I am just getting ready to go photograph a wedding at Cragfont Mansion. I am so excited for Lindsay and Sean. I met them the first time back in March and they are so completely adorable, I cannot wait to see her dress and share some fab-u-lous photos with you! I am especially excited because I have never done an event at Cragfont Mansion so this will be a new experience for me and I cannot wait to see the place looking great!
Until I can share details of Lindsay and Sean's wedding with you, I am starting a series of 3 posts today that hold 15 Questions to ask when interviewing a Photographer: PART 1 (1st 5 Questions)...
Of course we all know that you will peruse about a MILLION different websites looking for a photographer with a style you like, but what should you really ask a photographer once you meet them in person or chat by phone to help you make a decision? There are lots of great photographers around the area, so make sure you ask the right questions to help you choose... here is a list that I think you should consider before booking someone (and also how we would answer).
1. Do you have my date available?
If not and you are not interested in changing your date, you can cut your conversation short right here. Remember a lot of wedding dates fill up quickly so try not to wait until the last minute to book your photographer.
2. Are you the photographer who will shoot my wedding?
Brides are often surprised to find out that the photographer that they spent so much time picking out and screening is often not the photograher who shows up to their wedding. Many photographers get booked quickly and farm out some of their weddings to other trusted photographers while taking a cut of the fee. While these other photographers may still do a great job, I personally feel that this practice is one of "bait and switch" and we do not do this at By Heart and Hand. I think it is fine as long as everyone is up front about who will be shooting the wedding and obviously if it is not the person you are talking to, you really should (in my opinon) speak to the photographer who will be assigned to shoot your wedding.
3. How would you describe your photography style?
It helps here if the bride actually has an idea about the different styles of photography, what they mean, and what she likes. I suggest a little research to decide what you like and look for someone who utilizes your style. You want to know whether you would like a Traditional or Classic style of mostly portraits for display in albums, a Photojournalistic style (less formal and posed with little direction from the photographer and a more natural look - more of a documentation of the events that occur), or a blend of the two. Additionally, some photographers have more a of a High Fashion look to their photography (artsy and glamourous) while some favor a more natural look or even call themselves completely Natural Light Photographers. It is important to know what look you like and will feel comfortable with as well as what style the photographer you are considering is capable of executing to. At By Heart and Hand for example, we consider ourselves to be a blend between traditional and photojournalistic styles. We mostly cover events at the wedding in a photojournalistic style...trying to document all the highlights of the events. However, we almost always have some more traditional, posed photos of your bridal party and families thrown in for good measure. Additionally, we will use "down time" at the wedding to try to capture portraits of some of your guests and, of course, the bride and groom! We do a lot of wedding outside where we like to utilize "natural light" for the flattering and ...well...natural look it gives, but we also have a set up of studio lights can bring along for select pictures or engagment or bridal portraits.
4. What type of equipment do you use?
You will get a sense of the photographer's knowledge and experience by what equipment they choose to use. We shoot digital at By Heart and Hand but the one bad thing about the advent of digital equipment and accessibility of it is the fact that there are several consumer lines of pretty good quality digital equipment available. With that, there has been an explosion of "moms with cameras" who are now calling themselves photographers. While your Aunt Sue may do a really great job taking pictures, you have to ask yourself whether you trust someone with little or no formal training and a consumer grade camera with a kit lens to capture your wedding. Professional cameras and lenses are heavy and expensive which is why they are only purchased and toted around by professionals who need to capture extremely high quality, high resolution images...the ones you will want to blow up in to canvases and other pieces of art for your new home together! They also require knowledge on how to operate them correctly. You can easily screen out the not so professional photographers many times by asking them what equipment they use. If the person you are interviewing has not made the investment in professional equipment for use their business, you may very well end up with a less than professional finished result.
5. Do you use an assistant if you are the only photographer I hire? Does this cost me any extra (especially important if you have a tight timeframe)?
We at By Heart and Hand will sometimes use an assistant so even if you don't book a second photographer, someone else will often be along to help tote equipment, coordinate people for formal photos, etc. As I said, this is especially important if you have a tight time schedule in which to complete your formal photos before other events take place. Partially whether or not an assistant comes along is dependent on the size, scope, and budget of your wedding. If you are having a large wedding (more than 80 or 100 people) and you do not get a 2nd shooter, I believe an assistant can be very valuable. You can discuss this with the photographer you are interviewing for yourself and decide whether it is something you really need, but either way, it is something you should definitely consider.
Stay tuned for the next installment of the next 5 questions coming very soon. In the meantime if you need any additional information, you can e-mail us at email@example.com or find us on facebook to keep in touch!
Now because I wouldn't dare want to post without posting some eye candy for you, enjoy:
Sites to check out...
By Heart and Hand on Facebook
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