What to Ask a Wedding Photographer

To help you on your quest in choosing a wedding photographer, here are the most frequently asked questions with answers to help you in your search.

Click the titles below to go to the in-depth answer.



What are the advantages of hiring a professional photographer?
I’ve made my decision to hire a professional wedding photographer. What’s next?
What questions should I ask a wedding photographer?
How much does wedding photography cost in BC?
Why is a professional photographer so expensive?
How much time will the photographer spend at my wedding?
What are digital negatives and do we get to keep them?
Why do some photographers keep the negatives?
Do I need a wedding album?
What is a custom online wedding gallery?
Should I choose Film or Digital Photography?
How can I help the photographer on the wedding day?
What time should the photographer arrive at the wedding?
Should we provide lunch or dinner for the photographer?
What information should I know about payment?
What are your deposit and refund policy guidelines?
What are your payment types and tips?

What are the advantages of hiring a professional photographer?

A professional photographer means experience. And with experience comes modern, tried and true equipment alongside someone who is fully apt in understanding their capabilities. From the correct exposure, to framing, to knowing all of the ins and outs, a professional can tailor design and deliver the results more efficiently.

And because professional photographers are experienced with weddings, they can ease you through the day, ensuring that it comes together with ease, as they capture each moment for long-lasting memories.

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I’ve made my decision to hire a professional wedding photographer. What next?

Use Google to find wedding photographers in your area. Using their online portfolio as a starting point, choose your favourites based on this, as well as their package prices and amenities and extras. Once you’ve narrowed it down to your top three potential photographers, email them with your questions and requests.

A professional photographer should reply within two days upon receiving your email. The very best always call you to follow up, and to formally meet you over the phone. Ensure that you take the time to speak with your photographer on the phone to ignite that spark and develop a camaraderie after all, you’ll be working closely together and you want to feel comfortable with your choice.

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What questions should I ask a wedding photographer?

Once you have confirmed that the photographer is available on the date of your wedding, ask them detailed questions about the package you are interested in.

Be sure that the photographer has an available PDF download of all the packages with clearly outlined details.

These details would include:

  • Package cost with GST included (GST is now 5% and all professional photographers must charge this tax).
  • Deposit amount (A deposit is usually required to hold the date for you and is paid when you sign the contract).
  • Remaining amount paid on wedding date or when the photo package is received.
  • Clear definitions of extra add-ons that you might like in the future, such as extra prints or online albums.

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How much does wedding photography cost in BC?

Prices for a good professional photographer range from around $2000 – $6,000 depending on the photographer’s experience, the size of the wedding, and the couple’s requests. We cannot express how important it is to make sure that you are hiring an experienced photographer.

Make sure that the company you choose has a large portfolio consisting of many weddings, and that the style and quality of the photos are to your liking.

Good photographers have good equipment, and professionals should include their choice of equipment on their website. If you are not sure of what qualifies as quality, do a Google search on the name of their equipment and read reviews. The equipment matters just as much as the person using it.

Be wary of companies who charge only $10 per print; with prices like that, it’s possible they’re heading to the local Wal-Mart.

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Why is a professional photographer so expensive?

Just like any service, this is due to the amount of time invested in education, equipment, websites, and brochures, legal contracts, incorporating the company, quality suits, advertising, insurance, professional photography memberships, a new car to transport you to and from photo locations, costs associated with the work vehicle, printing equipment, albums, photo paper, accountants, business phone lines, studio costs such as rent, electricity, h20, studio insurance, health insurance, employee benefits, and much more.

The average cost to start and run a proper photography company is about $65,000+ and about 2-5 years to grow a client base. Combined with that is an additional 2-3 years to gain ranking with Google and word of mount in the community.

After costs, most professional wedding photographers do not make much more then a bartender after costs. It’s those who maintain their profession after five or so years of building their clientele who truly have a passion for their field.

Remember – it’s much more than just the time they are spending at your wedding and reception.

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How much time will the photographer spend at my wedding?

The amount of time that you need is up to you.
One thing to note is that the price difference for a professional for a few hours and a full day should be small. A professional photographer needs to book a minimum amount per weekend and would not book a two hour wedding as they most likely would be giving up a full day wedding down the road.

