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 and videographer 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.
Ask yourself, how do I know certain wedding photographers are actually professionals? This is a trick question. Why? Because when you open any wedding photography websites, you will be impressed by their photo selections, and the only difference will seem to be that one charges $500 while another charges $5000.
You like both of their pictures, so what’s the difference? How can you know that one company is different in a way that justifies charging 10 times as much?
To sort through the options, you may ask your wedding videographer some questions about their experience.
So the first question is the cheesiest one.
WHAT KIND OF EQUIPMENT DO THEY USE?
It can be any brand of equipment. It can be Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax. So you ask what kind of camera do you use? And the proper answer is ‘I use a professional camera’. So what does it mean to have a professional camera? It’s not just a camera that costs lots of money or something. There is one thing that separates a non-professional camera and a professional camera when it comes to wedding photography.
THE CAMERA SHOULD HAVE TWO CARD SLOTS.
Two cards slots and that’s it. Now I’m gonna show you. As an example, this is the camera I use. This is Sony A9, the latest high end camera from Sony. When you open the memory card cover, you see that there are two SD card slots.
So why it is so important to have two card slots in one camera? And why does that make these cameras professional?
Say it’s the middle of the wedding and while your photographer is shooting something goes wrong with the card itself, not only the camera, with the card itself. With two card slots, if one card gets corrupted there is a second backup card that has all the same pictures in the same quality. So when your photographer is taking photos, they are automatically creating backups of everything. This ensures you will not lose your photos.
THE SECOND THING THE PHOTOGRAPHER HAS TO HAVE IS A SECOND CAMERA.
I never shoot weddings with only one camera. I use two different cameras to be able to take different kinds of shots moments apart. I keep both strapped to me, to always have a second lens ready to go.
Sometimes a camera can just die in the middle of something really important. You really don’t want your photographer to have any problems with equipment during your first dance, your kiss, or during your ring ceremony. You just don’t want your photographer to come to you after and say, “I’m sorry, this was an equipment problem, this can happen and I apologize.” What can you do? It just can’t happen. This is your wedding, the one day that changes your life completely. To avoid any kind of accidents that can that can ruin your day, I would say your wedding photographer should have a second camera fully charged and ready to go, close by.
I sometimes even carry three cameras. The third one is a small one but it still can take nice pictures. I’m actually shooting this video on this camera. This is the Sony a 6500, the top-level Sony crop sensor camera. It produces amazing pictures and it can fit into my pocket. With so many backups, I can’t mess up a wedding in any way.
This is what you should consider about your photographer’s equipment.
A FEW OTHER THINGS YOU CAN ASK.
The first thing is to request to be shown full weddings captured by the photographer, not only the best 10 pictures out of all the weddings they’ve done so far. Out of thousands of pictures, finding some nice ones is easy. See a full wedding from start to finish, maybe their 50 best pictures from the day, and you will see how he or she performs.
The second thing is the engagement photoshoot. If you want to be safe, it’s a good idea to use this occasion to “warm up” with your photographer before the wedding. You can see how he or she actually works and what kind of pictures you can expect, and how he or she helps you to create good photography. How do you feel in front of this photographer? How you feel being photographed by them?
These are pretty much all the questions I would ask a wedding photographer as a groom or bride. If you have any questions please let me know. You can leave your comments below. Please subscribe and like, so I can understand if you’re actually interested in such videos. Thank you very much and have a good day.