“No, not everyone can be a wedding photographer. It’s not just about picking up a camera and learning how to use it, because that is only 10% of the skills. You see, you have to be able to think on your feet, react under pressure, be a director, deal with people, stay calm when everyone else is in a panic, put out fires, be a counselor, genuinely love people…it’s my most rewarding but hardest job I’ve ever worked…” – Julie Paisley
Wedding photography is challenging and rewarding – both for the couple and the photographer. Finding the right photographer to capture this momentous day is definitely overwhelming, especially if you are not totally sure what questions you should ask.
The process can and will bring up many different factors that you should consider in making your decision. Some of the most important ones are discussed below, so do not be afraid to ask your potential photographers questions about these factors and get all the right details from the start. The truth is, the right photographer will not mind your questions – in fact, they will welcome them!
1. Licensed Entity (LLC/Corp/etc.)
The business structure of a photographer can speak volumes about how they approach their craft. Do they have a setup in place, or are they more of a dabbler without real structure? Trust is a big part of this business relationship, so having confidence in their business setup is key.
2. Photography Organizations (PPA)
While this is not a strict requirement necessarily, but it is a good indicator of the level of dedication they have to photography itself. It signals that they are updated on trends, news and best practices, which is always a good thing.
3. Back Up System (dual memory cards, hard drives)
Think of this is as another facet of the insurance factor that was mentioned above. What system do they have in place for preserving your most special memories? Technology fails, but your photographer should not. Ask detailed questions about how they plan for these risks including insurance. An important question to start off with? Have they ever lost files, and what would they do in the event that it happens?
Do not be afraid to ask about how long they have been shooting weddings. This will give you a good idea of their communication and direction style, how they approach needs of the couple with their own artistic style, as well as what their process is like.
5. Turn Around Times
During the evaluation process, it is easy to get caught up in details about the shoot itself, the day before and all of the other issues. However, when should you actually expect the results? You do not want to wait around forever to be able to access your pictures, and ensuring that they have a reasonable turn around time is a must.
6. Ask for samples
Photographers should readily be able to show you their full portfolio. Ask to see full galleries, samples of their best works, interesting shots, or just images that they are most proud of. This will also give you insight into their approach, and what sort of elements they need to have a successful shoot.
7. Quality of Images (style, consistency, resolution, products, etc.)
As simplistic as it sounds – do you actually like the photos? Do they seem like high-quality images where the photographer clearly put in the effort to showcase the beauty of the moments they were capturing? Whether it is style, consistency, the resolution – do all of these elements come together in a way that is appealing to you?
8. Online Reviews
References and online reviews are an absolute must. Photographers can give you all the details on their end, but you must also ensure that experience was just as enjoyable for the couples being photographed. Read up on what others have to say, and use that as a foundation for when you are evaluating the photographers along with all the other information you have received.