Questions You Should (and Should Not) Ask Your Wedding Photographer - Photographers Speak Out!

Posted by Admin on September 9th 2016

The ISPWP conducted an informal poll of its members to see what questions they wished their clients would ask them (and what questions they wish they didn’t ask). We received an interesting variety of answers, let us know what your thoughts are in the comments!

If you are looking for a wedding photographer in your location, use the location search box on our homepage to find ISPWP members who work in your location.

NAME: Laetitia Patezour
BUSINESS NAME: Tres Jolie Photo
LOCATION: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

QUESTION 1: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD ask?
“Could I look at a full online gallery of one wedding?”

As a photographer we present maybe 50 to 100 pictures of a wedding on Facebook or our blog and from this wedding 1 or 2 pictures will go in our website. We of course choose the best ones. And what about the other pictures you will receive, what about the in-betweens? This is why I always recommend that my interested clients should check out 1 or 2 full online gallery from their home :)

QUESTION 2: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD NOT ask?
Every question is legitimate. Even if some questions seem unnecessary, this is generally the couple's first wedding, and maybe the first photographer they will hire. A lot of couples take questions from books, guides, or friends. Any question is good (even the not good ones).

NAME: Jason Parsons
BUSINESS NAME: J P Wedding Photography
LOCATION: Cardiff, United Kingdom

QUESTION 1: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD ask?
“Did you get the meal we ordered for you?”

Usually I will ask that the couple either arrange a meal for me during the Reception time, or let me know if there isn't one available, so I can make other arrangements. If they have arranged one for me, I don't like to bother the couple and ask them when my food is coming, and also I don't like to bother the staff who are working hard getting things done. Please remember, the photographer may sometimes go a whole day without eating.

QUESTION 2: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD NOT ask?
“Where do you want us to stand?”

This is YOUR wedding day, not mine. You do whatever you want to do, and stand wherever you want to stand. It's my job to capture every moment you share with your family and friends on this day. And although there are many hours in this day, it will be over before you know it. Use this special day to spend it with your loved ones, and allow me to document the NATURAL emotion and laughter and everything that goes on.

NAME: Nikola Smernic
BUSINESS NAME: Nikola Smernic
LOCATION: Hvar, Croatia

QUESTION 1: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD ask?
“Can we see a few of your whole weddings?”

That is one of the most important questions to ask a wedding photographer during the booking process, and only a few couples a year ask that. I always suggest to take some time and look at a few of my full online galleries. It should be very important to clients to know that they can expect consistent quality and really good coverage of their wedding from start to finish, including getting ready, portrait shots and dancing shots in the evening in any kind of conditions. Clients usually fall for photos seen on photographer's social networks and easily forget that those are in some cases only carefully selected very best ones. After the wedding is over, you’d be more than happy with some very good and carefully executed formal/group shots and also with some really fun dance shots of your guests having a great time. In my opinion, a photographer needs to be capable of covering the whole day with the same level of quality and consistency.

QUESTION 2: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD NOT ask?
“Can we have the RAW files for every image taken at our wedding?” 

I do not get this question very often, but it always confuses me because:
- RAW files are never in my contract, not even as an additional option.
- There is absolutely nothing they can do with RAW files, they are only a part of photographer’s process of getting the very best photos to keep. There are numerous similar moments and some unsuccessful attempts/ideas among the RAW files, so the photographer should be able to keep this process to himself while also delivering the very best that presents his style.
- RAW files are also unedited photos which, as such, hold only a part of photographer’s vision, and some frames are not representative of the photographer’s work

NAME: Marian Sterea
BUSINESS NAME: Marian Sterea
LOCATION: Bucharest, Romania

QUESTION 1: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD ask?
“How long after the wedding will we receive our pictures?”

The clients should ask about the deadline to deliver the images during the booking process, because they shouldn't call me after a week and ruin my feng-shui with all sorts of questions about the deadline written in the contract.

QUESTION 2: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD NOT ask?
“What camera do you use?”

They shouldn't ask this because what I present on my website I will give to them, and because the camera doesn't think. You are not a better photographer if you have a better camera!

NAME: Fabio Azanha    
BUSINESS NAME: Fabio Azanha Photography 
LOCATION: Lisbon, Portugal

QUESTION 1: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD ask?
“What are some of the best ceremony and reception venues?”

