How to choose a wedding photographer and the questions to ask them!

You’re in the planning stages of your wedding, and it’s finally time to decide which wedding photographer to hire. It’s important to find a good wedding photographer that can accomplish the images you envision for your wedding day, and someone who you mesh well with and feel comfortable with .

Personality, Charisma & Disposition.

Being able to connect or “click” with your wedding photographer is one of the most important things. Your wedding photographer will be there your entire wedding day, documenting one of the most important days of your entire life. It’s important that you get along well with this person and that they have an understanding of your needs, and what you want from your wedding photos. This doesn’t mean they have to do a lot of talking, it simply means that they are friendly, courteous, and willing to accommodate whenever they can. It’s more important that they listen to and relate to your wedding plan. If they seem as excited as you are about your wedding, and are enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with you, that’s usually a good sign.

Quality.

When meeting with a photographer, it’s important to inspect the quality of their work. Are the photos in focus and sharp? Is the color correct? Do the skin tones look natural, or are they orange, red or blue? Is the composition and crop of the photos good? Do they shoot with professional equipment? These are all things you should consider.

Style and Method.

It’s important to find a wedding photographer that has a style you appreciate. Many photographers have different styles of composition and editing. Some wedding photographers tend to favor black and white images over color images. Some tend to go easy on the editing or do no editing at all; some create skilled works of art on select images; some tend to intensely over-edit every image. Some wedding photographers go for a more formal approach to their photography; some favor the photojournalistic/documentary style of photography. Do they have a variety of different images, or are the shots the same at every wedding with different faces? Browsing through a wedding photographer’s portfolio and viewing their sample albums are a great way to get an idea of their style, as they tend to apply the same signature style to most weddings they shoot.

Experience.

If you want quality wedding photos, it’s important to hire a wedding photographer that has experience. Experienced wedding photographers will know how to pose people correctly for the formal photos, they will know how to tackle difficult lighting situations, they understand the flow of the day and know how to compensate for any problems that might arise, and they know when the special moments happen to capture them efficiently. When it comes to wedding photographers, you get what you pay for. If you want professional, high-quality images, it’s best to stick with a professional with experience, rather than choose someone who is just starting out and only has budget-level equipment. Everyone does have to start somewhere, but weddings are not the place to practice. It’s not a photo shoot that can be re-shot later on,  if the photographer misses or fouls up the shot.

 

Questions to ask a potential wedding photographer before hiring them:

