Questions to ask your wedding photographer

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Questions to ask your wedding photographer Powered By Docstoc
					        Questions to ask your wedding photographer

1 – Can you see pictures from the recent wedding? Not only the very few best images in their online
portfolio, but also the rest from that day. You want to make sure that the images in the portfolio are
actually representative of the quality in all of them. Sometimes photographer will put a few of the best,
but the rest won’t be so impressive.

2 – How many weddings a month (or that week) does he/she have? If there are no other weddings but
yours – perhaps you are dealing with someone who is only starting out in the industry and you should
pay closer attention to what you are getting. If they have a lot of weddings already scheduled – inquire if
the photographer will be able to supply the promised amount of time on your day to cover the event.
You do not want him to rush in between the jobs.

3 – Can you meet and talk in person rather than over the phone. This one is very important. If you don’t
feel comfortable around the photographer, or he/she is very reserved and shy –this may impact the
images. You want to feel very easy around this person and want photographer to be easy going,
understanding and friendly.

4 – How many people will be covering your wedding? Will he be alone or will there be a second shooter
or assistant. This is very important! If he is alone, the types of shots and angles will be limited to what
one person can do. While it heavily depends on photographer’s skills, generally someone working with
second shooter or assistant can provide more creative and varied images. If one is shooting up close,
second one can stand back and use longer lens. Of it is an assistant – he may be needed to hold the
flash/light away from the camera so you do not get harsh shadows and “point and shoot” looking

5 – Does he/she have a backup camera? This is important because no one is protected from electronics
that just quits at the worst possible moment. If he doesn’t and camera dies during the wedding – you
are out of luck (and pictures). If he does have a second camera – is it close enough in specs to his main
camera? You don’t want him to pull out a pocket sized consumer camera, do you? Another point about
the second body – is that it can be used to shoot with a different lens. This way the photographer will be
able to spend more time capturing images than changing lenses or walking back and forth to find the
right distance.

6 – How many and what kind of lenses will be used? While you may not know the difference between a
16mm f2.8 fisheye and 70-200mm f2.8, you can probably tell if photographer has enough equipment to
make different style of shots. If he intends to use only one lens – all the images will look alike in a way.
On the other hand if he says that five different lenses will be used – it’s a sign of techno-junky and not a
photographer. Depending on the lenses – the optimal number is 2-3. One is definitely not enough for
variety and four is too many. He probably should have a wide-angle for group shots, normal for portraits
and formals and some sort of medium telephoto for all the smiles that will be on display. Again – two is
likely to be just enough if they are the right kind (like 17-50mm and 70-200mm, or 17-35mm and 24-
70mm, or 20mm and 85mm/135mm). This one really depends on his style.
7 – Is his camera capable of writing to two cards at the same time so there is a backup of very image

8 – if his camera can’t write to two cards at the same time, will he have enough cards to put them away
without a need to copy-erase-recycle a card that fills up. You really don’t want him to spend time
downloading images to computer while he should be taking them with the camera.

9 – Will he be using flash?

        a)      If yes – does he have a backup flash?
        b)      Will it be bounced or off-camera so there are no sharp shadows?
        c)      Will he use it during the day shots outside as “fill flash”. This is important as some
                   photographers actually confuse when the flash should be used. Often times it’s
                   needed in very bright light and not during the sunsets or indoors. Flash combined
                   with direct sunlight can give more even lighting without very harsh and unattractive

10 – Does he need a power outlet on site for any devices such as databanks, laptops, chargers etc?

11 – Does he shoot in RAW mode or JPEG. RAW file format can store a lot more information than a JPEG
and as a result allows for more manipulation if it needs some correction.

12 – Does he have enough batteries for the amount of time you are paying for? While it sounds silly,
there have been occasions where batteries would discharge too quickly (due to screen or flash use) and
photographer would be scrambling for replacement.

13 – How will he be dressed? See, normally this is not something you would think to ask, but you may be
really surprised to see someone show up in jeans and t-shirt when everyone else is in a tuxedo.

