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Wedding Photographers, what you should Ask & Know!

Updated on July 9, 2014

The Photographer

Hi there, my name is Joshua McDonald & I am a Full Time Colorado Wedding Photographer who lives in Fort Collins.

Here is my work: Joshua McDonald

I felt the need to educate you brides and grooms on things you should know about your Photographer before choosing to hire them. This decision is one of the most important decisions that you will be making for your wedding.

Why?

A photograph isn't just a photograph, it's your memories, and those memories need to be taken care of properly.

I am going to go over pieces of information that will save you from choosing the wrong photographer and ensuring you choose the right one.

Engagement in Denver Colorado
Engagement in Denver Colorado | Source

What I will be Covering

I will go over key items such as but not exactly in this order:

  • Experience
  • Equipment
  • Reviews
  • Quality
  • Delivery Time
  • Images received
  • Print Rights
  • Full-Time VS Part-Time
  • And more!

Full Time VS Part Time

I wanted to bring this to your attention because I typically will get asked this very question the day of the wedding I have been hired for by the Bride or Groom who hired me.

"So what else do you do besides Photography for a living?"

It seems like such a simple question, but because of it, I have started to tell everyone without being asked that I do this Full Time.

This is important because:

A Full Time Photographer is good enough to make a living from what they do and don't have anything to fall back on if they fail.

  • They have the money invested, so if they fail, it could mean their business
  • They have more experience
  • They only breathe Photography
  • You will have more of their dedication and attention
  • They must be good enough to make a living from it
  • Image delivery is most likely faster because they aren't working another job
  • More flexibility
  • Etc...

A Part Time Photographer isn't good to hire for your wedding because they aren't going to fit the bill of most the above. There are circumstances, where of course, the photographer could just do this once in a while because they are retired.

In my opinion, it's your wedding day, please don't hire a part time photographer and be sure to ask. If they say Part Time, perhaps you should look elsewhere. But if you love their work, as for lots of images to be sure!

Cheaper Is Not Always Better

When hiring a Wedding Photographer for your big day, we can become very budget conscious, suddenly hundreds if not thousands of dollars are falling out of your pockets and you want to hold onto as much as you can.

In my opinion, a Photographer, is a place where it's a safe place to splurge on.

Out of everything that happens in your wedding day, there are only so many things you will walk away with and have for years to come.

Photographs being the top of that list. So let's say you have to pay a photographer, $5000. You and your wife/husband end up being married for 50 years. That's $100 a year that it cost you to have the most memorable and cherished pictures of one of the biggest decisions you ever made!

So, don't think budget photographer, because you lose a lot of everything.

There are several types of Budget photographers, ones that are wanting to make a name for themselves, part timers, amateurs, students, and they just can't get business because they're not that good without charging a very low rate.

So, if your'e looking at a budget photographer, pay close attention to this article because all of these things will apply. And obviously they will also apply to how to know you're spending too much!

Equipment

So, if you're like most Brides & Grooms I meet, you probably don't know a ton about Camera Equipment.

So I'll give you easy questions to ask -

  • Do you shoot with a full frame or crop frame camera? (Full Frame is what you want, do not accept crop frame)
  • How expensive are your lens's (If they answer really expensive, ask them to email you a list of their lens's and google each one for their price, if they are all over $1000, then they're probably shooting with the right type of glass)
  • Do you have a flash? (Needs to be yes, don't want to be in a dark situation and they can't get the shot)
  • Do you use Photoshop or Lightroom to edit? (I'm going to say, this has to be a yes, I don't know any pro's that don't)
  • Are you a Prime Lens Photographer or a Zoom Lens Photographer? (I always say Prime Lens shooters are better because the backgrounds in your photographs can and will be more creamy/blurry, we call this Bokeh) If they're a mix that's good as well.

Experience

This, is an easy one.

Ask them about their experience, how many weddings have they photographed, difficult situations they've encountered (so you can know for your wedding), do they have references or reviews for you to check out!

Don't just take their word on everything, be sure to research, that's why reviews are so helpful!

Photography is a very competitive game in the Wedding Industry. I have over 16,000 photographers in a 100 mile radius from where I live. Finding the edge is important, but sometimes, there are those who choose the unethical edge as the route to take.

Image Delivery

I myself will edit and mail out the photographs within 3-5 business days after the wedding. This is very very quick, so please don't compare other photographers to this. I just love everything about Photography, so Editing is just a good ol day of fun to me.

There are 3 things you need to know about Image delivery:

  • How long will it take for us to get our images after the wedding? (Most people do 2 months max, others don't have a time limit, if it's not in the contract, make sure you have them put they will guarantee the images back to you under 6 week timeframe)
  • Will we receive print rights? (This allows you the ability to print the photos anywhere you want, this is a must have in our digital age!)
  • How many images on average will we get for "so n so" hours? (Me personally, I will give my clients as many images as I view as important or valuable, on average it's around 400 images, no complaints here!) (some photographers will take your photos, guarantee you 75 images, and then you have to pay for more, others will give you the negatives and make you choose 30 of your favorite wedding images and then you have to pay for any additional, this is where it gets even more expensive!)

Contract

If they don't have a contract but you love their work, get a contract! This doesn't just protect the photographer, this protects you!! If you don't have a contract and you pay them, but they don't deliver...

"If a tree falls in the woods and no one was there to see it..."

It didn't happen right?! So get everything in a contract, one that covers

  • Image Delivery
  • Liability
  • Cancellation
  • In case of Emergency
  • Cost of services
  • What services you're getting for from that cost

Always Important!!

Quality

Of course, there is Quality as well.

Quality is all about the equipment, the editing, and their knowledge! This is where their worth is a reflection of their skills.

So, be sure you fall in love with their style, their personality, their character and their images. Because photography should be an extension of their soul. It's art! It's art made especially for you! And you should always get what you like the most!

In Conclusion

Like the old saying goes. You get what you pay for! So be sure to properly vet your photographer. In 10,20,50 years you will thank yourself.

I promise the highest quality to all of my clients, the highest respect for their day, I promise fun & energy, I promise that I will do everything I can to make sure their day is captured correctly.

Shouldn't someone make that promise to you for your day?

Personality!

Last but not least, you should figure out if you actually like this Photographers personality!

You need to be comfortable around each other, be able to relax, laugh, and enjoy yourself with this person. They are going to be around you an entire day, and are not going to disappear until after the wedding.

You want someone who's creative, fun, easy, directing, polite, respectful, and loves what they do.

That right there is a healthy and lethal combination for success in this industry!

In Conclusion

There is definitely a lot more to finding a photographer then these things; however, this will definitely help you level the playing ground to who you should be hiring and weeding out the ones you definitely should not!

I hope you enjoyed this blog, I will be posting more aimed towards Weddings from a Photographers perspective! Follow me, if you want to learn more!

Evergreen Colorado Wedding
Evergreen Colorado Wedding | Source

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