More often than not, when you hire your wedding photographer, it is the first time you have ever hired a photographer. The process can be overwhelming. I remember hiring my wedding photographer four years ago when I knew nothing about the process or the industry. What was important to me then was the photographer's style and the price. Beyond that, I don't recall being too concerned with much else. After all, I was years away from entering the photography business myself (you can read more about that journey in Passion to Profit...)
So, what do you look for? You like their style, they're in your budget. Now what?
Are you insured?
Always, always always ask your photographer if they are insured. Business liability insurance protects both you and the photographer in the event of damaged goods or property, injury, etc. Of course these situations are very rare but should the need occur, both parties will be relieved in the long run if the business is properly insured.
Do you bring back-up equipment?
A wedding photographer should bring at least one back up camera (preferably as good as their main camera), several lenses, flashes, memory cards, charged batteries etc.
How many weddings have you photographed?
It's important that you know how much experience your photographer has photographing weddings. As you interview photographers, consider the cost with their experience. Are you willing to sacrifice piece of mind to save a couple hundred dollars? Professional wedding photographers who make a living in the industry and have experience are worth more. They know the flow of weddings, where to be at certain times, how to get everyone lined up and ready for portraits and ultimately, they will make best use of time so that you are free to enjoy your wedding.
Do you have back-up photographers? What if you get sick?
Your photographer should be able to provide you with names of professionals with similar experience and style to theirs who are available should a situation occur. Though most professional photographers would rarely miss a wedding in their entire career, no one can foresee an illness or accident.
Can I view a full wedding you have photographed?
The reality is, the images you see on a photographer's website are carefully chosen to represent their best work. Viewing an entire wedding will give you a much more accurate visual of what you can expect to receive from your wedding photographer.
Can you meet us in person?
It's always a good idea whenever possible to meet your wedding photographer before your wedding day. Not only do you want to be able to ask any questions, but it's also important that your personalities mesh well. It's even better if you and your fiancé have an engagement session with the same photographer who will be photographing your wedding. You'll build upon your relationship and your photographer will get to see what poses work best for you as an individual couple.
Of course there are many more questions you could ask -- and should if they are important to you. Your wedding will only happen once and you want confidence that your photographer will capture your special day just as you envisioned.