Q&A

Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Your Photographer
Q: How would you describe your style?
This is really the first thing that should grab you when you go to a photographer's website or view their pictures. Do you see yourself in them? Do you get the feeling of the emotion and connection with the people in the picture. I always love looking at other photographer's work when I don't even know the couple and yet I just feel as though I was able to connect with them from just looking at the photo. As far as style goes there are a lot of different angles on this. Posed traditional photography definitely has it's place, as well as photojournalistic (capturing moments without intrusion) type styles. I find that my style is really a combination of both. I do shoot formals, but one of my favorite types of shots is being able to shoot with my 70-200 from across the room and getting a reaction from someone at just the right moment.
Q: Do you have backup equipment and what kind of equipment do you use?
This is not going to be a Canon vs. Nikon battle. We are not talking about the kind of equipment as in brand. We're talking about quality and lens speed. The first thing is that you do need quality lenses to shoot a wedding. This is not the kit lens that came with a camera. Most churches will tell you that you are not allowed to use flash during the ceremony. So at that point you will need a lens that can shoot in the f1.2-f2.8 range. This is not always the case, but most churches are not filled with glorious light other than God himself. So as a result you will be left with blurry, orangy, and dark pictures. Most of these lenses are in the $1000-2000 range. I usually shoot with the Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS, the 28-70 f2.8, the 85 f1.2L, 35 f1.4L and the 24 f1.4L or 135 f2L.

 

As far as backup equipment goes, we would suggest a minimum of two cameras. If a photographer only brings one camera body to a wedding they are just setting themselves up for failure. For that matter if they are only bringing one of anything to a wedding that is the case. There is not enough time to go to the store to get another one. This is not a high school senior shoot that you can reschedule. This is going to happen on that day whether you are prepared or not. So the day of the wedding we usually bring five bodies. Susan will shoot with one, so that leaves me with two and another one for anything else such as remote camera setups or something like that. This is the same with flashes and lenses. The last thing you want on your wedding day is for your photographer to have to ask to borrow a guest's camera to finish the day.

Q: What do you wear to the wedding?
This one is different for everybody. We have heard some stories about wedding photographers showing up in jeans, short skirts, or even loud print hawaiian shirts. This is totally unacceptable on any level. Some photographers go with more of a fashion look, but in my mind I am not there to impress anyone with my style of clothing. I usually dress in all black. I do this for a couple of reasons. I do this because black is less distracting and doesn't draw attention to me. The other reason that is that black doesn't show dirt. There are times that I shoot from the ground, so laying down on the cement, grass, or whatever is not going to show up. This also allows me to be inconspicuous when it comes to shooting. If I am in all black there is less of a chance of you seeing me and changing your expression because you know I am about to take a picture of you. Watch and see how this happens. As soon as people see a camera they change.
Q: Should the wedding day last longer than the contracted hours will you stay later?
Yes. This is also something that you don't want to have happen to you on your wedding day. We always check with the bride and groom before leaving to make sure that we have everything covered that we wanted on that day. There is an additional fee to extend the coverage, but this is always available.
Q: Will my images be color corrected or are they straight out of the camera when you deliver them to me?
There are some photographers who have a simple shoot and burn philosophy, so what you get is basically the files straight out of the camera to a disc. They might give you 1500 images or whateve huge number, but honestly after going through that many shots how many of them are going to be worth keeping or printing for that matter? The other problem is editing. Most people do not realize the time that it takes to color correct and process images. So having all these files might seem inviting and may come with a small price tag, but there is a reason that it is that price. Shooting and burning means much less time and less quality as well. We usually shoot about 1500 images on the wedding day and deliver about 400-600 final images in your online gallery. This makes it easier on you to select your favorites. They are also adjusted for brightness, contrast and color corrected as well. We want your pictures to stand the test of time. So the fact that some photographers pictures are heavy on the Photoshop color and processing, it might sting a little bit in the future when you look back at your photos and that isn't the "IN" thing anymore. We come from the simple and elegant (less is best) school of thought.
Q: How many times have you worked as a wedding photographer?
This is something that you need to ask in a specific way. If you ask how many years they have been in business this opens the door to mislead. If they have been a wedding photographer for three or four years shooting three or four weddings a year that means they have shot about 15 weddings total. This isn't a bad number, but honestly this is really not a lot of experience. Over the last ten years we have shot over a hundred weddings. I have been a photographer for 30 years and a professional photojournalist for 15 of thos years. Shooting a lot of weddings doesn't make one a great photographer either, but it definitely helps in knowing the flow of the day and what to watch out for during the day. The experience of shooting weddings cannot be duplicated any other way. Workshops and conferences are great, but it is a different scenario when you start using real people with real situations that can sometimes get a little crazy.
Q: Does your personality match up well with the bride and groom?
This is something that is important on both sides. I have to say that we have worked with some of the nicest people on their wedding day. We have also found that the bride and groom need to realize that when they are booking their wedding photographer that this person will be with them most of the day. Is the photographer going to be there when needed or are they going to have to be hunted down for questions. Do they play well with others. This is something that I have found that this is not my day. This is the bride and grooms day. So no matter how important I think that photography is I don't want to jeopardize someone else's sevice at my expense. The way your photography works with your bridal party is also very important. Can the photographers perform under pressure or are they going to start barking orders to your friends when they aren't paying attention? So much of this goes back to word of mouth advertising. This is not usually something you can find out unless you know a past bride from you photographer, so if possible talk to someone who has used them before and see if they were helpful and great to be around all day, or if they were ready to run the other way whenever they saw them coming.
Q: Can you help me find other vendors in the wedding industry to plan my day?
This is one thing that we love being able to do and that is to send our brides to great vendors from the DJ, the florist, the wedding planner, the cakes, and even down to the decorating. The wedding day for us goes so much smoother when we know that all of the other vendors that are being used are going to do a great job for our bride and groom. We are always happy to share these with you even if you are not booking us for your wedding photography.
Q: Why should I hire a professional photographer instead of getting my friend/brother/cousin to take pictures?
Your wedding will probably be the most important and most memorable day of your life. After you've eaten the food, toasted with the drinks, danced to the band or DJ, and have enjoyed this day you spent so much time and energy planning for, the only thing you'll have left to show for it will be your wedding dress, and your pictures! Wouldn't you want to make sure that you have photos that can help you bring back all of the beautiful memories of your special day and let you see those moments that you may have missed because you were too busy having fun and enjoying your day? A professional photographer's job is to concentrate on capturing your day in the best way possible so that you'll be able to relive it every time you look at your pictures. A professional wedding photographer gives you the security of not having to worry about bad pictures, special moments that were missed, batteries running out, equipment failing, or any of those other things that you don't want to think about on your big day.
Q: Will there be one or two photographers at my wedding?
Shooting a wedding is a lot of work for one photographer, so it is our philosophy to send two photographers to every wedding. If you are hiring a single photographe, you should as them how they handle being in two places at once. One situataion that comes to mind is when the bridal party is coming down the aisle at the begining of the wedding and the bride is with her nervous father just outside the door.