So what questions to ask your photographer? We have had clients ask us things like; “What camera do you use? What lenses do you use? What lighting set up can I expect, what is the brand of equipment you use? Why is your shooting style?”
How does the brand of equipment impact the photographers results, who asked you to pose these questions, do you really understand lighting setups? Surely you have looked at the photographers portfolio, which is usually found in their gallery page or similar on their website? These are probably not the right questions to ask of a photographer, this said you should however ask many questions, so I am going to list a few questions you should ask, please note this is far from a definitive list:
AN IDEA OF WHAT QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD BE ASKING
Are the photo’s I see on your website and social media similar to what you are going to be presenting to me?
This is a great question to ask, we have heard of photographers using stock images (images that you purchase from other photographers) on their sites, this could be because the photographer has employed someone to build their site and not provided images.
What type of lighting are you going to use?
As photographers we just love our jargon, softboxes, TTL, triggers, speedlights, studio lights, but would this really mean anything to you?
No if you are having your wedding images taken this is a great question to ask because many weddings will have large portions of the photography shot outside, what would the photographer do if they had to shoot indoors because of a Highveld thunderstorm?
Your photographer may only be using one flash, a capable photographer should probably know how to use several, indecently they will probably use a speedlight or similar on location, but you should have at this time had a look at their gallery and you should be happy with their photography before you have even met with them.
If a photographer says they only shoot natural light, it could mean that they do not know how to use artificial lights, if they were shooting outdoors or in a dark room, this could pose a problem.
How long will it take until I get to see my photos?
With us, except for weddings, you will get to see your images straight after the shoot. Some photographers like to choose what they think are the best to show you. Essentially it depends on the photographer.
Do you edit your photos and who does the editing?
What does editing actually mean, do you understand the process? I am going to refer you back to our website for this section:
Some photographers outsource their editing, now don’t get me wrong there are some companies that to an excellent job of editing, but then again there are some that do a very so, so job. Make sure that you know from the start who will be editing your images.
Are you a full-time photographer, is this your actual business?
There are weekend warriors that do not do photography fulltime, this does not mean some of these photographers are not great, in fact some are really good, but you want to ensure that 100% attention is going to be given to your images, if they are not doing this fulltime you do not want other work commitments getting in the way of your final product. This said again, you can usually see the quality of a photographers work through their website, even if they were a weekend warrior their website should show care and dedication, you will usually receive a similar product, just ask them if those images represent what they will receive.
Why do you do photography?
You probably do not need to ask this question as the goal to it would be to determine if they are enthusiastic or hate their job, if they love their job you will pick up on that very quickly.
Do you have an agreement or a contract?
If the photographer tells you no, it may be best to seek someone else out. Contracts protect the both of you, we have heard far too many horror stories, your contract will lay out exactly what you can expect and what you get with your shoots.
What are your delivery dates of the final products?
This is going to vary from photographer to photographer, it could also depend on their workload. Our is roughly 14-21 working says just to give you an idea as what to expect.
This would have been an important question to ask prior to the internet, nowadays you will probably see the photographers portfolio on their website and other social media sites before you even meet with them, their images are what probably attracted you right from the start.
How much time do I need for my photo’s?
With Wedding Photography it would depend on how many family members there will be and how many locations you would like to visit. This will vary from photographer to photographer, but it is important when you are planning your wedding how many you will visit.
With our packages you will get to choose the time as part of your package.
How do I pose, are you able to assist me?
Posing is an essential part of your photographic experience and your photographer should know exactly how to pose you and offer assistance throughout your shoot.
We will assist you with your posing on all of our shoots.
Will you give me the RAW files?
The majority of professional photographers would never dream of giving their RAW files, these are essentially unfinished products. Please review exactly what a RAW file is on our website.
How many images will I receive?
This is such a difficult question to answer; many photographers will stipulate an amount within their packages. Remember the most important thing when asking this question is to consider quality over quantity.
When do I pay you?
Each photographer has a different policy, you would usually pay before the photographer starts any shooting. If you order additional products, many photographers will require payment once you have placed your order, almost like when you order something off Amazon.com or any other online shopping portal.
What is your cancellation policy?
Each photographer will have a similar, if not different cancellation policy, it is important to review this as part of your contract.
What packages and prices do you have and can I customize them?
Many photographers will not publish their prices, I never truly understand why, but that is their prerogative. It may be to have a meeting with you first and to get you comfortable with them, each to their own. We feel that if you like our work you will make an investment into our products and yes of course you can customise any package.
Can I give you a list of photographs that I want?
Most professional photographers at a Wedding will know what to shoot so always be respectful of the photographer as a professional, they are the artists and you have seen their work, let them do their magic.
For portfolio work you may have seen something on Pinterest or Instagram. You can create a “mood” board and bring it to the photographer and they will adapt the image to your looks, ability and personality, it may not be the same as they will add their artistic flair to it.
What happens if either party are sick?
Take me to the doctor! On a serious note most photographers will make a plan, we all need a backup plan eventually in life. Most photographers will cover this in your contract, another reason contracts are so important.
In essence do your homework, if it is your wedding, you do not want to be dissapointed, a photographers portfolio is going to give you a very good idea as to what type of images you are going to get at the end of the day.
Do your research spend time going through different photographers portfolios and choose a style that you can relate to, you will soon see what I mean by looking at different photographers work. More importantly if it is a big event, meet with the photographer before hand to ensure that the two of you will gel on the day. I would also recommend reading through their testimonials on the social media pages as well as within their website.
“A stunning person, very talented, great to work with and very beautiful work always done….that will take your breath-away!! Pro tog and down to earth personality, what an honour to have worked with him and will gladly anyday.”
You control the destiny of your special day, be it a portrait shoot, family occassion or something even more intimate like a wedding. Do your research, look at the photographers portfolio, meet with them to see if you have that ‘connection’ and start building that circle of trust.