- 10 years ago
- Wedding: September 2011
What kind of questions do I need to ask photographers when I interview them? I am stressing out over picking a photographer lately.
What kind of questions do I need to ask photographers when I interview them? I am stressing out over picking a photographer lately.
I asked mine things like:
– Do you have liability ins?
– What packages do you offer? What do they include? What is negotiable?
– How early do you arrive?
– Will rights to print my images be included in the price?
– Do you give us direction in how to pose, what to do?
– What kind of photography training do you have?
– How many images will we be receiving?
Mostly I just went with my gut as well as how well I got along with them. I pretty much did that with all my vendors though.
Ok, I am a photographer and these are the essentials for making your day go smoothly.
1)Have at least 2 consults before the big day…let the photographer know your style of wedding and what you want captured(formal shots, candids, getting ready, the traditions…etc). I have 3 consults with my clients and I write it into the contract everything we have agreed on.
2)Look at their work…ALL OF IT! Some photographers do not evolve. Their pictures are all the same, just the years have changed.(same poses for the 1970s).
3)All of my packages are negotiable, I spend the whole day with my brides, it is their day. I also give all the copyright to the clients(what am I going to do with them?) Find a jumping off point(price wise) and go from there…the worst they can say is no! Photographers should be flexiable to your needs and if they are not then there is always another one out there.
4)Insurance is a great idea!!
5)Ask if they use an assistant, that way you can have 2 cameras on you…one to get the tripod shots and the other to do the candids during the ceremony.
6)Most of all your phtographer should be FUN and truly enjoy photographing your day…it shouldn’t feel like you are doing them a favor by hiring them.
I hope this has helped!!
What do you carry for equipment? If they don’t carry at least two batteries, skip them.
@autumnwilson: I think you may need to do a quick faq check on your post here. You really give all your clients the actual COPYRIGHTS and not usage rights? What is to stop them from selling one of your images to Panasonic for a million bucks for their newest screen saver? Or to Big Stock Photo to be used by every company known to man? And whose images are you using to promote yourself if you dont keep your own copyrights. You’d need to have written yourself some usage rights to even be able to do that.
I grant usage rights: rights to print, rights to post online, what else do THEY need rights for?
Also, most photogs I know don’t need or use a tripod for ceremony photos unless its a LOW light situation. That’s your personal style and shouldn’t be on this list of things to consider when hiring a photog. As long as the end result is high quality photos the client loves in a style they are expecting, it doesn’t matter how the photog gets them.
Finally, I personally think 3 consults is overkill. It shouldn’t be that hard to go in prepared with just the meeting and a pre-wedding questionnaire. Brides are stressed enough they don’t have this much time to invest in planning every aspect of their day photographically. I consider that my job and ask the questions I need to ask when I need to ask them. To each his own, though, just my .02.
yes, I do give them a copyright release for printing and posting, however I maintain the right to use them for advertising at anytime. I am not a conventional photographer, I started my business so people could afford photography for events in their life. As far as the consults, this is my personal choice and it works well for me. The tripod statement was just an example of using an assitant. I am not trying to promote my work here, rather give advice and what has worked for both me and my clients.
I think when you meet with a photographer, yes you need to ask questions like the ones posted, but you also have to suss out how you feel about them personally. You have to like/at least be confortable around your photog(s), as you’ll be spending a lot of time that day with them.
I completely agree with you! Chemistry between the photographer and the client is extrememly important.
A while back I put together a list of questions that you might want to ask your photographer. Keep in mind this is my perspective as a photographer, and other photographers may not agree with my thoughts. That said, It’s helped a ton of brides 🙂
Hope this helps!
Important Questions to ask your photographer (for you to copy and paste)
Will you be the one taking the photos?
Are you a member of any associations or groups in your industry?
What photography styles do you specialize in?
What is the brand and model of the camera that you will be using?
What is the brand and model of the lenses you will be using?
What lighting equipment will you be using?
Will you be using an assistant, if so will it be extra?
Will there be backup equipment in case something goes wrong?
What will happen if you become ill or cannot come to the wedding?
Can other people take photos while you work?
If my event lasts longer than scheduled, will you stay? Will it be extra?
How many photos will you take? How many photos will you give us?
When will you deliver the finished photos to us?
What kind of photos will you be taking? Or what can you do? (B/W, color correction, ect)
Will you accept a list of photos that I would like you to take?
How will you help me put together my wedding album?
What is the attire of you and your assistant?
Do you have a professional contract for us to sign?
Do you have liability insurance? With who, and how much?
Will we get the negatives?
Tell us about your experience as a photographer. How many weddings have you done?
Why you ask these questions
The first step is seeing if the photographer is willing to fill out this long form. If not, they may not be as dedicated to you as they say..
-Will you be the one taking the photos?
Some photographers have amazing portfolios, and they will charge a price appropriate for their skill. But come wedding day, they may contract your wedding to another, less skilled photographer, and profit from the price difference.
-Are you a member of any associations or groups in your industry?
If not, they may not be as skilled as they say. It is also a sign of continuing education. Isolated photographers will have outdated photo techniques and equipment.
-What photography styles do you specialize in?
Check to see if they are more than picture takers. A photographer is defined by their style. Check their portfolio and match their claim with their work.
-What is the brand and model of the camera that you will be using?
