When you hire a photographer to cover your wedding, you’ll typically
sign an agreement that states not only when, where, and how long your
photographer will be on hand to take pictures, but also whether the
agreement includes print products, and digital images, and in the case
of the latter, under what terms if so.
Whether a full set of images comes with the package you’re
considering depends in large part on 1) how much you’re paying, and 2)
the philosophy and priorities of the pro you’re working with. So you
need to understand where your pro sits on the continuum of people with
cameras charging money for taking pictures.
As with so many things, people with cameras have varying intensities
of devotion, skill, talent, experience, and ambition. We’ll oversimplify
and describe the traits of the two extents, and then the pack in the
At the high end are the full-time professionals who are winning
industry awards and running a for-profit business. They might have a
brick-and-mortar studio, or several of them. They’re likely to have the
support of a team of photographers, photo editors and other specialists
and various assistants, all of which translates to overhead recouped
through bookings and product sales. Or they might just be working for
themselves at a superior level of quality and devotion to their craft.
Either way, it’s common for this group to book anywhere from 60 to
several hundred weddings a year. They value their time, lifestyle, and
the quality of images that they deliver to their clients, and they
Conversely, there are part-time photographers who have day-jobs
paying the bills, and they sling their cameras for fun, as a creative
outlet, or for extra money. They value the success of winning your
business, the experience of working for you, and making you happy more
than they count the dollars you give them. The quality of their work
varies from elementary to budding talent. You might not get a snap of
every important moment on your wedding day, but you’ll get lots of pics
and a few lucky ones.
Between these extents stand a spectrum of photographers of varying
skill levels and experience, time commitment, devotion to quality, and
From the full-time professional you can expect an agreement that’s
spare on included deliverables, unless you’re purchasing a rich package,
and even then the package price won’t buy you the whole farm. Commonly,
you’ll receive access to a proofing gallery with the understanding that
you’ll be sitting down with him or her after the wedding to talk about
purchasing albums and matted and large prints. A digital collection of
proof images on thumb drive or CD might be offered for a price.
To the full-time professional’s credit, you’ll receive
heirloom-quality work for your money that can be displayed proudly in
your home and handed down with love through the generations.
Back at the opposite end of the spectrum, the neophyte will give you
an abundance of unedited photos with no restrictions on printing. If the
photographer is an aspiring professional, you might find them more
conservative in what they include. Even so, the overall bottom line is
you do get a lot of images for your money, if not a lot of quality. So
if expressions like more is better and quantity over quality resonate with you, then this is the kind of photographer you should look for. They’ll also be considerably cheaper to hire.
The middle 60 percent or so will have some blend of these
characteristics, and that can make it hard to decide who to book,
because in this group you’ll find a mix of cost, quantity and quality of
So if you’ve read this far, you get the benefit of a list of
questions to ask your prospective photographer. The questions aren’t
intentionally loaded to favor a particular response. They cut across
1, On average, how many photos do you deliver for a booking such as mine? Not looking for a promise, just a level-set.
2. Do you adjust all the delivered images for white balance and exposure?
3. Can I share on social media the adjusted images I receive?
4. What are the printing rules for the images I receive?
5. What images do you professionally edit?
6. What’s the difference between a professionally edited image and an adjusted image?
7. What images do you deliver with online sharing rights with your package?
8. What images do you deliver with printing rights with your package?
8. Can I print images through other providers or do I have to use your studio?