It has occurred to us on quite a few occasions that couples had booked our services prior to having their wedding venue picked. Only a handful of them  had counted on our opinion as to the choice of the location. And for clients who count on being satisfied with the final visual effect, the right choice of venue is paramount in our opinion. So we always welcome any queries regarding ceremony and reception places. There are wedding reception venues with elegant simplicity that, with little personal touches done with the aid of an experience decorator, make for the perfect background for any wedding theme.
QUESTION 2: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD NOT ask?
Every honest question is always welcomed.
The wedding day is a unique event in the couples´ lives, and there is no question regarding the occasion and the photographer´s involvement that we find inappropriate. It actually makes us happy when we see our potential clients´ eagerness in getting to know our work, style or ourselves. And since we have had a substantial experience in all variety of wedding documentation, we´re always happy to share our thoughts and knowledge with our would-be or future couples.

NAME: Vlad Lodoaba
LOCATION: Bucharest, Romania

QUESTION 1: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD ask?
“When does the sun set?”

When planning a portrait session, couples often ask “where” the best place might be, but few ask about “when”. The most amazing location on Earth will likely still suck at noon, but that tiny patch of trees behind the wedding venue could look just stunning half an hour before the sun goes down and, in my opinion, lighting and emotion trump prettiness of venue every time. Of course, for photographers, having a photo shoot at sunset on the hills of Tuscany probably means you died and went to photographer heaven, but if you’re a couple planning your photo shoot, do ask about the best time to do it (and please don’t rush the photographer because Aunt Jane wants a picture with you during cocktail hour, we can do that 30 minutes later).

QUESTION 2: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD NOT ask?
There is no such thing as an inappropriate question, or a question that clients shouldn’t ask.
Most couples are getting married for the first time and haven’t worked with a professional photographer before.
At the same time, every photographer’s style, workflow and personality are different, creating an almost-infinite set of variables (including, but not limited to, style of photography, post-amount of post-processing, delivery time, interaction on the wedding day, delivery deadlines, etc.). 
Clients are better-informed now than ever before, but there is always a risk that information gathered from online articles (“x images you MUST have at your wedding”), or from friends and family (“my photographer did this or that”) leads to a set of assumptions that might not match the reality of working with their photographer of choice on the wedding day.
I always try to explain as much as possible about how I work and what the clients can expect, it’s important to understand exactly what’s important to the couple, so there is NO question that should be off-limits. Even if the answer is no or doesn’t match the couple’s expectations, any concern should be discussed before, rather than after the wedding day, as communication is key to a successful partnership.

NAME: Jos WoodSmith (photo by: Tree WoodSmith)
LOCATION: Portland, Oregon

QUESTION 1: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD ask?
“Knowing how close you are with us on our wedding day, how much effort and time do you pour into getting to know us before our wedding?” 

We spend more time with a couple than anyone else on their wedding day. The sensitivity of our presence shapes a large part of the experience. Our understanding of who and what is most meaningful to the couple adds to what we capture. Our intention. How well we communicate. Where and how we move. When a couple knows how much we care they care how much we know. This frees them up to fully trust us and be their most authentic selves for the best experience possible. When the experience is great a good photographer will reflect that in the photographs.

QUESTION 2: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD NOT ask?
“How much do you charge and when do we get the digital files?”

While price and product is an important question to know, a good photographer will tell you how much they charge and what is included. All too often a client begins their conversation by asking about price and digital files. If a photographer feels like a client is simply "shopping" they will most likely feel devalued by the client. Clients should know that what moves a photographer are people who openly share about their relationship, how excited they are about their wedding and how much they value well documented memories. Good photographers will put quality time into designing fine art albums, wall art, and printed photographs for the most powerful results. 

NAME: Nino Lombardo 
BUSINESS NAME: Nino Lombardo Photographer 
LOCATION: Sicily, Italy

QUESTION 1: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD ask?
“How much experience do you have shooting weddings?”

My clients should ask for information about my photographic experience, because it is important to know whom you are entrusting the photo shoot of the most important day of their lives! 

QUESTION 2: What is ONE question that clients SHOULD NOT ask?
“How many pictures will I receive?”

Most of my clients ask me how many files I give to them; but it is impossible to establish an exact number! I can give you estimates based on prior similar weddings, but every wedding is unique.

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