austin + destination wedding photographer

What To Ask Before Hiring a Wedding Photographer

What To Ask Before Hiring a Wedding Photographer

For Couples

September 14, 2021

I’m a photographer in Austin, Texas capturing sophisticated celebrations, elevated experiences, and refined clientele around the globe. 

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Finding a wedding photographer for your Austin wedding is one of the first big decisions you will make! Oftentimes, you will start looking for your wedding planner, venue, and photographer when you start planning. These three are essential for your wedding day! But as you start to look, it can be overwhelming. Picking the right photographer can feel stressful, but as a photographer who has been shooting weddings since 2008, I have a few questions that you should ask before hiring a wedding photographer. These are ones that I often get asked, so read on for all 15 questions! 

Are you available for my wedding date? What do the next steps look like for moving forward with booking?

This is one of the most important questions to ask! When you inquire, make sure to give your wedding date (or dates you are looking at) to ensure that the photographer is available. 2022 is going to be one of the busiest years for weddings, so keep in mind that many photographers will be booked out 12-18 months in advance. Most photographers will require 25-50% deposit to book.

How do you approach photographing a wedding or how would you describe your photography style? 

There are so many styles of photography. From moody and dark filters to light and airy, to photojournalistic. Styles can vary from the edits, how they use light, and how they pose (or not pose!) their couples. As you look at galleries, see if it fits with your overall final vision.

Personally, my photography is authentic, organic, and filled with joy. My passion lies in capturing two people who are truly in love! So you won’t find me overly posing my couples, but rather giving prompts to get them comfortable in front of the camera, and letting their love shine!

You will spend more time with your photographer than any other vendor on your wedding day, so make sure you are comfortable with them. You can also ask how they approach the wedding day. Are they constantly posing you? Or do they step back and capture the wedding as things happen?

Austin Wedding Photographer - Julie Wilhite What To Ask Before Hiring a Wedding Photographer

How long have you been photographing weddings?

While I have been photographing weddings since 2008, there are many photographers in Austin with various years of experience. I also suggest asking how many weddings the photographer has shot, since some may do it part-time, and only photograph a few weddings every year.

Do you carry backup equipment?

Always make sure your photographer carries backup equipment. Cameras are just like any technology, and occasionally give us trouble. That is why I bring two camera bodies, multiple lenses, use two memory card slots and carry additional backup equipment to every wedding. You can rest assured that we will have everything we need on your wedding day!

Have you worked at our venue before?

Even if your photographer has not shot at your venue, they may be willing to visit the venue before your wedding to see the space. Each venue has unique spaces and lighting. Even if I have photographed at a venue before, I still arrive early the day of the wedding to tour the property and pick out the portrait location spots for that specific day! Lighting changes month to month, even day to day, and each season is different. So I make sure even if I have shot dozens of weddings at the venue, that I know how the lighting will be on your wedding day!

15 Questions To Ask your Wedding Photographer

Do you have recommendations for videographers that you love working with?

Photographers and Videographers work closely together on your wedding day. So it is important to ask them who they recommend! We can suggest videographers we have worked with before, have a similar style and way of approaching a wedding day, and give you the best recommendations. 

In what ways can we set you up for success on our wedding day? 

This is such a great question to ask! Finding a wedding photographer is all about connecting with them. Asking them ahead of time what you can do to make your wedding day a success shows that you are looking to create the best environment! Most will require a plated meal, and a break or two if they shoot for over 8 hours. As a photographer, I ask that all personal details are ready to go before I arrive, so I can go right to details! I also love to talk through different recommendations for lighting the reception to make sure your reception images have depth + magic!

Do you create a shot list?

Most photographers will welcome a list of important shots or a list of family members you want to be photographed together, everyone’s approach is a little bit different. Ask your potential photographers how they create shot lists, and what all you will need to provide prior to the wedding.

Can I see a full gallery of images from a wedding?

This is an important one! Being able to see full wedding galleries shows you exactly what a wedding couple can expect to see in their own wedding images. This way you can see the complete day and how the photographer shoots in different lighting situations.

15 Questions To Ask your Wedding PhotographerAustin Elopement

What is the backup plan if you are unable to shoot my wedding for an emergency/unexpected reason?

While this hardly ever happens, it is good to make sure the photographer has a backup plan that you are comfortable with! Most will have a trustworthy network of photographers they can reach out to. We make sure that if we are unable to shoot your wedding, we will find a replacement that fits your style!

What do your packages include?

There are so many different packages, so make sure to get a list of them all! Make sure you know how many hours are included, if it includes an engagement session and if prints or albums are included. Also ask about what the additional hourly rate is, and if they include a second shooter. Our collections start at 8 hours and a second photographer. Of course, smaller packages for intimate weddings and elopements are also available!

What is your postponement policy?

In light of the last year, most photographers have updated postponement policies in place if you have to reschedule. Ask what their policy is, and make sure you are comfortable with it. Most will require additional money down to move the date or a re-signed contract.

Austin Wedding Photographer - Julie Wilhite What To Ask Before Hiring a Wedding Photographer

How do we receive the photos, is there an online gallery? The high-resolution images with print rights?

Most photographers will use an online gallery to share the images with you. Make sure to ask how long they keep the images in that gallery as well, since some remove them after a year. At Julie Wilhite Photography, we deliver via an online gallery for viewing + ordering, as well as the high-resolution files for the couple to download, and a print release to be able to reproduce them at the lab of your choice.

Do you retouch or process the images you deliver?

Photographers will not release raw, unedited images. This is because they are large files that need to be retouched or edited prior to viewing! Make sure to ask your photographer if they offer re-touching, and to what extent they offer it. Most will offer simple retouching, like blemishes. But if you require a lot of re-touching, they may have additional fees.

Hiring The Perfect Austin Wedding Photographer

No matter who you decide to book to photograph your wedding, these fifteen questions will help you find the perfect one! If you are getting married in Austin, Texas or anywhere around the world, I would love to photography your incredible day. Reach out today, and let’s talk about your vision!