Sunday, September 4, 2011

Things to ask when looking for a wedding photographer.....

I know this is a little off track from my last few posts, and I promise I will get back to the tips.
Today though I want to talk about the things you should ask your wedding photographer when you are looking for one to cover your special day.
More after the break....

The first thing you should do before finding out what the photographer charges is look at their portfolio or website and see the quality of their work and if their style matches what you envision for your wedding. Every Photographer has their own way of covering a wedding and their own style of processing. Make sure you are happy with these things. It doesn't matter how much or how little you pay your photographer if their style doesn't mesh with yours.
Once you have narrowed down your list of potential photographers, set up a meeting and make sure they are someone you can work with. They are going to be with you for hours on end on the most stressful day of your life and you need to be able to get along. If you decide you wont be able to work with the photographer, end the meeting. Be nice about it, but at this point there is no reason to continue the process if you can't work with the person.
If, during the meeting, you decide you can work with the photographer its time to start asking more in depth questions about the photographers experience and gear.
Equipment brand isn't that important. I shoot Canon and most of the photographers I know shoot with either Canon or Nikon. But other brands are capable of great results as long as the photographer knows what they are doing.
Things you need to ask are: What mode do you shoot in? The answer should never be Auto or Portrait mode. A photographer who knows what they are doing will shoot a wedding in Manual or Aperture Priority and maybe Shutter Priority in certain situations. They would never shoot in a mode like Auto that lets the camera choose the settings.
Another question you should ask is: Do you have back up gear? A wedding photographer should have at the minimum two camera bodies, a handful of back up batteries and back up lenses that cover the same focal range as his primary lenses. If they dont have at least that, my advice is to find another photographer. Why you ask? What happens if the photographer only has one camera and it breaks on him during the middle of the ceremony. Or what does he do when a battery goes dead and he doesn't have a fully charged back up battery to put in the camera? These things happen...cameras fail, lenses get dropped, batteries go dead, a professioanl photographer has back ups in case this happens. Flashes are another thing you need to ask about. If  the photographer relies on the pop up flash built into the camera, that's another sign to run away. the pop up flash is the worst possible light you can use for professional photography. It is to close to the axis of the lens to give any flattering light.
Something else to ask is: Do you have the equipment to shoot in low light?  Not all lenses are best used in low light. It takes what is referred to as fast lenses. They are designed to be able to allow enough light into the camera to be able to get a properly exposed image. Don't let a photographer tell you that he doesn't need fast lenses because their camera has high ISO capabilities. My cameras do as well and I find myself in situations all the time where it takes my camera set at its max ISO setting and a fast lens and a shutter speed as slow as I can possibly go to be able to  get a sharp and properly exposed image. And another note, not all venues allow the use of flash.
I know this is a lot to have to go over with your potential photographer, but the goal is to have images you can look back on and enjoy and be able to relive the memories. You don't want to regret your photographer choice because the images you get are not up to your expectations.

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