Your initial consultation with a photographer is an interview, and you are the interviewer. Here are a few important questions to ask your potential photographer when it comes to shooting a wedding, or session in general.
What type of equipment do you use?
Most hobbyists and amateurs use beginner SLRs, unless they have the means and desire to purchase professional-grade cameras. But remember, it’s the photographer, not the camera, who composes and post-produces the photos. Buying a Canon doesn’t make you a photographer, it makes you a Canon owner.
How long have you been shooting professionally? Are you a full-time photographer?
If capturing your favourite moments are important to you, trust a seasoned professional, not someone just looking to build their résumé. If booking for a wedding, make sure to look through at least four complete wedding shoots to view consistency in their work.
What kind of post-processing do you do?
A professional photographer will correct their photos for white balance, contrast, colour, hue saturation, as well as tasteful, artistic edits such as black & white conversion, blemish removal, opening closed eyes, dodging and burning, et cetera. An amateur will either simply dump the photos from the camera onto a disc, or conversely, go overboard with selective colouring, fonts, and superimposition effects.
Do you provide professional prints and products?
Professionals are required by most professional printers to supply a business licence and our portfolio before being approved for an account. They use professional-grade printers, papers, and ink. Do not trust a photographer who uses chains such as Wal-Mart, Target, Wolf/Ritz Camera, or drugstores, all of whom use economy papers and ink which will fade much quicker. Ask to review samples of their work.
What attire will you and any assistants wear?
A professional will dress for your occasion – that is business attire or business casual – and never wear jeans or tee shirts no matter how informal the ceremony. Female photographers should not wear dresses, skirts, or cleavage-bearing tops.
Have you received formal training as a photographer? Are you a member of any professional organisations?
A professional has gone to university and/or attends workshops to stay current on the industry, trends, and equipment. Memberships of one or more organisations shows they are invested in furthering their education.
What experience do you have as a photographer? What specialities do you have?
No photographer shoots “everything”. We focus on a few specialities to dedicate our time to. Shooting one’s children or their friends’ children does not count as experience. Again, ask to review their portfolio and samples of their work. If booking for a wedding, make sure to look through at least four complete wedding shoots to view consistency in their work.
Why did you choose to become a professional photographer?
Too many people choose to be a photographer because they are looking to make a quick, easy income. Choose a photographer who is passionate about their work and has not just invested money, but time and talent, into their work.
Do you provide an itemised contract?
A professional will provide a contract that details the services and products being provided, payment, and terms and conditions such as liability, cancellations, et cetera. This is to protect both the client and the photographer.
Do you have Liability Insurance, Equipment Insurance, and Malpractice Insurance?
If a child guest becomes injured by photography equipment at the wedding, who will pay his/her medical bills? If the photographer plugs equipment into the church socket and blows the entire circuit board, who will pay for the repairs? If a guest accidentally damages a piece of photography equipment, who will pay to replace it? If equipment comes up missing inside the private residence in which your ceremony is being held, who will pay to replace it? If your wedding images are lost by the photographer, will you be compensated for the monies you’ve paid? Additionally, will the photographer cover the cost for your entire family and wedding party to travel, redress, re-rent, and re-group for a second photo shoot?
Finally, always review their portfolio and enlarged samples of their work to ensure crispness of their photos and their paper and product quality. For a printable and more comprehensive list of questions, visit our main website at www.Bella-Muse.com, and click on Investments > Weddings.
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