Saturday, June 1, 2013

Questions to ask a potential wedding photographer Ventura, California Weding & Portrait Photographer | Donya J Photography

Questions to ask a potential photographer:

1.   How many weddings have you shot? How long have you been in business? 

Find out how many weddings the photographer has shot. He/she may have been a professional photographer for 15 years, but only doing weddings for the past year. Remember, wedding photography is much different than any other type of photography.  With such experience comes not only the knowledge of how to photograph a wedding, but also how to act during the ceremony and reception. For example, how will he dress and how will he act to your wedding party and guests?  Finally, find out if the photographer has shot at your wedding venue before. If he has, he may know of places to get good shots or ways to capture moments the best.

2. What type of equipment do you use? Do you have back-up equipment?

Although you may not be a professional photographer yourself, you should know what type of camera and equipment your photographer will be using during your event. You may find that you are more particular about it than you think.  For example, there are advantages to both digital and film that you may want to consider. Both produce high quality images, but some say film produces better pictures when enlarged. Others contend that digital pictures are easier to manipulate and produce.  In the end, if the photographer uses a digital camera, make sure it takes images of at least 8 mega pixels or larger. If film is the photographer's preference, make sure they use professional grade film instead of consumer quality film.  Just like every photographer should bring along an assistant to help him during your wedding, every photographer needs backup equipment in case his original equipment fails. Flashes, lenses and cameras should all come in multiples. Extra batteries, film and memory cards are also a must.

3. Can I see your portfolio?

Would you hire a baker without trying a sample (or 12) of their cakes? This might seem obvious, but many brides take it for granted that a photographer with an established business must ooze talent. Sometimes, that's not the case.  Most upstanding photographers publish digital portfolios online, which will help you weed out the less-than-stellar candidates. Be sure to take into consideration the diversity of their shots, their use of lighting and how comfortable the photos' subjects appear. A truly talented photographer can get even the stiffest brides to loosen up for the camera.

4. When will I see the photos or proofs?  

The Digital Age has made us into very impatient people. Factor in a bride who wants her photos yesterday, and you've got the potential for a major post-wedding meltdown.  While you're interviewing photographers, find out when you can expect to see your proofs. Most pros will post them on a password-protected Web site within a month or so of the wedding. If a quick turnaround is very important to you, get the photographer's commitment in writing, and remind him of your agreed time frame immediately following the wedding.

5. What Products Do You Offer?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you're not interested in purchasing a set of 20 coffee mugs emblazoned with your bridal portrait. Still, it's vital to examine your personal photography needs compared with your vendor's capabilities. For example, don't select someone who can't produce photographer thank-you cards, if that personal touch is something you have your heart set on. Most photographers are happy to work with your individual requests, ranging from mounted portraits to traditional albums, but it never hurts to see their product list and pricing ahead of time in case you want to buy something not included in your wedding package.

6. How Do You Strive to Provide Excellent Customer Service?

OK, so this question isn't specific to photographer. In fact, it can be applied to pretty much any business-related situation throughout your life. Anyone who hems and haws about giving out her cell phone number or e-mail address, or who makes light of other clients' "silly emergencies" might not take your concerns seriously, either.  Ask your photographer candidate how long you can expect to wait for a reply to your questions. If you're a typical bride, anything longer than one business day just isn't going to appeal to your organizational sensibilities. Whatever you do, honor your instincts and run for the hills if she strikes you the wrong way at your initial meeting. First impressions tend to be pretty accurate, so if you find her to be annoying, elusive or noncommittal, chances are good that the same qualities will trouble you throughout your working relationship.

7. Can I Check Your References?

Run, don't walk, if a photographer declines to provide you with references. If she does give you a list of names and numbers, do your due diligence and talk to these former clients before signing on the dotted line. Previous brides can dish on the things they loved, hated or felt ambivalent about in regard to their vendor.  Since most of the contacts she provides you with will be satisfied customers, make an effort to ask around among your friends and family, and check to see if anyone has reviewed her services online. Good news travels fast, but bad news is even speedier, so anyone with a tale of woe and disappointment is usually going to be willing to dish details.

8. Why Are You a Photographer?

Hint: If his response is "The pay is good, and the brides are smokin' hot," he might be lacking the passion for his craft that you certainly want reflected in your wedding photographs. Otherwise, the answer doesn't really matter, as long as you get the succinct impression that he enjoys his work, particularly interacting with other people and providing a top-quality finished product.
These questions might seem over-the-top to some brides, but when you're 90 years old and looking back on your wedding album with tears of joy in your eyes, you'll be thankful that you made the extra effort to hire just the right professional for the job.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

1.  Do I feel a connection with this photographer as well as his/her photos?
2.  Are our personalities a good match?
3.  Am I comfortable with this person’s work and communication style?
4.  Has this photographer listened well and addressed all my concerns?

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