How do you find the best photographer for your wedding? How do you ensure that the memories captured will be beautiful and will last forever? I’ll tell you how; make sure you get answers to these questions:
May I see photographs of an entire event?
A lot of people are going to show you the best shots of their career or events in order to wow you. Make sure you view an event from start to finish instead of only their favorite pictures. By doing this, you’ll have a better idea of what your albums will look like and the variety you’ll have to choose from. A professional will capture quality images throughout the whole event.
Get a little more specific and ask them to see an indoor event without any window light. One of the most challenging obstacles for a photographer is capturing a high quality image when they have to supply all of the light. You’ll know you’ve found a pro if these images are consistently beautiful.
2. Get technical.
Do you use off-camera lighting?
This is lighting in addition to the flash on the camera. It is crucial that you get an answer to this one. Photographers who use off-camera lighting are able to compensate for unpredictable weather and lighting conditions. Their images reflect more detail and they are able to shape and control the light to ensure everyone looks their best.
Do you photograph in RAW?
If the answer is, “No” you may want to move on.
- Are better quality than JPEG (meaning RAW images will look better when printed and expanded.)
- Can be edited without decreasing quality.
- Do not degrade quickly and will last much longer.
3. Be safe.
What about insurance?
Insurance is a necessity, but you may only ask about the obvious types: Equipment coverage will protect the photographer from anything that is broken, lost, or stolen. Liability insurance will cover any unforeseen incidents like Uncle Bob tripping over the tripod.
Find out how many memory cards your photographer will be using! You do not want to lose every shot if one or more memory cards fails or is damaged. It’s also a good idea to ask if they will have some backup equipment and how many cameras will be used.
Are my needs being met in my contract?
This legal document will ensure that both of you are in agreement on an assortment of terms from pricing and scheduling to copyrights and reproduction of images.
4. Compare design.
What style of photography do you specialize in?
The photojournalistic approach tells a story by drawing from energy and emotions. A lot of people also incorporate a traditional style which focuses more on posing. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Just make sure your preference is something your photographer does well.
An easy way to do that is to show them some of your favorite pictures before your first meeting. A professional will be able to recognize what style the photos are and guide you from there.
5. Check experience.
How much experience do you have?
This is why fees shouldn’t be the first determining factor for who you hire. You’re not paying for someone to take pictures X amount of hours. You’re buying years of experience that prepared them to anticipate the unexpected and capture the best moments. Someone that has less work under their lens might not be able to coordinate people as well.
For example, many families need direction during portraits. You’ll want someone who can direct everyone efficiently while maintaining your unique family dynamic. The time you’ll have to get the images that are special to you will already feel limited since you want to experience as much of your wedding day as possible. Accomplished photographers will be able to control the situation and make sure you get the shots you want.
Verify the information they give you with a few references.
It’s important to make sure you find the right photographer for your special day. Think about it; you aren’t going to to get a second chance. Good luck!
Let’s hear it.
What would you ask? What do you think is important to find out from a photographer before hiring them? Share your ideas in the comments.
Photo credit: Bader AL Bassam
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