Top 10 Questions to ask before Hiring a Photographer

June 09, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Whether it's for your wedding or family portraits, these are my top 10 suggested questions you should ask any photographer you are looking to hire so you can learn more about them and to get comfortable with what may be your new best friend.  If you can't enjoy your photographer for the little time you are interviewing them then how can you be comfortable with them for your entire wedding day?

  1. Are you insured?  If the answer is yes then ask as many questions you like to start building a rapport to increase your comfort level with the photographer.  If the answer is no then you should consider the interview over.  Move onto the next photographer!  The reason is simple.  What if someone gets hurt or equipment is damaged?  Who's going to pay?  Now a days most wedding venues require to see the certificate of insurance for all the vendors you want to bring to the venue before your wedding day.  So make sure everyone you hire for your wedding has insurance.  It's your best form of protection.
  2. How much do you cost?  And when can I expect to see my images?  If their starting rate is way over your entire photographer and photo budget then there is no need to go any further here either.  But if they quote you a price that is an unbelievable bargain, be sure to get all the details of what it includes.  As for time, most family photos can be turned around within 2-3 days after the session.  This allows time for the photographer to apply certain edits so the photographer can express their style.  Weddings and other events may take a bit longer.  Some wedding photos may take 6-8 weeks which is not unheard of.  I have a grand reveal to show off their gallery of images to the bride and groom and their families onto a large screen.
  3. What is your refund or cancellation policy?  Like any family, they have lives.  Some more hectic than others.  Rescheduling your photo session is not unheard of.  Sometimes rescheduling is due to weather or something out of everyone's control.  But for Wedding, bar mitzvahs, quinces, and other events, cancellations are usually described in the contract, see point 8.
  4. Can you provide references?  If they've been in business for any length of time then they should have many people you can call and ask them questions like, "What made you decide to hire this photographer?" or "Did the photographer give you photos that met your expectations?"
  5. What's your background and credentials?  Just like if you were being interviewed for a job you want, they'll want to know what makes you qualified? Don't be shy to ask your photographer questions like, "How many wedding's have you shot?" or "How long have you been in business?"  Get them to start taking about themselves and their style of photography.
  6. What's your photographic style?  This should also be relevant in their portfolio.  Look at the photos so see if you can place yourself in that image. If the photographer only shoots in black and white then that might not meet your style or needs from what you want in your images.
  7. Do you have a backup photographer?  Backup Equipment?  Most wedding photographers have a second shooter that can quickly fill in as the primary photographer.  They'll also have multiple cameras and lenses so they can switch between cameras to get that wide panoramic landscape photo then switch to the zoom to get the details and the candids.  The multiple cameras are also in case one fails.  With any electronics, it's not a matter "IF" it fails but more so "WHEN".
  8. Do you require a signed contract?  I don't require families to sign a contract when getting their family portraits by me.  However, weddings, quinces, bar mitzvahs or any other events, I require a contract and a large percentage of the cost in order to "save the date".  This contract not only protects the photographer but it lets all parties know what to expect.  All the details from the date, venue address, contact info, etc, will be listed on this contract so there will be no confusion.  Sometimes I list specific times like when the first look photos should be taken or when the sunset photos should be taken.  If there are any delays and they don't get their sunset photo, it's in the contract that it should have been taken at this time.  And heaven forbid the bride or groom calls off the wedding.  If that happens I usually refund a portion of the deposit depending if I refused work for their wedding.
  9. What information do you need from me before the photo session or my wedding day?  For weddings I usually have my brides fill out a shot list.  It's the most common types of photos expected like the bridal party, the rings, the bouquet, family groupings, etc.  Just like you would give a DJ a list of songs, I have a list of shots I need to take during your wedding.  This is a check list for the photographer to make sure no items or people are left out.  For family portraits I ask the families how many people, their names and their ages.  This is so helpful so I can start working on groupings for the poses and settings.
  10. Question Number 10 is more about asking yourself, "Did this photographer address all my needs and concerns and are our personalities a good match."  Be yourself but don't shy away from the tough questions.  Let your personality come through the interview and see how the photographer reacts  to you.  Once you qualify the photographer right for you, your photo experience will only be that much better!

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Located in West Tamarac, my studio can accommodate small families for group and individual portraits.  If you prefer the park or beach, I have several locations I can recommend based on what kind of scenery you like.

Be sure to check the weather before booking an outdoor photo session.  Depending on the forecast we may have to reschedule your shoot due to weather.

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