photographers.
Do you photograph more than one event in one day?
This questions is used to organise and schedule the event with your wedding photographer.
Our Answer: Yes, if we can fit in the schedule and but only if we have ample time so the events don't clash.
What is the typical duration of your services?
You may need to know this in advance if you're time sensitive or have a strict schedule.
Our packages start from 6 hours to full days depending on your requirements. From the wedding day till receiving all the products such as photos and album, total time is around 8 – 10 weeks.
If my event lasts longer than expected, will you stay, and what is the additional charge?
You'll want to know this upfront in case you need to prolong your wedding for unexpected reasons.
Our Extra hours fee are: Photography $200/hr/photographer, Videography $350/hr/2 videographers.
What packages do you offer – can we customize them based on our budget/wants?
Not every pre-made package is right for everyone. Maybe you only have a certain budget or a special requirement on your wedding day.
Our standard packages are base on 6 hours, 10 hours and 12 hours, we can also customise the packages to fit client’s need and budget.
Do you provide retouching, color adjustment, or other corrective services?
If you want to look your best then retouching and photoshopping are services are a must.
We retouch all the photos in photoshop by ourself to make sure the quality is top-notch.
Will I receive a written contract?
A wedding photoshoot contains many different parts and there will be lots of agreements on what you are or not entitled to so it is best to always have a written contract.
Our Answer: Yes, our clients will receive a written contract with all the deliverables discussed.
How much of a deposit is required and when is it due?
This will depend on the wedding photographer but it is rare to paid 100% upfront.
Our Answer: 20% deposit is required to secure the booking, the remaining balance is due one week before the wedding.
What is your refund/cancellation policy?
In most cases, if client wishes to cancel the booking, deposit is not refundable. This is because the photographer have already set aside their time slot and resources with your wedding and cannot accept any last minute bookings which is a loss of time and money for them.
Do you have liability insurance?
Most professional wedding photographer will have this. If not, you need to question why they do not have it as proof of insurance may be required for a variety of venues.
Our answer: Yes, we have public liability insurance which can cover up to 20 million dollars.
Are there any additional costs we may encounter?
You'd want to avoid any surprises and be aware of any additional costs on top of what you're paying.
We only have additional fees for two scenarios:
1. Travelling fee may be applied if it’s over 25 kms from CBD
2. Parking fee/Toll
What's your favourite part of doing wedding photography?
Finally, this is the question to ask a professional wedding photographer to see if their style and motivation is a fit for you. Not every professional photographer is the same technically and the way they work.
At The Mood Lab, we have many favourite parts of doing wedding photography but if we could just pick 3 they would be:
- Passion for photography, it’s our passion to create images we love and also appreciate the trust from people who love our creativity and vision.
- Attending a very special event, every wedding is unique and you can create valuable memory for people.
- Travelling to new places, as photographers we travel around the country and the world to experience new things which inspire us.
There you have it – a list of the most important questions to ask a professional wedding photographer before you take the plunge. These questions cover a wide variety of scenarios from technical to personal styles of photography and everything in between.
At the end of the day, hiring a professional wedding photographer will depend on your personal style and how compatible you are with your wedding photographer. A good wedding photographer will always allow you to be the best version of yourself, enjoying your special occasion.
We highly recommend that you talk with your wedding photographer beforehand to get a feel of how they can help you and show you their style of work with past photoshoots. Only then can you make the most informed decision.
If you'd like to discuss further regarding an upcoming wedding, we would love to hear from you. Just drop us a line via our contact page .