That being said, Arbutus Wedding Photography is a flexible company. Our fondest memories do include younger couples of a budget or second marriages where costs are cut. We accommodate this range of budgets; after all, it’s still about making your day perfect for you!

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What are digital negatives and do we get to keep them?

Digital Negatives are the original ‘on camera’ processed files. These should be stored on a DVD or CD in the highest quality .jpg photos for easy processing.

A professional photographer should always give you a full copy of all your digital negatives on DVD or CD. Arbutus Wedding Photography has always given all the digital images on CD or DVD to our clients. Simply put, it is greedy and if professional photographers keep these images.

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Why do some photographers keep the negatives?

The bottom line here is that some photographers like to keep control of the photographs so that when you want extra prints for your family they can charge for them. Arbutus Wedding Photography always gives the negatives to you so you can print your own prints very easily at any digital print shop in town.

** Arbutus Wedding Photography keeps a record of your negatives for up to three years in case you lose your negatives. This way we can provide you with a free backup in case of emergency.

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Do I need a wedding album?

That depends on you. Arbutus Wedding Photography does not include a physical photo album in our packages as we find that the cost for a high quality album, with printing, costs upward of $600.

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What is a custom online wedding gallery?

Arbutus Wedding Photography creates a custom, one of a kind, private online gallery to view within 3 days of your wedding, hosted on our website. This is included in all of our packages.

This is an excellent option for friends and family to be able to access the gallery and choose images that they love – eliminating the extra step for you to distribute copies to your guests!

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Should I choose Film or Digital Photography?

We recommend Digital Files. Our Digital equipment is always the latest and greatest. We only shoot with Professional Nikon certified Digital Cameras and lenses. Our Digital equipment per photographer costs, on average, upward of $9,000.

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How can I help the photographer on the wedding day?

One of the main things is to help the photographer organize your guests. Because the photographer does not know everyone at your wedding and reception, group shots will be more efficient and more photographs will be taken by helping gather and organize guests for photographs.
An important thing to remember is to give the photographer time to take quality shots. It is not to anyone’s benefit if the wedding is rushed. There should be ample time for formal photography and intimate couple photo shoots.

Secondly, it’s helpful to alert your guests that while the photographer is taking photos, it’s best to refrain from taking any themselves. The flash from conventional cameras have multiple flash sequences that will interrupt the professional photographers camera, rendering the photos over exposed.

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What time should the photographer arrive at the wedding?

It is best to always give the photographer a time to arrive at the wedding approximately 30 minutes before the ceremony or the time you choose to take photographs. This way the photographer can test their camera in the space and lighting and choose the appropriate settings for the location and setting.

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Should we provide lunch or dinner for the photographer?

Yes. On a full day shoot, a photographer is working double time, and will need time to relax and recoup during the day. Typically, during a seven or eight hour shoot, it is best to provide a thirty minute break and a few ten minute breaks. This allows for personal regrouping, a resurgence of creativity, as well as time for the camera equipment to rest and, in some cases, changes of film, uploading samples and changing batteries.

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What information should I know about payment?

Payment information should be included in the contract. When you meet with your photographer to give them their deposit, make sure it is written out to the company name. If the photographer is self-employed, they may use their own name as their company name.

Ensure you receive a signed receipt for your payment. There should be a section for GST, the depot amount, legal information and the amount due on the wedding date – all written clearly.

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What are your deposit and refund policy guidelines?

A professional studio always requires a non-refundable deposit in order to hold your wedding date for you. This provides security for you, and provides a way to break up the cost of a wedding photographer.

The deposit should always be refunded if the photographer cannot make it to the wedding. Typically, a studio will have backup photographers if a worst-case scenario should occur. Arbutus Wedding Photographer has five wedding photographers; they are all award-winning, young and talented individuals, each with a passion to provide you with your memories frozen in time. We have not had to cancel any weddings in the years of service we have provided.

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What are your payment types and tips?

A professional studio should always accept all major credit cards through a third party secure online company. (Arbutus Wedding Photography accepts all credit cards through PayPal as they are secure, reliable and efficient. In addition, because we have a business account with them, we are also insured.)

Cheques and cash are also accepted. With all wedding photograph studios, be sure to acquire a signed company letterhead receipt for any transaction, especially for cash.

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