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What are the top 5 things a couple should look for or top 5 questions to ask when interviewing professional photographers?

Tags: eventsbystyle, photographers, photography

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My Wedding Chat had featured vendor, LC Photography, a bride-to-be and a wedding photographer, share 12 tips about what to look for in wedding photographers. Here's the post: http://www.weddingshoppeinc.com/Blog/?p=3062
Great key tips for selecting a photographer.
Who will be taking the photos at your wedding?
Are they are a member of any associations or groups specific to the industy?
Will there be backup equipment available? And what happens if the photographer is ill?
How long after the event will the proofs be ready?
Does he/she have liability insurance?
A just finished reading Stephanie's guide.

http://www.bookmorebrides.com/book-more-brides-reviews

THere's actually 8 from her recommendation.

How many weddings per year?
How much?
How much is the deposit
What Specifically included in that cost
If I cancel, what happens
Do you use contracts
Any Additional Fees
Do you carry insurance?
Somewhere in these questions, ask to see the photographers portfolio. A picture truly is worth a thousand words. If you ask them all of the questions, and they answer to your satisfaction, but you never see their work you could end up being disappointed. Just like you wouldn't purchase your wedding gown without trying it on first, take your photographer, or any vendor that you are considering, for a test drive. Trust me when I say, they won't mind showing off their work at all!
I've been meaning to write another document about questions to ask a photographer specifically. These 8 questions are more general for any wedding professional.

I did a survey of photographers to find out the questions most couples don't ask that they SHOULD ask photographers:

1) How will you interact with my guests?

2) Is your style traditional or photojournalistic? Formal poses or candids?

3) Are you a photographer or a WEDDING photographer?

4) What can we do to make sure our pictures are the best they can be?

5)How do you keep from burning out on weddings?

6) What do you do to find fresh inspiration for every wedding?

7) How many weddings do you generally do in a year?

8) Do you use different lenses?

9) Do you use 2 shooters at a Wedding?

10) Do you carry back up cameras?

11) Which image quality do you shoot with? (make sure: high-fine or raw).

12) How long does it takes to receive the proofs?

13) Can I see printed samples of your work with at least one album of just one wedding, not a collection of your best shots?

I guess I better write that article now, huh? :)
Great Questions! Looking forward to your article.
One question that you want to know is on average how many shoots/assignments are they booked for each month. You always want to be assured that the photographer will give you their full attention and is not overwhelmed with other projects.

It's also great to know their turn around time. Hope this helps a little.


Chantel LaNeice- Photography
www.cljstudio.com
Okay, its about 6am, and I've been up all night editing images, for which I'm done, but now cant sleep ...
So heres my take on the questions asked (sorry if I get some of you upset):

Do you offer custom packaging? – is this really relevant?
Do you offer *Shared Rights*? – by law, Image rights belong to the photographer, and on payment partial rights are transferred to the couple.
Will I receive a DVD or CD of my images? – basic website package information.
When can I expect my images will be complete and back to me? – is this relevant?
Are you a registered business, LLC, etc? – irrelevant. Anyone can be taken to court for non-performance on an agreement.
Do you charge for travel? – basic website package information.
Will I be ordering my photos through you or can I go somewhere else? – For serious photographers, you have to order through them. Its to maintain quality.
What exactly does your package include? How many photographers? Prints? Editing? ... duuhhh!!
Will I be able to view my photos soon after my wedding? If so, how? ... duhhhh!!
How many images will you edit? – basic website package information.
Do you have references that I can contact? – what exactly are you contacting them for? Image quality? or about how the photographer customer service? .. if the world’s best and most expensive photographer happens to be quite rude, but offers to shoot your wedding free, are you going to say no?
How long have your been shooting, professionally? – one of the most irrelevant questions to ask an artist. I know 21 year old photographers making waves in the industry. I also know tired 50 yr old photographers who are still shooting weddings the same way they shot it 30 years ago.
Who will be taking the photos at your wedding? ... kinda relevant
Are they are a member of any associations or groups specific to the industry? – totally irrelevant
Will there be backup equipment available? And what happens if the photographer is ill? – any pro photographer will address these on the wedding agreement.
How long after the event will the proofs be ready? - relevant
Does he/she have liability insurance? – kinda relevant, but also addressed in the contract.
How will you interact with my guests? - ?
Is your style traditional or photojournalistic? Formal poses or candids? – should be evident on the website gallery.
Are you a photographer or a WEDDING photographer? - haha
What can we do to make sure our pictures are the best they can be? – smile a lot and have fun
How do you keep from burning out on weddings? – what?
What do you do to find fresh inspiration for every wedding? – if I say I go to art galleries, or dream them in my sleep, or even see them in my cup of coffee ... does that change anything?
How many weddings do you generally do in a year? Totally irrelevant. A 45yr old photographer with 20 weddings a year probably has the same energy levels as a 30yr old photographer with 50 weddings a year.
Do you use different lenses? – are you a pro photographer?
Do you use 2 shooters at a Wedding? - relevant
Do you carry back up cameras? – are you a pro photog?
Which image quality do you shoot with? (make sure: high-fine or raw). – doesn’t matter as long as you’ve seen his/her work and like it.
How long does it takes to receive the proofs? - relevant
Can I see printed samples of your work with at least one album of just one wedding, not a collection of your best shots? – kinda relevant, but just so you know. You will see quite a bit of ordinary images. NO photographer can shoot a wedding and deliver 500 awesome images.

my take on the right question to ask will be coming up soon ....

