Top 10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Wedding Photographer (not an amateur please!)

February 06, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

 

10) What Type of Equipment Do They Use?

 

A professional photographer never shows up to any event or situation with anything less than one back up camera, lenses, flashes and plenty of  batteries.  While it may be cheaper to hire an amateur or a family member to capture your images, you run a high risk of losing your day or event forever if their equipment fails and they don't have any backups.

 

9) How are their people management skills?

 

On the day of the wedding the bride and groom are inundated by everything from making sure they have enough energy to get through the day, to whether their family's hotel plans are coordinated. You want to hire a photographer who is able to navigate and capture the wedding without needing help from the bride and groom. For this reason, it is important that the photographer be able to manage people in a friendly, effective way. You don't want to hire someone who can't approach total strangers and be perfectly comfortable in any surrounding or can't go with the flow of the event in case plans change. Amateurs may be caught off guard with any of the above.

 

8) How Do They React to Stressful Situations?

 

As a photographer it is important to keep your cool no matter what the situation. Weddings can be high stress days for the bride, groom, family and even friends helping out. Emotions run high and if you hire someone who lacks experience and hasn't been through similar stressful situations it can make a bad situation worse. Ask your photographer how many weddings they have shot and how they have reacted to stressful situations.

 

 

7) What Are Their Post Production Techniques?

 

When it comes to post production it is like anything else, a matter of taste. Some photographers have results that are fairy tale like and are great for some, but not everyone wants the "glamour shots" effect. Also, ask your prospective photographer how much post production they do to their photos. Do they rely too heavily on post production to get a great shot? If so you might be disappointed if they miss key moments because they overexposed  or underexposed the shots and couldn't save them in post production.

 

6) Do They Pay Attention?

 

A professional photographer is required to pay attention to detail. They must be acutely aware of their surroundings for items of interest that are relevant to your event.  Is the bride's makeup perfectly set, how does her dress look in this pose, is there any lint on the groom's clothing, which direction is the sunlight coming in from this window? These are just some things that go through the mind of a professional. While some folks take the easier (cheaper) route of hiring a less experienced, or amateur photographer, it is highly likely that one of two things will happen;  First, the inexperienced photographer will overlook key details because they are unaware of what is expected to happen next. Second, an amateur or relative with a camera may not be focused the entire time – they may get side-tracked with conversations or get into the hoopla of the event causing them to miss otherwise great images. Or, even worse they may feel they have "enough" images to suffice for the time being and take an amateur break!

 
 
Los Angeles wedding photography by Naheed Choudhry. Wedding photographer in Echo Park/Silverlake.
 

5) Are They a Great Coordinator?

 

When hiring a photographer you should make sure they have experience and are able to help coordinate your day. An amateur or relative may be inexperienced and not have a good idea of how a wedding day may flow. There are countless things to think about: What time will a bride's makeup session begin, when will guests arrive, when is the ceremony, reception, posed photos and cake cutting? The list goes on. A good and experienced wedding photographer will have suggestions, a schedule and other lists on hand to make sure things are being captured and the day in images is flowing well.

 

4) Do They Give You Assurances?

 

What are the backup plans of the photographer in the event they are late or have an emergency?  What happens if there’s an equipment failure, or some other unforeseen issue? Do they carry liability insurance? Can you get all of the points covered with them in an interview in a written contractual agreement?

 
 

3) Can They Capture Good Exposures?

 

If you find a photographer who is budget friendly and outgoing but can't get a good exposure you are still wasting your time and money on one of your most important days. Learning how to correctly expose a photo in any situation is one of the most important factors for all photography, but especially with wedding photography. Prior to an event wedding photographers usually won't know how the lighting may be in a hotel, venue, or outdoors on that particular day so they have to make several quick and good judgements throughout the day. Most amateurs lack the knowledge to get good exposures for every situation and you might end up with photos you do not like in the end.

 

2) What Is Their Style?

 

What is the artistic style of your prospective photographer? Generally speaking their are three schools of wedding photography: Photojournalistic, Mixed or Traditional. Photojournalistic shots are candid and don't include posed photos but rather rely on capturing what is happening in real time. A traditional photographer shoots posed photos and will ask the couple, family members and other guests to pose for photos throughout the day. A mixed approach offers both journalistic and posed shots. You may want to ask to see examples of an entire wedding day shoot to see how the photographer tells a wedding day “story”?

 

1) How Much Experience Do They Have?

 

When it comes to the art of photography, there is no substitute for experience.  Photography is more than picking up a camera, pointing, aiming and shooting!  Like any other career, perfecting the art of photography takes many years of trial and error, training and endurance.  A photographer who has limited experience may be able to capture images in one particular setting, however, a photographer with true experience will be able to evaluate nearly any scenario and be able to properly expose and/or light the subject or setting.

 

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