I have been asked many questions from perspective clients. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as this is a big investment. Yes, you read that correctly. This is an investment. You are getting something for your money and it is something you will cherish for years to come.
On top of the usual, ‘How much and how long’ questions you could ask a few of these to gain a comfort level. Remember it is all about trust.
- How long have you been doing this?
For this question you if you get an answer such as ‘We have a combined 20 years of experience behind us’. That usually mean they are totaling up the experience of all of their photographers together. So if there are 4 of them, and they all have the same amount of time in, it translates to, each has been doing photography for 5 years. It is a way to inflate their years of experience and make it look like they have been doing this for many years. The impression is, they have been doing this for a long time so they must be good at it. This is not a good representation of their practical experience.
Don’t discount the new kids on the block. You could have someone relatively new to the wedding photography business and they could be excellent photographers and you could have someone who has been doing it for 20 years and is ‘meh’. They take nice pictures but there is no WOW factor. Both seasoned and new photographers will bring something different to the table.
- How will you protect my pictures while you work them in post processing?
You want to know if your pictures are safe. As an example I have an off-site backup provider (Back Blaze) that all of my images are backed up to. When I get home from a shoot, I transfer the images to one of our laptops (whoever is working the wedding pictures post shoot gets them). I also put a copy on an in house NAS. Both the NAS and all of the laptops are backed up continuously to Back Blaze meaning as files are changed or added they start the backup process.
I also have the camera memory cards locked in card case that is water tight, fire resistant and drop/run over with a truck safe. Once images are backed up off site I will clean the cards of for the next use. This gives me the working set (ones I will work on), a copy of the originals on the NAS and the off site (backed up) set from the NAS and the laptop. That is 4 copies of your pictures if you did the math.
- Ask about any discounts they may be offering or any specials they are running. Like my mom says, theres nothing wrong with using coupons!
Everything is negotiable. Ask if they are giving any discounts. A lot of outfits will give a military discount or service personnel discount. We offer a discount to people that service the community or are in or were in the military. If they won’t budge on price then ask if they are willing to toss in a few hour engagement shoot or a trash the dress shoot (if you are interested in that). I have yet to have a ‘trash the dress’ shoot but would love to do one (hint-hint). Remember they want to sell you their services and most photographers will negotiate to ‘seal the deal’ but on the flip side, they need to eat too so don’t go hog wild. Just as you have the ability to walk away from the table, so do they.
- Ask them if they have done an event at your venue.
If they have, they should bring a copy of that shoot with them and if they haven’t then they should bring something similar.
You could ask things about what software do you use to edit them if you are a geek and want to know. I have been asked what camera equipment do I use. This is a bit irrelevant in today day and age as there are ‘professional’ cameras, consumer cameras and what is also dubbed Pro-Sumer cameras. They are better than consumer end but not as good as professional.
The biggest difference is CCD size and speed of the camera. All of these cameras take great pictures and CCD size has become less of an issue as the APC size sensors vs full frame are comparable now in resolution depth. The biggest difference between the two sizes is aspect ratio and speed. If you are photographing sporting events then you want a pretty fast camer. Weddings do not need that. Don’t get hung up on making sure your photographer has the latest and greatest as I know some people that have really high end cameras and have no clue how to use them and others that can take fantastic pictures with their cell phones.
Its the photographer behind the camera that matters.