Post # 1
Can I get tips for what to make sure a wedding photographer is NOT when I look for one? Are there any tell tale signs that this isn’t the one to go for?
When is it good to hire someone outside of the state/country even?
Post # 3
I can’t offer super great advice, but the one thing I try to do is figure out what the photographer really prides him or herself on in their work. If it is something I don’t like, there is little chance we are going to see eye to eye, style wise.
For example, I hate black and white pictures with one thing colored (you see it with blue eyes, red roses, etc.) If that is something the photographer features, I won’t hire him or her. Same with pictures of people making out. I don’t want my tongue in my wedding photos, well, at least not while its in FI’s mouth. I went to one photographer’s website who just had picture after picture of close-ups of couples making out. I know I would not click with that person.
Other things I let slide. Most peole put pictures of kids on their websites, but I don’t have any really important children in my life, so I am going to ask the photog not to focus on the kids at the reception. That is the kind of thing I feel like I can instruct, not a style issue.
Post # 4
You should definitely meet the photographer in person before reserving with him (or her), because it would be really hard to understand what understand his personality and whether you “click” with him otherwise. He should be able to show you lots and lots of pictures he’s taken. If possible, ask to see entire albums he’s shot. This will show you whether he takes consistently good pictures. It’s easy to get one or two good shots out of a wedding, but to get the whole album full of great pictures is something else.
There are a few different photographic styles out there. Ask what the photographer’s style is and to describe it – for example, is he a photojournalist who tries to capture the emotion of the moment, a “candid camera” type guy, or does he go for the amazing angles or artistic shots?
Also, make sure he carries duplicate equipment with him – a second camera, a second set of lighting equipment, etc.
Edit: I just realized you’re asking what he should NOT be. The first thing I can think of, is he shouldn’t be one of those guys who’s just concerned with lining everyone up and going through the list of photos (bride plus parents, groom plus parents, blah blah). Those are good to have, but they aren’t what will make your album special.
Post # 5
Don’t hire a photographer that won’t give you printing/release rights. That’s if you want prints for the future or want to post them online (which you probably will). Photographers that don’t give you the release can come after you if you post pics online without their permission. Or if you want to make a photo cd for your parents or close friends, you can’t. You can ask the photographer if the photo package comes with a printing release. If it doesn’t, ask how much extra is it. If they won’t offer one, don’t go with them. Can’t think of anything else… have fun 🙂
Post # 6
Don’t go with a package if it doesn’t include a second photographer! It helps to have wedding photos from two different angles – that way nothing is missed.
Post # 7
I agree with Miss Pinot- you need more than one photographer for the special shots, like getting both you and your Fiance at the ceremony from different angles when you say your I do’s. Also, a photo of your FI’s expression while you are walking down the isle is priceless, and you can really only do that if you have 2 cameras.
Flexibility is important- if the photographer is not willing to listen to your opinions, it might be best to hire someone else.
Also, look at their portfolio and more than one album before you decide- you get a better sense of their style. Take note of the angles they use and if most pictures are flattering to the bride and groom. Unless you are both supermodels, there are angles that don’t work for your face/body type and “problem” areas you don’t want highlighted in your photos. Great photographers know how to pose you to look natural AND looking your best.
Post # 8
Ask for a list of previous clients that you can contact as a reference. The photographer is only going to provide you with the names of previous clients that had a good experience with him/her, but I think it’s very valuable to know that there are clients that are willing to vouch for the photog’s work. IMO, if a photographer won’t provide you with any references, cross him/her off the list.
Post # 9
yes, 2 photographers is key! being able to get a cd is key, editing time should be included in their fee, lining everyone up, a waste of time! it will take forever if you think you’ll get everyone’s pics…remember others are snapping away all day! focus on what you want and important pics youd like to have
Post # 10
Just going to throw this out there, some of the most amazing photographers shoot alone… How “key” it is depends on their shooting style. It actually IS possible to get his expression and your expression walking down the aisle.
Also, if you do go with a second, get an example of their work too, because not all photographers have a steady assistant and change up frequently… as well as sometimes the assistants are not technically “good” photographers and are very fresh newbies.
Post # 11
@klp; yes true about one photographer, I think the smaller the easier for one and even 2 are only needed for certain shots. Most photographers won’t charge you for the 2nd one and yes, get that 2nd photographers portfolio if you can! we lucked out as our photographer brought along a second one, no extra charge and he was great!
Post # 12
1) Do not hire the photographer if he/she cannot show you a “sample contract” you can look over ahead of time while you are still deliberating whether to hire her/him. An honest photographer is transparent in his/her contract. That way, you know exactly what you’re getting into and you know the fees ahead of time. There will be no surprises.
