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Author Topic: What to consider when hiring a Wedding photographer???  (Read 16530 times)

AcutancePhotography

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Re: What to consider when hiring a Wedding photographer???
« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2014, 02:42:37 PM »
You've never been to a wedding where it was handycam and powershots doing the image capturing... FYI: that was a paid gig...

Yes I know, just shake your head and make for the exit....

Were the paying customers happy with the product?  That's really all that matters.

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Re: What to consider when hiring a Wedding photographer???
« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2014, 02:42:37 PM »

LarryC

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Re: What to consider when hiring a Wedding photographer???
« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2014, 03:43:21 PM »
The photographer and videographer for my stepdaughter's wedding two years ago cost ~$6K.  She picked the photographer after interviewing 6 photography studios.  She was shown a number of very impressive wedding sets by the photographer she ultimately went with.  The resulting end product, however, was mediocre, at best - and I'm being polite.  It turns out the photographer she interviewed was a junior photographer from the studio and what she was shown at the interview was photographs taken by the principle at the studio - NOT the photographer that was interviewed and showed up on the wedding day!   

I would make certain that the photographer you get is the photographer you interviewed and that the work you're shown is actually the work of the photographer who will do the job.



AcutancePhotography

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Re: What to consider when hiring a Wedding photographer???
« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2014, 06:46:46 AM »
It turns out the photographer she interviewed was a junior photographer from the studio and what she was shown at the interview was photographs taken by the principle at the studio - NOT the photographer that was interviewed and showed up on the wedding day!

That stynks of bait and switch.   >:(

For a photographer to mis-represent themselves like that is unprofessional. Being a professional is far more then just being paid...it is more about the ethics and behaviour.
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dgatwood

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Re: What to consider when hiring a Wedding photographer???
« Reply #33 on: November 17, 2014, 05:01:36 PM »
I'd ask for several things:

  • A portfolio of work shot by that photographer (not the studio, as you've already noted)
  • An example video of someone's wedding, as shot by that photographer
  • A photograph of the photographer
  • A list of churches where the photographer has worked and who officiated
  • A list of typical equipment

The reason for the first and second items should be mostly obvious.  You want to make sure that the photographer is competent, and make sure that the videography work matches the style that you expect.  For example, some folks want a straight movie of the ceremony as-is, whereas others prefer more of a highly edited highlights reel with various musical additions in the background, ducked during the "I dos".  Make sure you know what you'll be getting, and that it is what you're expecting.

The reason for the third and fourth items are so you can go talk to people at the church who were involved in previous weddings and ask them whether the photographer would be welcomed back, or whether the person was a nuisance.

The reason for the fifth item is so you can determine A. whether the photographer is likely just some kid with a rebel who got lucky with the photos on one shoot, and B. whether or not the photographer has the lenses needed to do an adequate job without getting in the way, based on the size of the church in question.  If, for example, you're shooting in a cathedral, and the photographer shoots everything with a 50mm lens, you can safely assume that you won't get any usable shots during the ceremony unless the photographer gets in the way of the ceremony.

I would ask if the photographer does video.  If not, ask whether there are any video crews that he or she has worked with successfully in the past (and/or unsuccessfully, so you know who to avoid).  It is far better to have people who know each other and know how to stay out of each other's way, which is why (IMO) if you can find a good all-in-one shop, you're probably better off, even if that all-in-one shop subcontracts the video work to somebody else.

If you're trying to save money on the video work, you might ask if the photographer would be willing to provide you with the raw footage at a discount rather than editing it down into a final presentation.  The ingestion and editing is a large chunk of the time invested in doing a wedding video, and if you're willing to do that hard work yourself, you could potentially save money that way, if the photographer is amenable to it.  (Some do, some don't.)

And ask how many video cameras they use.  Two is really the minimum, and I would recommend three, depending on location.  Ask if they have remote control cameras or if they have to have a person physically manning each of them.  This can impact where they can put cameras, and depending on the location, this can make a big difference in terms of what they can do without being disruptive.  (With that said, you can often get away with static cameras, so lack of a RoboCam isn't necessarily a show-stopper.)