After reading the reply to these questions by the previous blogger I was quite amused at such an arrogant response, which is a shame because this is what wedding photography is all about; appreciating what your clients want and listening to what they require from you. So to help out anyone reading this blog these are my responses to the questions outlined by Stephanie.

 


1) How will you interact with my guests? I think its important to get to know people really quickly, whats nice about working from the very beginning (bridal prep) is that you get to know half the family before you even get to the church. This really helps later when you take photos of them as they are more comfortable with you. Also, its important to feel like a guest at someones wedding if you're working as well, which helps the photographer blend in with the rest of the crowd.

2) Is your style traditional or photojournalistic? Formal poses or candids? Personally, I do a bit of both, but its a good question. What I would ask a client, more importantly, is what do you want? Its not hard for a photographer to do a bit of both! It always helps if the client knows what they want.

 

3) Are you a photographer or a WEDDING photographer? Lets not be hasty with this question, It's important to get someone with experience in weddings, but a versatile and multi-talented photographer could really add another dimension to the images. For example, I work as a workshop practitioner involving photography with Early Years, which means that I'm pretty experienced with working with young children. This helps get great pictures of kids.


4) What can we do to make sure our pictures are the best they can be? Give the photographer as much info about the wedding as possible, particularly visual details! A photographer will see and snap all these anyway but its great to know what to expect. 

5)How do you keep from burning out on weddings? It's only usually working one or two days a week, I think question 6 could give you an answer for this as well! 

6) What do you do to find fresh inspiration for every wedding? Every wedding is different, every person is different. You meet loads of new people every time and go to a great party! Each wedding is unique and a good photographer will appreciate that, showing excitement about the little things that will define your day as your own!

7) How many weddings do you generally do in a year? This will show you how much a photographer works, but if they've got a good portfolio and they're a freelancer, they could lie to your face and you'd never know! I do think that this question is slightly irrelevant. If someone is good, you will be able to see it!

8) Do you use different lenses? Most good photographers would! A better question would be, do they use more than one camera, but seriously, don't put too much weight into this question.

9) Do you use 2 shooters at a Wedding? If you ask this question, you should be prepared to pay for two photographers. I don't use a 2nd Shooter, because I can usually cover everything but I know plenty who do. My advice on this is that if you feel that your wedding is going to be quite large, then maybe ask if they will be using an assistant...

10) Do you carry back up cameras? An essential question.

11) Which image quality do you shoot with? (make sure: high-fine or raw). This question is very important; also ask about their post-production work. You want to see that they are using good quality images and RAW processing (Digital Negatives) This makes all the difference. I have seen some good images in the past that have had little or no work done on them! It can look terrible.

12) How long does it takes to receive the proofs? This is good to know, but be aware that if it takes 4-6 weeks, then your photographer is obviously quite desirable and quite busy! But quick service is always nice!

13) Can I see printed samples of your work with at least one album of just one wedding, not a collection of your best shots? Yeah, ask to see maybe a whole wedding digitally, or an album from one wedding. Seeing printed versions is also desirable, you want to make sure that they can be printed as well as viewed on the web.

 

Phew!

I hope this helps people who are looking for good photographers. More importantly, think about the actual person as well, do you actually want them at your wedding? And how are they responding to your questions?

 

One final point: Ask about copyright issues and whether you will recieve all the images and be able to do what you like with them. Though Photographers own the copyright, you should still be able to do what you like with your images! If they say you can't put them on facebook etc, walk away...

 

Thanks, Philip!  I think your answers would be very helpful for a couple interviewing a photographer.

 

My take on these questions is that they aren't all meant to get a specific response (like "How do you keep from getting burned out?") rather, they are getting to know you type questions.  The photographer's answers will reveal personality, style and preferences.

 

It's easy to find a list of the standard questions to ask online (contract specs, image rights, prices, etc.) but I thought it would be helpful to get a little more creative.  In defense of clueless brides everywhere...I was one myself once, after all...they really don't know the "obvious" right answer to some of these questions.  For the complete novice, they may be worth asking.

Dear Stephanie,

 

I couldn't agree more, in my consultation interview I have a form which is just a blank spider diagram that I ask Brides to list everything visual that is happening in their wedding, which allows me to get to know what things they are 'designing' their wedding for! This is really helpful to me.

 

Its important to remember that its a two way street, the photographer needs to get to know you as well. Its no good them just showing up on the day knowing little about you, as they want you to feel relaxed in front of the camera so its important you both get to know each other. This also helps on Stephanies point about burning out on weddings; its much easier when you know your client because then you enjoy their wedding more as a guest as well as a professional.

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