Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Interview Questions for your Wedding Photographer

What makes the best wedding photographers? The best photographers have these attributes; they have character, they come highly recommended, they are sincere, highly personable, they are perfectionists with attention to detail, have creativity, use state of the art equipment, and have excellent sales skills. When you interview a wedding photographer you should be looking for one that has these attributes.

Your photographer in which you hire for your wedding should fit right in with your family and would make a good guest at your wedding reception. Be careful who you book, don't presume all wedding photographers are good, just don't book anybody. There are many photographers that would love to work your wedding, but some are rude, authoritarian, lazy, distracting, don't take control, sloppy, or unprofessional. A bad one can ruin your wedding day.

Your photographs from your wedding are special keepsakes that will always be very special to you, from a very special moment in your life, the photographs must be close to perfect as best you can and it is the one occasion you can't take chances of using an amateur. The first step before deciding on a wedding photographer is to decide on the type of wedding style you want your pictures to be, you can get ideas from wedding photographers websites, looking at other wedding albums, and possibly stopping by photography studios.

Many wedding photographers have their personal style of taking photos, these styles could include traditional, photojournalist, creative, posed and formal, relaxed, candid, and others. As you meet with photographers you want to be sure their style is right for photos from your wedding. Many wedding photographers start out with a checklist of photos taken at a wedding and may review the list with you. You may have in addition some types of photos you may want to include from your photographer which may be an enlarged special portrait of you or you and your honey to hang on your wall or a candid photo of your bridal party jumping for joy.

Your photos may include pictures at the bride's house getting ready for the wedding, pictures prior to entering the ceremony site, pictures of you in the ceremony ceremony, pictures of the bridal party and family members at a photo shoot location, and pictures at your wedding reception. Before you get specific with what photos you want from your wedding photographer, you need to know what photos that both you and your spouse want and also photos to leave with your families. Do you need enlarged photos, photos for desks and walls for family members, do you need a wedding album for both you and family members from your wedding, smaller photos, engagement photos, photos to be included on wedding invitations, and photos for electronic albums and backups on CD to allow for reprints to be made.

On your meeting with your wedding photographer, he or she will present a number of packages that they offer and what is all included and not included. Remember as you meet with photographers, often photographers are trying to upsell and may try to influence you to buy everything in sight. You may find you need to stick to a budget, if your budget can handle what the photographer can provide that's fine. If your budget is tight and does not fall in exactly a package being offered, list only the pictures you absolutely want, can the photographer do this for you, if not, remember their are plenty of other wedding photographers that might be able to provide with you what you want, until you sign that contract, you have the upper hand.

In capturing photos at a wedding, many photographers usually take on average around 800 photos and in the photos you received back and finished on average expect to get anywhere from 225 to 300 photos back. The photos will go through an imaging process and through some editing procedures which may include cropping, adjusting for redeye, lighting enhancements, and other techniques and finally end up as prints. For every picture taken, the photographer may spend two to three times the amount of time than the photo shoot take, the photographer does a lot of work behind the scenes and even more if they are preparing a wedding albums in addition.

Before booking a wedding photographer you should interview a number of photographers and choose the best and one that is in line with your budget. You want a photographer who is reliable, commands control of the your bridal party and guests, knows the ceremony and reception locations and has checked them out before the day of the wedding. A good photographer educates themselves on your family member structure, knows the wedding schedule, and has backup plans for weather conditions and has backup equipment.

In your meeting with the photographer, some ask that no other photos are taken while they are taking photos, this upsets family members at times. Try to influence the photographer to let him or her shoot photos first and then let family members shoot photos they want. The problem that happens often at weddings, if the photographer takes their pictures at the same time as others, the subjects end up looking in different directions, ruining the photographers photos. Explain the situation to your wedding guests. What happens sometimes at weddings, wedding guests become upset with photographers, because they can't get their own pictures from the wedding. Make it a point, have your photographer inform the wedding guests at each pose, first let me take my photos first and then you can take yours, leaving a nice compromise with your wedding guests leaving them happy.