14 – Is he familiar with the location? If he has never been there before, you should ask him to visit the
location ahead of time to scout for the best looking spots for formal pictures and group shots. This will
also help photographer pick the right lenses for the job.

15 – Will he be able to arrive early and on-time? This is one day when photographer cannot be late as
you probably are not going to repeat the wedding just for him.

16 – if the amount of time he will be on site is considerable (5+ hours), will he need any food or water?
While it’s technically not your responsibility, a hungry photographer can be easily distracted. So if he is
going to be there for 8 hours, maybe you should get a plate of food for him. Unless he will bring his own
snack or won’t need any.

17 – Ask him to check in with you before he leaves the event. You really don’t want to be in the middle
of the party and decide to get a photo of you with the bridesmaids or best man only to find out that
photographer has already left.

19 – Discuss what images you want him to take. Do you want a portrait of each guest? What about kids?
Do you have a beautiful and super expensive cake or flower arrangements? He should take pictures of
them as well.
20 – Will he provide to you all images (on DVD/CD or other media)? Many photographers would take
close to two thousands images in an evening and would only provide a quarter of them. But what if his
favorite picks are not your favorite ones? Note: he will discard some images. In particular those that are
out of focus, those with poor composition, etc.

21 – Will he provide full size, high resolution images? You may want to make a scrapbook at some point
and use your wedding pictures, but you can’t really print anything optimized for a website. If not right
away – then maybe in a few months after the wedding, so the guests had a chance to buy their
favorites from the photographer.

22 – Will the images be free of watermarks? No one wants a signature over the bride’s dress.

23 – Will he give you a release to print or post the images online? This is one of the most crucial and
important issues! By law, photographer owns all the rights to the images he takes. Even if you pay for
them and if you are in them. Without his written permission – you cannot print them, cannot put them
online, send in an e-mail or anything else. If he will not give you the release to the images – ask if he will
do so for a payment. An extra $100 to own the rights to the images (in writing) is money well spent. In
general – I would highly recommend going with a photographer who agrees to this and #20,#21.

24 – What kind of retouching, if any, will be done? Believe it or not, but in many cases photographers
have to do quite a bit of work to make people look their best. Sometimes that means removing skin
imperfections, sometimes digitally whitening their teeth. On another occasion it may be needed to
remove dark circles under the eyes or correct a crooked smile.

25 – How soon will the images be available for you and for guests to see? It really shouldn’t take longer
than a week or two at the very most.

26 – Will he provide an online gallery where you can select and pre-approve images that will be either
later shown to guests in online gallery or given to you as prints or digitally.

27 – Will there be an online gallery where guests can purchase their favorite pictures as digital files and
as printed images?

28 – What is the price of the prints in various sizes above the amount promised with the package? Often
times these prices are very high. You may want to make sure you will be able to afford to buy a few to
send them to your friends and relatives with a “Thank you” note after the wedding. I’ve seen a 4x6 cost
as much as $15 each.

29 – What kind of paper and lab will be used for the prints. You really don’t want photographer to print
your images on a regular glossy paper at Walgreens or Wal-Mart. The quality may suffer significantly
unless done on good paper and with a proper printer. Archival grade paper with proper inks can also last
from 10 to 50 years without any yellowing, discoloration or curling.

30 – Will he try to be considerate of other guests with cameras? If your uncle Joe brings his camera, the
photographer should not get upset. But do ask your uncle Joe to be mindful of a paid professional who is
there with a camera to do his job.
31 – In case there is an emergency and he is unable to provide the service on that day – will a
replacement be available? This is something you SHOULD put into the contract. Accidents and
emergencies happen to everyone and you really want to make sure that nothing will spoil your day.
Make sure to get the phone and name for the backup photographer if there is one.

32 – If there are any agreements done verbally, ask your photographer to put it in writing (even if it is
done by hand on a clean sheet of paper) and sign by both of you.

By:   Yuri Risovanny

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