2) Write down what you ABSOLUTELY want to have: rights to and copy of pictures in a disk, a photo album (how many?), how many hours do you want your photog?, etc. And ask him/her straight up how much he/she charges. That way, you don’t have surprises. If you decide on that photographer, make sure he/she includes it in the contract along w/ the dates he/she will provide the goods and services and the prices. (I have friends who got married 3 years ago who still don’t have their wedding album. If you have it in your contract that example: Photographer will deliver the finished wedding album to bride & groom 12 months after the wedding date, he/she cannot claim that “he/she never said when he/she was going to deliver the goods”, etc.)
3) If they pressure you to sign up right away WITHOUT KNOWING who your photographer is, WALK AWAY.
4) Make sure you see the work of the actual photographer for your wedding day. Some businesses hire different types of photographers and you don’t know until 2 wks before the wedding who the photographer is. I would strongly advice to hire a photographer who is in the business himself — not through a photography company who hires different photographers.
5) If they pressure you in any way…walk away.
Post # 13
Someone said you need to have references given to you, but I disagree… I don’t think photographers are allowed to give out their previous client’s information. As a photographer, I believe that would get me in legal trouble. Plus, if I had used a photographer & I got calls all the time asking about the photographer, I’d get annoyed. So if you get a “I’m not allowed to give info due to client confidentiality” don’t cross them off your list! Usually photographers will have references or reviews posted on their site from previous clients, but if they don’t have any its not the photographer’s fault. Clients can chose to write a review to the photographer, but they don’t HAVE to. Some people just get too busy to write a review & some don’t even think about it. You can always ask thou :).
Post # 14
@serabella – I agree that photographers shouldn’t give out their clients’ contact info without their clients’ permission. However, I think the input of former clients is really helpful when choosing a photographer, and I would think that a photographer would have at least one former client that would be willing to speak to a potential client on their behalf. I spoke with several photographers, and all of them provided contact info for previous clients who agreed to provide a reference to potential clients. I would be more than happy to speak with a bride about my experience with my photographer. I think she did an exceptional job, and I’m happy to share my great experience with other brides. It would give me pause if a photographer couldn’t provide me with a reference. I’m sure there are situations where a reference wouldn’t be possible, but generally I think it’s a valuable evaluation tool.
Post # 15
@owlbride – If the photographer has clients who are ok with being a reference, that’s really great! I was just tryin to say that if they don’t have references, not to write them off right away. My clients would be happy to reference me, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving out their phone numbers to others. I suppose if it was already agreed, that’s okay. I do agree, a great way to know more about the photographer is through the references. I’ve also had bad experiences being used as a reference (not in reguards to photography) & I got bombarded with calls/emails & so I won’t give out my client’s info but I can always ask them for a testimonial to post on my website.
Post # 16
Just wanted to put my $0.02 in. Some of the stuff was said before:
I have a handful of brides who I’ve cleared it will about giving their contact info out if potential clients would like contact them. We also have a facebook fan page where most of my clients are and have had inquiring clients contact them through there, so that may be an option. I would also search online for reviews, Weddingwire and project wedding are great review sites.
I have lots if friends who are amazing single shooter photographers so you don’t always NEED to have two. If you think you do want two there are different pairings of photographers to consider. One, is it a single shooter that hires just anyone (most likely a newbie) or do they hire a seasoned pro to shoot with them. Ask if you can see examples of their work if at all possible. If they are going to hire another pro then they will most likely charge you, if they just bringing a newbie then prob not, if having a second is important then make sure its someone good enough to make it worth having them there. Then there are husband/wife or two team photographers who ALWAYS shoot together. In my personal opinion this is your best option for two perspective coverage, but again it’s really up to what you want and or need.
Watch out for bate a switch studios/companies. These places are all over the place now, Bella, The Pros, etc. They bring you in and show you all these pretty pics but what they don’t tell you is these are the best pics from a pool of thousands of photogs who have worked with them at one point or another. The person you are meeting is usually never the person who will be there to photograph your day. Their contracts basically state they can send whomever they want in place of who you “choose”. It’s really sad to hear of couples who pay all this money and think they are getting an amazing seasoned pro (and sometimes they are lucky and they do) but only to have some newbie who just got a camera and shooting their first wedding. Because of their contract there is nothing they can do. Know exactly who is shooting, make sure you see a full portfolio AND a full wedding from that photographer and make sure you contract states who exactly your photographer is.
Last, but most important, make sure you click with them. Most people are not used to having some on follow them around with a professional camera all day so if you don’t totally trust this person or they annoy you in any way it will show in the photos. Same goes for the groom and second photog. If getting good shots of the guys hanging out make sure to pick someone the groom will get along with as well.
One more thing you should look out for is consistency in their work, whether lighting, composition or how they edit. If they are consistent then you are more likely to get what you expect.
Hope this helps. Good luck!