Interview Questions for your Wedding Photographer
1-Ask for a business card, what is the name, address, phone number, and website if any of the wedding photography studio?
2-What is the photographer's name and phone number and contact information? (email, other)
3-Will the photographer use an assistance to shoot my wedding, if so what is the assistant's name and phone number?
4-Are we sure the photographer will be the one to shoot our wedding? (if someone else, get their name and phone number)
5-Is the photographer or someone else available to work our wedding date? (if no, unless the date can be changed the interview is over)
6-How many years has the photography studio been in operation?
7-How many years has the photographer been shooting weddings?
8-Does the photographer perform weddings full time or part time? (part time maybe alright, depends on high quality photos that they can show you)
9-How many weddings has the photographer shot pictures of?
10-Can you give us your background of being a wedding photographer? what's your education? what's your experience?
11-What would the photographer say is their photography style? traditional? photojournalist? posed and formal? relaxed? candid? other? mixed? can the photographer describe in detail?
12-How would the photographer describe their working style? (conventional, take charge, ready action)
13-Does the wedding photographer feature a specialty in any of their services they offer?
14-Does the photographer have a portfolio we can review? are the photos all taken by you? are the photos obtained by a website? are the photos recently taken?
15-What type of equipment do you use at the wedding? back at the office? (take note of the equipment and check it out and make sure it's state of the art)
16-Does the wedding photographer shoot in digital or film format? (not much of a difference nowadays)
17-Does the wedding photographer have equipment to shoot in 3D? (3D cameras recently hit the market)
18-Does the wedding photographer shoot in color? black and white? infrared?
19-Is the wedding photographer capable of producing a slide show of us growing up? if yes, what type of equipment do you have? how would it work?
20-How far in advance of the wedding do we need to book the wedding?
21-What information will you need from us before the wedding day?
22-When would we meet to finalize a list of photos that should be taken? where should we meet?
23-Does the wedding photographer have backup equipment should any equipment fail?
24-What would be a backup plan if the wedding photographer could not shoot our wedding in the event of sickness or a reason other?
25-If you use an assistance, what duties does your assistant perform?
26-Do use special lighting when you take the photos? what equipment would you use?
27-If the wedding plan is out of the area, does the wedding photographer charge a travel fee? how much?
28-Might the wedding photographer have other events the day of our wedding?
29-What type of outfits will the photographer and assistant(s) be dressed in? (better be professionally dressed)
30-Is it okay for others to take pictures after the photographer at each pose? (stress the bride or someone other will inform and instruct family members and wedding guests to not take photos the same time as the wedding photographer, take them after, try to get the photographer to agree to this)
31-Has the photographer ever worked our ceremony site or reception facility before? does the photographer plan to check out the venues, days before the wedding?
32-What time will you arrive at each of the sites? how long will you work the reception?
33-If the event lasts longer than expected, will you stay? is there an additional charge?
34-What would be contingency plans if inclement weather should happen the day of our wedding?
35-What print options does the wedding photography offer? enlarged prints? prints for albums? prints for desktops or walls? engagements photos? prints for wedding invitations? wallet size prints? proofs? photos on CD so we can make reprints? photos made available for a computer photo album? other prints?
36-How long after our wedding will I get to see the proofs? will they be viewable online? will they be on a CD?
37-Does the wedding photographer apply copyright protection on prints? how long does the photographer keep prints?
38-What photography packages does the wedding photographer offer? what do each of the photography packages include?
39-Can we customize a photography package based on our needs?
40-What type of album designs do you offer? do any assistants help you with the album?
41-What is the price of the different album designs?
42-What does your editing process entail? cropping? red eye? light enhancing? other?
43-Do you provide retouching? color adjustments? other correctional services?
44-What is the ordering process for the prints?
45-How long after the wedding should the photos be available? the albums be available?
46-Can we get the negatives or digital images and is there a fee for that?
47-Does your studio have available a photo booth? if we ask could you get your hands on a photo booth? what would be the charge of a photo booth? could the studio provide props for guests to take pictures or would we need to find props ourselves?
48-What is the total cost of everything we ask? can you break down all costs that are included?
49-How much of a deposit is required? when is final payment due?
50-What is the refund/cancellation policy?
51-Does your studio carry liability insurance?
52-What is the pricing of your different photography packages? do you offer a payment plan?
53-Can I take a copy of the contract with me for us to review before signing? (important tip - don't ever book a photographer or any vendor for a wedding who won't provide a written contract)
54-When would the contract need to be signed by to insure coverage for our wedding date?
55-What forms of payment do you take? (credit cards, debit cards, certified checks, cash, Paypal, other)
56-Can we get 3 referrals from prior weddings that you shot photos at? (contact at least 2)

Things to look out for, do you find yourselves comfortable and a connection with this wedding photographer? Are you comfortable with their personality and is someone who should work well with your bridal party and your wedding guests. Do you like this photographer's style, the photographer has listened well and has addressed all your concerns, does the photographer able to handle our budget and takes charge in a nice way and can accommodate family and wedding guests getting their pictures in too and would we be happy with the photos we can choose without severe restrictions. Is your photographer someone you won't worry about on your wedding day?

Remember these questions are a starting point, every situation is different, make adjustments to the questions as you see fit, you might leave a space for all questions so you can put answers right on the question sheet you should make.

Make sure you use a great wedding photographer!

See you on the other side!

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