Choosing a wedding photographer is one of the most important steps when planning your wedding, and it can be daunting when trying to figure out which one is best for you. To make things much less stressful for all bride-to-bes, here is a comprehensive list of questions to ask each photographer when you’re conducting your interviews.

What is Your Photography Style?

All photographers are different; after looking at the portfolios on their websites, you’ll see that some primarily capture photos in soft light for a romantic look, while others prefer to do crisp shots. And you’ll find that some photographers tend to take staged photos of the bride and groom while others primarily do candid shots. Knowing each photographer’s favorite style will help you determine if they will be able to deliver what you’re looking for.

How Many Years Have You Been Working as a Wedding Photographer?

The difference between a photographer who has only done two weddings before yours and one who has been working for years can be seen in the quality and the experience you’ll have on your big day. Not only are photographers responsible for capturing the perfect shots of you and your new spouse, but they are also in charge of keeping you on schedule, and giving you a fun experience. An inexperienced photographer may be overwhelmed on your wedding day which will directly affect your stress levels. Also, remember that it is important to choose a photographer who specializes in weddings. Choosing someone who does “it all” may not give you the results you’re hoping for.

Will You be Shooting Other Events on my Wedding Weekend?

Many larger wedding studios often book multiple events on a single weekend. So, there’s a chance your photographer will have an event the day before or even the morning of your wedding. If your photographer will be shooting these other events, there is a chance they may have issues with timing, or a lack of energy, on your big day. When choosing your wedding photographer, be sure that they have the resources available to accommodate other events and your wedding as promised. And if you’re not comfortable with an ultra busy photographer, choose another who will only be shooting your wedding that weekend.

Will I be Signing a Contract if I Hire You?

When you are deciding on a wedding photographer, be sure to ask up front if they provide a contract for all their clients. This document will contain all the details you and the photographer agreed upon before the check is signed, including pricing, scheduling, and any special requests. It is created for both of your protection so be sure to sign one with a photographer, and be wary of a photographer who doesn’t provide one for their clients.

What Will Happen if You Are Sick on my Wedding Day?

It is unlikely that your photographer will fall too ill to work on your wedding day, but should it happen, ask to see whether or not they will send a backup to shoot your wedding instead. Of course this isn’t the ideal situation, but making sure your photographer will resolve the issue will give you great peace of mind.

Will You Have an Assistant Working with You?

Even if the photographer isn’t sick on your wedding day, it is always a good idea to hire someone who brings an assistant with them. Your photographer cannot be in all places at once and having an extra lens on your special day can ensure you get every special moment captured. A great photographer will often be with you and your new spouse for your one-on-one pictures before the reception while the assistant captures the venue area and guests.

Are You Insured?

If a photographer is not insured, that is a sign they are new to the industry, or, that they do not hold themselves to the highest of professional standards. Insurance is meant to protect the photographer from equipment theft, but also your side of things in case someone got injured on the photographer’s equipment.

Will You Edit My Images?

Most studios will, but some photographers don’t include editing in their price and will hand you the photos straight from their camera. This editing is called post-production, and it involves tweaking your photos to allow for the best light, editing out any awkward objects in the background, and color correcting your skin tone.  If you are a Photoshop expert, you may be able to do this yourself, but the majority of brides and grooms will expect to see gorgeously edited and stylized photos. You can also ask your photographer if you have a choice in how they are edited. If there are certain looks that you like, such as hazy romantic lighting, the initial conversation is the time to tell your photographer.

What Kind of Equipment do You Use?

You can do some research on the best equipment for photographers and see if your photographer has invested in top-quality tools. Also, ask if they have extra of their equipment to make sure that if something were to go array and their lens broke, they would be able to switch it out and keep going.

What if my Wedding Lasts Longer than Expected?

Every wedding photographer has a different policy when it comes to staying past the time originally planned. Photographers realize that no event ever goes exactly according to plan, and many will work with you to make sure you are getting all the shots you want. However, some will charge an added fee for staying longer, and it is important to know that up front. Also, you want to make sure that your photographer won’t just pack up and disappear the second it turns the ending time you had discussed.

Do You Have a Dress Code?

This is one question you may not have thought of, but when you think about it, it would be pretty disappointing if your photographer showed up to your wedding in distracting clothing or certain colors and garments that aren’t appropriate to your culture or religion. Being embarrassed by your photographer is the last thing you want on your wedding day.

How Long Will it Take to Receive my Photos and What Form Will They Come in?

Obviously, you’ll get your photos from your photographer at some point, but when? Two weeks after your wedding? Five months? Ask how long they typically take to edit and send out photos for wedding couples so you know what to expect. Remember that the studios who color correct and stylize your photos will take longer to deliver them to you, but it is a worthwhile service. Also, know ahead of time whether your photographer will send you a stack of printed photos, a CD, or a thumb drive. And if there is a certain method to which you prefer, chances are the photographer will be able to deliver that for you.

Asking all of these questions will help to ensure you are getting exactly what you’ve always imagined for one of the most important parts of your wedding day. After all, you can’t put a price on amazing wedding photos and an experience that you will cherish for the rest of your life.