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Tessa Maxine Photography 

Questions to Ask Before You Book a Wedding Photographer

December 29, 2018

Here are questions to ask wedding photographer before you book and the truth about wedding reviews that no one else is going to tell you. Think about staying at a truly luxury hotel. Wedding Photography is a lot like a hotel. All hotels include a bed and a pillow but some hotels will leave you feeling refreshed, happy, looking forward to your next stay while others leave you wondering what your trip would have been like if you stayed somewhere else. Unfortunately, I know this first hand not from my experience as a photographer but as a bride. Engaged, I booked a photographer and was really excited but things didn’t go well and I ended up having to walk away and book a different photographer just weeks before my wedding. Your wedding day is important and you deserve to be excited and happy when you look at your photos for years to come. Here are the questions to ask before you book to make sure your experience is all that you’re hoping for.

Miami Wedding Venues - Fisher Island Wedding - Tessa Maxine Photography
Fisher Island Wedding


Will you get a reply to a message within 24 hours? Are your Engagement images coming back in time for your Save the Date Cards? Will you have to wait 6 months to see your wedding photos?

Wedding Photography is labor-intensive, especially after your wedding. How many weddings a photographer shoots each year makes a world of difference in your experience from start to finish which is why I shoot no more than 24 weddings in a year. Doing this preserves the creativity and happiness that I bring to each couple’s love story and allows me to personalized what I do for each couple.

Recently a photographer posted an IG video saying that he shot his fourth wedding in four days….. I thought – A. This guy is so exhausted, he looks like a zombie B. What energy or creativity could he have possibly bring to the 4th wedding? and C. How long will it take for these couples’ images to be delivered…….. Shooting 3-4 weddings a week may be great for a photographer’s pocketbook but trust me it’s not great for you. He also posted a video about a month later promising his clients that pictures were on the way and he had not had time to start editing anything because he’s been so busy. The majority of the work happens after your wedding day, work with a photographer who values your experience from start to finish.

Ask these questions.

What is the maximum number of weddings you will shoot within one week? What is the maximum number of weddings you will shoot each month? How many weddings did you shoot last year? How many are you going to shoot the year of my wedding?

West Palm Beach Wedding - Tessa Maxine Photography
West Palm Beach Wedding


The equipment a photographer uses makes a big difference and weddings are really hard on that equipment, so how photographer maintains their equipment is important. When equipment fails your pictures do not turn out. Each year I renew my Canon Professional Service Membership so that my equipment is serviced twice a year and loaner equipment can be shipped overnight if it is needed. The night before a wedding my camera body and each lens are cleaned. My flashes are tested and synched.

Ask this question.

What do you do to maintain your equipment and how will prepare for my wedding? What is your plan if something goes wrong with a piece of equipment the week of my wedding?

Versace Mansion Wedding- the Villa Casa Casuarina Wedding - Tessa Maxine Photography
Versace Mansion Wedding

They have pretty pictures online……

Once I worked with a photographer who sat down the entire reception and didn’t shoot a single image because she had no idea how to use a flash but had booked a wedding at a venue with no natural light so flash was required for the entire day. Any photographer can put together a few pretty pictures for a website or Instagram but this doesn’t mean they can shoot your entire wedding successfully. Complete galleries tell the whole story. Look at them to understand how the photographer tells a story from start to finish. Skillset wise getting married in a ballroom with no windows is entirely different than getting married in a garden.

Ask the Photographer.

Send me 2-3 complete galleries that have similar lighting as my venue.

West Palm Beach Wedding - Tessa Maxine Photography
Breakers Hotel Wedding

How Long Have You Been Doing This?

Even with natural talent, a wedding photographer needs time, practice and dedication to become a professional. Wedding photography requires a lot of different skill sets throughout the day. These skills take time to develop. When I look back at my first weddings from 6 years ago, I see so many things that could have been better.

Ask the Photographer.

How long have you been in business full time? Hire a photographer who has been in business full time for at least 3 years.

Coral Gables Country Club Wedding - Tessa Maxine Photography
Coral Gables Country Club Wedding

Who Do You Work With?

One person cannot do everything and do anything well.

The first camera I fell in love was an old Pentax K1000. I worked with my trusted lab to develop the film I shot and they made my prints. The lab knew my preferences and we had a great working relationship.

Similarly, now I work with a team of 3 editors at LavaLu. They work with some pretty amazing photographers (including Jerry Gihnois Rob Greer and Susan Stripling). It’s an honor to have them be a part of my team and I check everything before it’s sent to each client. I looked for a long time before committing. The control freak in me had a hard time letting go but truthfully they do a better job than I did. Their specialty is editing. My specialty is creating photographs that document love and relationships. Now I can devote more time to the client experience, images receive the same amount of attention and love and are delivered much quicker (usually within a month) which my clients love.

Ask these questions.

What happens after my wedding? Describe the team that you work with? Tell me what parts of the process you will handle and what parts they will handle? When will my edited gallery be delivered?

South Beach Wedding - Same Sex Wedding Miami - Tessa Maxine Photography
South Beach Wedding


Here it is, the truth that no one else is going to tell you. In the Wedding world things are not always be what they seem to be.

A photography studio I really admired years ago had a ridiculous amount of reviews on the Knot until one day all the reviews disappeared. Turns out of the reviews were faked. You can’t always trust what you see online.¬†One photo on Instagram is not the same as a gallery from the entire day and there are a ton of photographers who truly love what they do, are honest and great to work with. To find these people follow the steps below.

To Find your Perfect Photography Match –

  1. Find a photographer whose work you connect with. Does it make you smile and match your vision for your wedding day? Think about both the style and content of the photographer’s work. How will you feel about the photographer’s style 20 years from now?
  2. Sit down with each photographer you are considering (in person when possible or via Skype or Facetime). Talk, laugh and get to know them.
  3. Ask questions. Are they genuinely interested and excited about your wedding? Do they answer questions openly and honestly? Are they being pushy and trying to get you to book that day? Do you enjoy being around them? You will see this photographer more on your wedding day than your soon to be spouse so being comfortable around them is a good thing.
  4. Look at 2-3 complete galleries. Envision your wedding day with them telling your story?
  5. Understand the photographer’s workflow and know what is and is not included before you book.
  6. Know what to expect before you commit and in the end trust your feelings guide you to your perfect photography match.

Following these tips can help you to make a good decision about your wedding photography. All the best with planning! Have questions or comments? Leave them below and if you would like to talk about your wedding, send me a message. I’d love to know more about your plans. xoxo Tessa Maxine

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