Having worked for other photographers before we opened our studio, we have been able to see the many pitfalls that bride and groom are facing when hiring their photographer.
Logically they buy based on what they see, without being aware of many factors and possible surprises to be found during wedding day or at album delivery.
We have therefore prepared a series of questions that they should make to all photographers they are considering, to know exactly what they are buying and how to evaluate different offers properly:
Be careful with answers like "we have a very competent team of photographers and either one of them can do your wedding, so we can cover several weddings on the same day", they often mean that the day of the wedding the couple will see someone new, probably an inexperienced photographer, with poor photographic material and often without spare camera, flash or lenses to prevent possible accidents.
Photographers who make several weddings on the same day, always show their best work, but their volume of work doesn’t allow them to deliver truly personalized albums, no matter what they say, and the quality always varies depending on who in their team made the photos and the album. Comparing several different photographers is always good to learn to see the differences in photos and albums.
If the answer is elusive, it means that they are outsourcing the layout. You should know to whom. There are great designers of albums that have a limited clientele of photographers, and there are labs that give the layout for free, in exchange for printing the album, but using templates and with no possibily of changes if you don’t like it.
A safe bet is to hire the photographer who designs his own albums, offering full customization, with all changes necessary to ensure that the album is really what you dreamed of, not what he has decided it to be.
Having more than one photographer shooting the entire wedding is a guarantee of dynamism and greatly enriches the end result, since ecerything is shot with different angles and perspectives. For example, while one of them shoots a wide open view, another focuses on details and emotions.
Be careful with photographers that answer: "Two photographers will go to the wedding, but one will focus on the groups." This means that the photographer's assistant will be there, only to make the pictures that will be on sale at the end of the feast, not to enrich the reportage itself.
Nowadays, all wedding professional photographers concerned about quality, will work with full frame cameras, Nikon or Canon. The difference is huge for dim light shoots, and it’s what we find regularly in churches and restaurants, ...
More important than the camera, are the lenses. The best quality is normally achieved using the same brand for lenses and camera body. Most Nikon/Nikor professional lenses have a golden ring. Red ring for Canon ones. Basically, lenses have to be fast, with maximum apertures of F2.8 or even better F1.4 prime lenses.
Accidents happen, things break down… Do not hire a starting or cheapsake photographer, crazy enough to put your memories at risk. The best option is always have a team of 2 photographers covering the event, or at least a photographer with 2 cameras and spare flash and lenses.
Some photographers don’t say no in order to sell themselves, but will give you pictures in low resolution, watermarked, or a musical DVD that won’t allow to extract individual pictures. Be careful with that!!
With these simple questions, and comparing the work of several photographers, you will have a clearer idea of who is who, and what everyone is really offering.