It’s easy to google their equipment. If the camera costs less than $1,500, they will have issues taking pictures in low light, or capturing the fast paced action. Make sure the photographer has invested in their equipment.
-What is the brand and model of the lenses you will be using?
The lenses are more important than the camera. A great camera with poor lenses is a disaster. Google their lenses and a professional will use lenses costing $800-$2,400. Make sure they have a wide angle lens (their description should say 15-35mm) and a telephoto lens (150-200mm)
-What is the make and model of the lighting equipment will you be using? Will you be using a hot shoe flash? Will you be using strobes?
Out of all the questions this separates the pros from the amateurs. It takes skill and knowledge to properly light a scene with equipment. At a minimum, they need a hot shoe flash. If you need nice portraits of large groups, they need a strobe. Have them send an example if in doubt.
-Will you be using an assistant, if so will it be extra?
Keep in mind this is my own opinion: your wedding is no place for cowboys. A photographer needs help, no matter how good they are. The wedding is a story and the more perspectives that a photographer can draw upon to tell that story, the better.
-Will there be backup equipment in case something goes wrong?
Something will always go wrong. It’s part of photography. Check to see that they are prepared.
-What will happen if you become ill or cannot come to the wedding?
Food poisoning happens… make sure they have a back up plan.
-Can other people take photos while you work?
They should say yes for the ceremony and reception, but no for group photos. If there is more than one camera at a group photo session, not everyone will be looking into the camera you paid for!
-If my event lasts longer than scheduled, will you stay? Will it be extra?
Events usually will go over. See if this is an area they might use a “gotcha”
-How many photos will you take?
How many photos will you give us?Good photographers will take thousands of pictures, and narrow them down to a few hundred.
-When will you deliver the finished photos to us?
More horror stories… Photographers have taken up to a year to get the photos back to brides.
-What kind of photos will you be taking?
Or what can you do? (B/W, color correction, ect)This is a check on their photoshop skills.
-Will you accept a list of photos that I would like you to take?
An outright “No” to this question is a red flag.
-How will you help me put together my wedding album?
Don’t let them abandon you after their initial work is done. See if they will help, and how much they will charge.
-What is the attire of you and your assistant?
Another sign of professionalism.
-Do you have a professional contract for us to sign?
Never hire a wedding photographer without some contract. Horror stories are everywhere. Photographers without contract liability have abandoned clients. If this happened to you, it would force you to scramble for a last minute photographer who will likely be more expensive. Contracts also keep photographers true to their promises.
-Do you have liability insurance? With who, and how much?
Another sign of a professional.
-Will we get the negatives?
JPG’s are good, but DNG, or RAW files are better. Just like film, digital pictures have a negative, make sure they are available in case you want to make your photos black and white, ect.
-Tell us about your experience as a photographer.
Always check claims with their website. Look for passion and customer service.
Haha, I’d say PhotoGuy covered it pretty well. 🙂
@Photoguy, seriously? Besides brides researching photographers, they have to research their equipment too. Sorry, I disagree on that one. I spend at least a month researching each gear purchase and I know what I’m doing. For a bride to research gear she knows nothing about is just silly, imo. Plus a photographer’s ability so spend $3K on a camera says nothing about their ability to use it. I do agree that lighting seperates amateurs from pros, but a bride can’t look at an image and tell how it was lit. I also know a lot of brilliant photographers who work in almost exclusively natural light. A portfolio of complete weddings is all one needs to evaluate a photographers ability. Who cares how they do it?
Also, if you’re going to ask that many questions, which is fine, do it in person. Photographers get several inquiries a day. If you email a list like that, don’t expect they can spend an hour on writing a detailed response. After all, they do have to attend to the needs of those who’ve already paid for their services.
@PhotoGuy: Thanks for this list! That’s super kind of you to help us out. Some of these questions can be answered by their website but they’re all good stuff to know!
@imagesbynneka: A bride can’t look at an image and tell how it was lit. I agree that a fancy camera is worthless on someone that doesn’t know how to use it with their surroundings. But, I don’t think it hurts to ask a photographer what equipment they use or how they did their lighting. I really was interested! 🙂
I asked photographers to tell me about their equipment and sometimes got nice stories in what situation they’d use a specific setting to bring out beautiful features and avoid unwanted shadows. So, it was how they answered an equipment question that gave me a feel for their personality and professionalism that pleased me.
@imagesbynneka: I think those are all very good points. I came up with this list based on bride inquiries into my servies, and I’ve been asked every question on this list! And I agree 100% that photography equipment is no qualifier of a professional. Heck, some of my favorite art photos were taken with a $50 camera years ago!
@Rocketdog:Thanks so much! I’m glad you like the list. And agree that the personallity of your photographer, and how they handle questions and difficult senarios, is just as important as photographic skill.
@PhotoGuy:I feel the most important questions are the ones that define your personal stle. I have had Sears take better photos then a PRO that cost me 2000. If you find a photographer that matches your style and goes with the style YOU want then the contract with all your particulars should fall into place. All your questions are valid and I am asked them a lot, however I don’t have a 4000 camera or a 1200 dollar lens and my clients love my style and their product. I however am not a portrait photographer and I make sure to let people know this, I call myself a lifestyle photographer, I rarly pose people(unless that is what they want), i try to capture the raw moments of life. My biggest suggestion is to look at their portfolio and decide if their style is yours…if it is not, then find another one more suited to your style!
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