Another thing you might consider, if you're camera-savvy, is renting some decent video gear, setting it up ahead of time with fixed shots, starting it, and leaving it running.  That won't give you quite as good a result as a professional videographer, but it would reduce the cost enormously.  Remember to budget for a decent microphone, and be sure to check the levels during loud musical passages to ensure you aren't clipping.  Or if you really don't care much about the video, you could do as some folks have occasionally suggested—mount a GoPro to the bride and groom and be done with it.  :)

Finally, beware of videographers named Sal DiPasquale.

Botts

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Re: What to consider when hiring a Wedding photographer???
« Reply #34 on: November 17, 2014, 05:59:07 PM »
I would definitely ask your sister what she is most interested in from a photography perspective, before looking at portfolios.

My wife and I went through this exercise before choosing our photographer.  We asked the following questions:

  • What photo are we going to print to share and remember our day with?
  • What photos might friends and family be interested in?
  • What photos have we seen that we don't like?
  • We decided that we needed to own 100% of the copyright, and would do our own printing.

When it came down to #1, we decided that formals were the most important for us.  We figured we'd never print and hang a ceremony picture, but instead one of our formal shots.

For #2 we figured photos of the bridge & groom with each extended family unit would be appreciated, but further, we realized it would be a great opportunity for some relatives to find family photos.

#3 we determined that the current craze of shooting into the sun would be a fad and not stand the test of time.  We prefer sharp photos, vs photos that have their contrast and detail crushed by shooting into the sun.

These three answers led us to judge portfolios, and ultimately photographers by how good they were at posing people in formals.  You could be the best event photographer, and ceremony photographer in the world, but if you couldn't pose people for formals, you weren't the photographer for us.

We also looked for photographers who's style most closely matched ours.  I.e. some shots into the light were acceptable, but if 50-75% + of a portfolio was shot into the sun, we vetoed the photographer.  We focused on photographers with great formal shots.  We also splurged on a second photographer to help get the family photos done. 

Post processing was another area we paid attention to, if you vignetted every photo, and/or took the clarity slider "to 11" so to speak, it wasn't an immediate no, but I made sure to ask if the photographer would mind if I asked for the RAWs of my favorite shots.

One thing we learned was that once you cross a certain point, for us in Alberta it was $2k, pricing no longer reflected portfolio quality.  It was clear that those under $2k were at a lower level, but those over $2k while all good were all over the map in terms of portfolio quality to investment ratio.  There were some for $4,500 that I felt both technically, and artistically couldn't compete with our photographer at $2,700.

A last comment: We did our photos with myself, my wife, bridal party, and our immediate families before our 3 pm ceremony, and scheduled 2.5 hours for them.  It was a fantastic idea in hindsight.  No one was rushed for photos, we got every single shot we wanted, and no one had to fill an awkward gap in the day where photos were happening.  We did do another 45 minutes of shooting (aggregate) throughout the reception where we nailed down some extended family shots.  Sure it ruined the "surprise moment" when I saw my wife in the ceremony, but we both felt it was more special when it was just the two of us who saw each other for the "first time" at our photo location.  We also got to see each other before the ceremony and calm our nerves.  Our wedding officiant strongly recommended that we meet before the ceremony to have a chat and calm nerves before regardless of photos.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2014, 06:04:43 PM by Botts »
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AcutancePhotography

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Re: What to consider when hiring a Wedding photographer???
« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2014, 08:19:58 AM »
Our wedding officiant strongly recommended that we meet before the ceremony to have a chat and calm nerves before regardless of photos.

I think that is great advice.  I wish we could get rid of this "bride and groom can't see each other before the event.  Most likely the bride and goom have spent a lot of time together before the wedding  ;)
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Re: What to consider when hiring a Wedding photographer???
« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2014, 08:19:58 AM »