Hi again! I haven’t shared any kinds of tips on Tuesday lately, and when Brynn of D’Avello Photography sent these over, I just KNEW they would be a huge help to you all when you meet with potential photographers! I know I sure could have used them!! So without further ado, here are 7 questions to ask a potential photographer!
1. Do you have a second shooter or an assistant?
No one can be in two places at once and it takes at least two people to fully cover all of the moments of a wedding. For example, you want the picture of the bride walking down the aisle, but you also want the groom’s reaction to seeing his bride walking down the aisle, right? There is also a difference between a second shooter and an assistant. A second shooter is usually a photographer in their own right so if something terrible should happen to the main photographer (or their gear) the second shooter can step up and get the shot. An assistant is usually there to change lenses, batteries, hold lighting equipment and to get water for the main photographer.
**Bonus Question** Something else to ask is do they work with the same second shooter for every wedding or do they mix it up?
Working with the same second shooter will provide you with consistency in photographs, and great partners who work well together will have a system already in place to plan who will be where and what shots the other one is getting. This will ensure that you have photographs of the entirety of your day and not have 50 images of your bouquet, but none of your rings. We like to use walkie talkies when we are photographing a wedding so that we can continuously be in contact even from across the room. It has helped so many times when one of us sees a moment happening but aren’t close enough to catch it from where we are.
2. What equipment do you shoot with?
This is one of those questions that the photographer will probably geek out on you and start listing a bunch of letters and numbers for all their camera bodies and lenses. If you are not a camera gear enthusiast don’t worry there is only a few things you need to know. Pros always have two or more camera in case one malfunctions. They should also have a broad range of focal lengths in their lenses. Wide angle (17mm) to telephoto (200mm). Most photographers are more than happy to go into which lens is their favorite and why. They should be able to give you a really good idea of why they use what they use in layman’s terms. Remember that it is not just a nice camera that makes great photographs, it is just a tool; but a very powerful tool in the hands of a pro.
3. Do you have liability insurance?
This is a MUST! Even if your venue doesn’t require it (although most do), if a photographer gets hurt or if a guest trips over their tripod and gets hurt it’s on you. Starting off your marriage responsible for someone else’s medical bills would be awful.
4. How do we receive the final images?
Some photographers will not provide high-resolution files to their clients so that they can sell you more prints, or they will charge an additional fee for the files. Some photographers are moving to a Cloud storage and delivery that gives you and your family access to all of your images to download and print. Some photographers are still using DVD’s to deliver files to clients. In either case you want to make sure you understand exactly what is included in your package before you sign on the dotted line.
**Bonus Question** If files are included, are all the images edited? Are they all high-resolution?
Knowing what you are getting back is just as important as knowing if you will get images back at all. Low resolution images are good for sharing online and possibly (and I stress possibly) printing out 4×6’s. They will not work for enlargements or having an album printed. Make sure you know what you are getting. Will they be retouched or will they be untouched?
5. What is your process for posing?
Even if their style is primarily photojournalistic there is still a need for posed shots. Every photographer has a method for coaxing naturalness from their subjects. Let them tell you how they do it. Scheduling an engagement session before the wedding (or before booking) is a great way to see how you mesh with a photographer. Remember they will be with you all day and making sure you are comfortable with them can make or break your wedding day.
6. Can I contact past clients for references?
Ask to speak to 1 or 2 former clients. Tell the photographer what your plans for your wedding are so they can put you in contact with couple’s that had a similar theme or sized wedding. Ask the couple about their experience. How were they to work with? How did their family like them? Did they follow through with what they said they would do? Would they recommend them to their best friend if they were getting married?
7. What excites you about photographing weddings?
Here is where your intuition comes to bat. There are some photographers that secretly can’t stand photographing weddings, and we bet you can guess why they still do it. You’ll be able to tell if they really love it or not. Ask how they started. Listen for WHO they are in their story. Your photographers will be with you all day. Are they genuine? Funny? Kind? Basically, do you LIKE them?
Seriously, when I say that I could have used these questions when I was searching for my photographer, I 100% mean it! First of all, the whole second shooter thing would have helped me a whole bunch, and secondly, I would have liked to have known about the posing. I had no idea about any of that! All of the above items that Brynn touches on are things that you most likely won’t think about, so be sure to jot these questions down/save the page/email to yourself/pin it/whatever so you can ask them when you’re meeting with potential photographers!
A huge thank you to Brynn and Mike of D’Avello Photography for sharing this expert insight with us!!!! You two are amazing! :)
For those of you who have already met with potential photographers- did you ask any questions? Any of these, or did you have others?