When searching for a wedding photographer, particularly in Toronto, it's crucial to ask specific questions that can distinguish those who are truly skilled from those who are merely adept at marketing themselves. Deciding on your wedding photography can be one of the most significant decisions when planning your big day. This blog will talk about the most important questions to ask your wedding photographer and why those questions are important and what the answers might mean.

Top 17 Questions to Ask your Wedding Photographer

Q1: How many pictures will we get?

Most photographers will probably quote between 50-70 photos per hour and this number is really meant to be a guesstimate, most weddings are all very different and some just have a lot more action than others. Take a look at several full day galleries and ask yourself if the images are repetitive or interesting and unique and tell a full story.

This isn’t an easy one to answer because everyone is different; but if you want to ask your photographer that question you first need to ask yourself something. Do I prefer quantity or quality? It really comes down to do you really want/need 10-15 variations of the same same photo of your shoes.

Q2: What gear do you use?

It really doesn’t matter what brand a photographer uses; whether it’s Canon, Nikon, Sony or really at anything that takes photos.

What matters is that:

  • They are using cameras with 2 memory card slots in them so they can make active backups as they’re shooting the day
  • Available lighting to make sure that when lights start to dim, photo quality does not.
  • They have backup camera bodies, lenses and flashes that are equivalent in quality to their primary gear

Q3: Do you edit the photos or does someone else

Some people have a post production team that is exclusive to them and helps with editing. There’s nothing wrong with this – they are dedicated individuals that work exclusively for a company and within a certain style and will consistently produce content that hits that style. From our own experience, We’ve found that unless you have an exclusive editor, quality will never be consistent. If your photographer does outsource their editing, ask them “Do you use the same person consistently for your editing or just the same company?” and based on what they say, you be the judge on consistency.

The more unique a photographers style and esthetic, the more important it is that the editing is done by a consistent team whether that’s the photographer or someone the photographed trained.

Q4: Is an Engagement session Included?

Some photographers include an engagement session in their package, and some choose not to. If you are also interested in an engagement session, ask your photographer if they have a package that includes it. Even if they don’t have a package, you can almost always add it as an a-la-carte option! It's a great way to get to meet your photographer in a professional setting and see if/how you will click.

Q5: How many weddings have you shot?

This is a way better way of asking ‘how long have you been in the industry’ because years don’t actually matter – the amount of actual weddings matter. You can be in the industry for 10 years and only shoot 5 weddings a year (50 weddings total) or you can be in the industry for 5 years and shoot 25 weddings each year (125 weddings total) and have way more experience. For reference, most full-time photographers shoot 20-35 weddings a year.

Of all the questions to ask your wedding photographer, this one is going to be the most telling in terms of experience. If your photographer says they’ve been in business a full decade, but then tells you they’ve photographed “over 50 weddings” you need to do the math…. if most photographers shoot 20-35 weddings a year, then 10 years in the business should be 200-335 weddings…. if the numbers don’t add up, there’s something going on.

Q6:Which photographer am I getting?

Many photography studios have multiple wedding photographers. If you are hiring a wedding photographer from them, make sure you know which photographer is going to photograph your wedding and look at photos only taken by that photographer. The last thing you want is getting a photographer who didn’t take those photos in their portfolio.

Q7: How would you describe your wedding photography style?

A wedding photographer can be the best in the business in terms of skill and quality, but if their aesthetic and style doesn't match your wedding vision, they might not be the best fit for you and your partner. In addition to checking out their website and social media accounts, have them describe their photography style to you to ensure it's a good fit.

Q8:When will we receive our wedding photos?

Once the wedding day is over, the excitement to see your wedding photos starts building. Your wedding photographer will likely take their time editing the photos before getting them all back to you. Most photographers tend to do teasers either one day after the wedding or within the first week. Still, it's important to know upfront what that time frame will be so you're not refreshing your email 24/7. You can also ask for additional details about the images, such as how they'll be delivered (high-resolution, un-watermarked, etc.) and if they'll share teasers or sneak peeks shortly after the big day

Q9:How do you help keep my images safe; tell me about your redundancy plans?

Similar to the 2 memory card slots used in cameras, photographers should be happy to tell you about how they keep your images safe after the wedding including when they format the cards, how they store your images (onsite, offsite) and how many hardrives are used for storage. If they can’t walk you through a specific procedure they take, they’re probably winging it and don’t necessarily have safety as a first priority and to me, that’s a red flag.

Q10: What is the booking process like; do I need to sign a contract today?

First of all, if they tell you you don’t need a contract, run. Just turn and run. Assuming they have a contract, make sure you know when to expect that contract and more importantly, what will happen if they get another inquiry for the date while you’re going over the contract. On average photographers can put a soft hold on a date (or give you priority picking) for 3-5 days after a meeting, but after that they either need a signed contract or you risk losing your date. For this reason, it’s wise to ensure you’re only interviewing photographers when you know you’re ready to make a decision.

Q11:How will you be dressed?

The only time a vendor should have to wear something particular is if the guests also have a dress code (whether it’s a formal black tie event or existing dress code within a venue space). Some folks wear khakis, some wear leggings, some wear rompers and others wear dresses – just to name a few options. We all choose to wear what we feel represents us as individuals and a brand and also what is comfortable and reasonable for our job. If you’re worried that a photographer may show up in a dirty t-shirt and jeans, you may not be picking the right photographer for you.

Q12:If my event lasts longer than expected, will you stay? When do you start charging overtime?

Most photographers have a ~15 minute grace period where they’ll stay without a fee; but beyond that, it’s very normal for overtime fees to apply. When you ask this question to your photographer, make sure you compare it to what the contract says. A lot of photographers may make it seem like they have no problem staying longer and ‘depending on the situation’ can wave fees, but if your legal contract states otherwise then you’ll be expected to pay.