  1. How many photographers do we get with our wedding package, and who are they? (Most brides prefer more than one photographer to document the day. Two photographers can be better than one at documenting your day and capturing a variety of unique visions and styles. You will also have the opportunity to get preparation images of both the Bride and Groom at the same time. Solas Studios always provides two wedding photographers – Colleen & Greg, the owners.)
  2. How many wedding images will I receive? (Be wary of wedding photographers that only offer 100-400 images and make you pay extra to receive the rest. Solas Studios typically provides between 800-1600 fully edited images to you depending on the length and speed of your wedding day.)
  3. Do you edit every image? (Don’t do yourself the disservice of selecting a “shoot and burn” wedding photographer that only either edits a few images and leaves the rest unedited, or doesn’t edit at all. You’re paying hard-earned money for your wedding images, and you deserve them to look great! Solas Studios edits every single image to at least make sure the images are sharp and the color is correct, and we provide further artistic editing on average of about 50% of the total images.)
  4. Do you shoot in RAW or Jpeg? (Avoid wedding photographers that only shoot in Jpeg to save space on their camera cards. The RAW format provides a higher quality file for the photographer to edit from, with a much broader range of image adjustments that can be made. It also allows the images to be edited faster and more efficiently. Solas Studios always shoots in RAW.)
  5. Do you carry insurance?(Insurance is a no-brainer for any business to have, and be wary about choosing a wedding photographer that is not insured. Solas Studios is fully insured with general liability, equipment, and malpractice through the Professional Photographers of America.)
  6. How long after the wedding does it take for us to receive our images?(Make sure you have a clear understanding from your photographer how long it takes to receive your images. Avoid wedding photographers that promise to have your images completely ready only a few days or a week after your wedding. If they are properly editing your photos and have taken enough photos to properly document your entire wedding day, it should take an absolute minimum of 3-6 weeks for an average wedding. On the flip side, be careful about booking wedding photographers that take 16-20 weeks or even more to have your images ready. They may have too many weddings booked to give your photos the proper attention they deserve, which may account for the delay. Here at Solas Studios we aim to have your wedding images completed and to you between 6-10 weeks after your wedding depending on how busy the wedding season is, how many photos are being processed, and how much editing is required.
  7. Do we own all rights to our images? Can we print them ourselves or do we have to buy prints through you? (Make sure you have a clear understanding with your wedding photographer with what you can do with your images once you receive them. US Copyright law states that the images belong to the photographer that creates the images and they will always hold the copyright unless it’s legally transferred to another owner; therefore it’s up to the wedding photographer to decide what you can do with them. Some wedding photographers may not allow you to make your own prints and may insist that you buy prints directly through them. Other photographers may not want the hassle of creating professional prints and may leave the burden to you. Solas Studios includes with the base package a print-released DVD of all high-resolution images, meaning you can make unlimited prints for yourself. We also provide printing as well, so you can proudly display your cherished images in your home. For utmost professional quality, we do recommend that any enlargements are ordered directly through us.)
  8. Do you have backup equipment? (Things can and do go wrong. Equipment can fail or get lost. Make sure you hire a photographer that has ample backup equipment available. Solas Studios has an additional supply of backup equipment to accompany them on your wedding day, and we also backup your images immediately after the wedding in several locations to prevent loss.)
  9. Have you worked at my wedding venue before, or are you willing to meet me there to scout out good locations at the venue or discuss ideas? (Preferably, it’s a good idea to find a wedding photographer that has shot at your venue before, but it may not always be possible. Photographers that have will have firsthand knowledge of the staff, rules and regulations, where the best spots are and what lighting to use. Solas Studios has shot weddings at many different locations around the entire CNY and Finger Lakes region. If we haven’t shot a wedding at your venue before, we are always willing to meet you there a few months or weeks before the wedding to discuss what will work best for your wedding day.)
  10. What kind of equipment do you use? (If you are not photography savvy you may not be able to tell the difference between all the gear the photographer lists off to you – but make sure that the photographer seems confident in their equipment and that they appear to have a variety of equipment to cover everything. Most professional photographers shoot with high-end Canon cameras such as the 1D series, the 5D series, or the 7D series. Others shoot with high end Nikon cameras such as the D4, D3X. D800, or the D700. Even more important than the cameras they use are the lenses. Look for a wide variety of Canon “L” glass professional lenses or Nikon “N” series, be wary of photographers that only use one lens. Some have preferences, just like anything else, but they should be comfortable using the appropriate lenses required to achieve professional images. Also make sure the photographer has at least a couple external flashes, and a good supply of camera cards. Most weddings today will require at least 8gb of space for just one photographer, at bare minimum. A good photographer should have enough card space to take unlimited photos at your wedding, without having to delete them or finish before the end of your day. Solas Studios generally carries cards equaling the space of 100gb or more at each wedding.)
  11. What happens if it rains on our wedding day? (Unfortunately, if your wedding, or any portion of it includes time spent outdoors, you are vulnerable to Mother Nature. It’s good to know if your photographer is willing to expose themselves and their equipment to the elements. Some will not agree to a shoot in a torrential down-pour, but would be happy to continue shooting during a sprinkle or drizzle. If there is a second photographer, or assistant to accompany them, it may be possible for them to help protect them with an umbrella. Or perhaps a guest would volunteer to do so, if they are a single shooter. Colleen + Greg have on a few occasions had to contend with a little precipitation, and do not mind doing so as long as the couple is okay with it. If your wedding day is a complete wash out, inquire about scheduling a “Rock the Dress” session following the wedding. Maybe you didn’t get the Bride + Groom shots you wanted because of heavy rain, but a shoot on another day can get you some beautiful portraits, in the clothing you so carefully picked out for your special day.
  12. What about an Engagement or E-Session? (Most wedding photographers happily offer these sessions for a variety of reasons. First of all, you will have beautiful photos to display on your Save-the-Date cards, and at your wedding. If you have created a wedding website to keep your family and friends abreast of your planning and progress, they can be displayed there as well. Secondly, it provides the photographer and the couple a very valuable opportunity to work with together, BEFORE the wedding. Being able to “try them out” before the wedding. This way they can offer suggestions on how to pose comfortably, so you look great in your photos. They will gauge how much direction you may or may not need for the big day. And for the couple, it will give them a chance to become comfortable with the photographer and their camera. Most couples have some level of anxiety with having custom photography done. This really will help reduce that anxiety. Solas Studios provides a complimentary E-Session with each of our all-inclusive Collections, and they are also available for purchase with our À la carte packages as well.)

 

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