QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER BEFORE BOOKING
You did your homework and found a few wedding photographers from across the GTA you liked the most. Seeing you here, let ’s assume I am one of them. You contacted me and made an appointment. However, you ’re not sure what are the key questions to keep in mind when speaking with your future photo and video team. In fact, there are so many questions you might want to know the answer to, that I decided to split this blog post into ___ parts. So let’s begin.
1. Are you available on my date? If not, who is? May I see their recent work?
Tara Weddings is a Toronto wedding studio that takes pride in hiring and training only talented and highly skilled photographers. I make sure we are all on the same page regarding shooting style and quality, so no matter which photographer or team of photographers is assigned with your wedding, your photographs will come out uniformly well done. That being said, I understand the need my clients have for reassurance that everything will go smoothly, and I will gladly and proudly demonstrate you the work of any of my team members should you just ask.
2. What happens if our photographer is not able to make it due to illness or unforeseen circumstances?
As I mentioned above, Tara Weddings consists of a large team whose each member is equally well-trained and highly experienced. In case of misfortune, I will do my best to find a substitute as quickly as possible. While it might cause some inconvenience if you only hired one cameraman (but only in the worst scenario), it will not be much of an issue if, for example, you have both- a photographer and a videographer, because then the other cameraman can do both jobs simultaneously until the backup photographer arrives.
3. Is wedding photography your main business?
When wedding photography is your primary business, you just can ’t afford to mess up since that will cost you your reputation, your job, and, eventually, your rent. Therefore it is safe to say, that wedding photographers, who make a living of it are much more responsible towards their job. Also, they are most likely way more experienced because a hundred percent of their effort goes towards developing and improving their business.
4. How many weddings have you photographed? Over how many years?
These questions derive directly from the previous one. It is far more important to measure a photographer’s experience in weddings he covered than years he has been working for. He might have worked for 10 years shooting 3 weddings per year, or he might have worked for 3 years shooting 20 wedding per year. I think it is evident which photographer is more advanced.
5. What kind of equipment do you use? Do you have back up?
A good photographer will not assume you know everything about all the cameras out there and tell you the key points about his equipment. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, one of the most important things a professional wedding photographer must have is a means of backup. For example, at Tara Weddings all of our cameras shoot to two memory cards simultaneously, and our photographers carry around 2 and sometimes even 3 cameras. That way we are ready for anything.
These are the 5 questions you should ask first. If the answers did not satisfy you, there is no point to continue to the other ones. However, if you were happy with all of the answers, please continue.
After you asked your photographer the first set of fundamental questions and were satisfied with the answers, you should find out how well your outlooks on the shooting process suit each other. I used the work “Matchmaking” on purpose here, because the next 4 questions will allow you to understand how easy it would be for you two to work together. So here are the questions:
6. Have you shot a wedding at my location of choice? If not, will you view it before the wedding?
When the photographer is familiar with the location where your wedding is going to be, it definitely benefits you. Firstly, this means that he already had a chance to find out about all the issues that could arise (such as poor lighting, tight spaces, unfriendly owners, etc.) and he had the opportunity to be more prepared for them. Secondly, he had the time to find all the best spots and angles for taking your pictures, and he would be less concerned with familiarizing himself with the location and pay more attention to capturing the moments. Thirdly, this means that you get to see examples of his work from this place and understand whether or not you’d like to take the same artistic direction. Sometimes a photographer is willing to travel to the scene of the wedding ahead of time, and see for himself what he needs to put up with. Unfortunately, that will also cost him time and travel expenses, so not everyone is ready to do it.Overall, this step is not always necessary, since a real professional is always ready for anything, and he is creative enough to make any place work for his advantage.
7. Are you willing to follow a shot list?
This is a trick question. Some photographers get offended by it, but that only points at their unwillingness to find an approach to their customers. If you hear “just trust me” for an answer, that’s a worrisome sign. This means that the photographer might not control his work enough, to be able to stick to a plan. Ideally, a photographer should agree to go through your shot list, make adjustments, if necessary, and at the same time, he should be able to deliver his own artistic view and reward you with all the shots you wanted and then more.
8. Is it possible for you to shoot in a similar manner (colour/style/posing/lighting) to my examples? Could you show me your work that you think is similar?
The best criteria for choosing your wedding photographer is by style. A photographer’s unique taste is what makes his work stand out and appeal to you. If you ask a photographer to mimic a style that opposes his own, it might not work out, even if he agrees to give it a try, simply because it is something that comes from within and is very individual. However if the work that inspires you is similar to what your photographer of choice specializes in, there should be no problem to recreate these shots for you.
9. How much do you control your shooting process and much of it is spontaneous?
The amount of control that a photographer puts into the creation of his images is what defines his style. Some photographers like to go unnoticed and capture all the realities of life no matter how unpolished it could be, others direct every shot and make sure everything is flawless before they press the button. However most photographers in the wedding industry mix both of the approaches and depending on the so-called ratio, we see different results. To evaluate the answer of your photographer, you should first do some research and decide what shots you prefer to be candid and with which you’d like a bit more guidance.
If the answers your photographer gave you leave you feeling as excited about capturing your wedding as you were before, that ’s a good sign to move on to the next level. Please continue to our next post, to find out which questions you should ask your photographer to be able to plan your big day concerning what he needs from your side to make your pictures even better.