Monday, 12 July 2010

Nine Questions to Ask Your Prospective Wedding Photographer...

... Before you book them!

The wedding photography market is so full of choice these days that it can be baffling to the uninitiated. Some photographers may just be starting out, and some may be vastly experienced, but all should go about their business in a 'professional' manner. This list of simple questions has been put together to help you navigate the minefield of professional wedding photography services, and decide what is right for you. After all, you do not want to be disappointed on your wedding day, or on the day that those picture proofs arrive.

So, first up and most important:

1) Do you have backup equipment? For professional photographers, one is simply not enough. You can't risk getting half way through a wedding and have the camera malfunction, so there must be redundant backups of all major pieces of equipment - camera bodies, lenses, flashes. They must also have more camera batteries, AAs and memory cards than they will ever need. Any wedding photographer without these backups is running a huge risk of missing the images from your day. And once they're missed, they're gone forever.

2) Do you have insurance? Nobody wants things to go wrong, but if they do then you need to know that your photographer is covered. Do they have public liability insurance? Some venues will insist on this for any photographer. Do they have professional indemnity insurance?

3) Can you shoot my style? Ask any wedding photographer this and the answer will most likely be 'yes', so make sure they can evidence it with previous work. There is also a question for you here, to make sure you understand what you want before you start trying to pick a wedding photographer.

4) Do we get on? Very important. If you don't get on, or they make you feel uneasy, uptight, or anything else, it's time to move on. You will be spending most of your day in very close proximity to your wedding photographer, so you need to be sure you will be comfortable.

5) Do you have testimonials/references? Any decent photographer should be able to point you towards comments from their satisfied customers. People trust a service when they can see other people talking positively about it - if there are no testimonials available, why not?

6) Can I see a complete book from a single wedding? Anyone can take the odd good 'snap' at a wedding. It takes skill to be able to produce consistently high quality images throughout an entire day. A 'single wedding' book is a much better way of judging what you can expect from your wedding photographer than a 'best bits' book which may be gleaned from a dozen different weddings.

7) Do you use a professional printing lab? Cheap printing can ruin even the best photography, so make sure your wedding photographer is using a professional-grade printing lab. You may not think you would be able to tell the difference, but if you put a high street print next to a professioanl lab print, you will be able to see immediately.

8) How long does it take to get proofs? Proofs are your first sight of your wedding pictures, and if you're anything like me, you'll be dying to see some pictures as soon as you get back from honeymoon. So, how long will your photographer make you wait? Are they too busy on 'new' business to satisfy their existing customers?

9) Do you give an online gallery I can share with my friends and family? These days the joy of images is sharing them with family and friends, and none more so than wedding photos. Will your photographer provide a way of sharing your images?

Of course, you may have more questions, and these are intended to just be a starting point, but a a photographer, these are the questions I would (and DID!) ask of a wedding photographer. If you have any other questions or tips, please feel free to leave a comment.

Keep Shooting Photography
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