I know the drill like the back of my hand. Photography is my business and you should make it yours too. I'm not saying start a photography business. What I am saying is, you need to educate yourself a little bit on the subject before hand to really get a great deal on exceptional photography. You like most people would really be surprised at the work involved in getting a good event done and well. I will not get into it all here, because it is just to much info for the average non photographer to even care about.
So, what am I looking for in a good photographer? Can I really tell just by looking at their photos? The answer is surprising. Did you know that their are photographers out there who post and use photos that are not even theirs. So the answer is no. A good way to make sure someone is for real is to get a recommendation from a friend or family member. Asking for references from your photographer is also a good thing to do. If he or she has been doing it for any amount of time, they should have no problem suppling some. Physical albums are a thing of the past, but they can also be good indicaters to the quality of work a photographer can produce.
Gear, it's not everthing but it does help. As I mentioned earlier it's a lot to get into but you don't need to. I like to think of it as painting. If I gave you a canvas to make a painting, one paint brush and one color of paint, could you make a master piece? The answer, you bet you can. That is called creative vision. That vision is either natural or acquired thru years of study. It is the diffence between good photographers and average photographers. Wait a minute, so why is gear important? I know that everyone would agree with me if I said anyone can make a painting right. Now, I'm going to hand you one hundred different paint brushes and twenty five colors to use. Will it make you a great artist now that you own lots of good gear? No, not if you don't know what it is that each of those brushes does, right.
Working with one brush while painting is very limiting to say the least. Would you agree that using only one color of paint would not allow you to paint every type of scene you might encounter on a day out painting. The same holds true in photography. If your guy is showing up with one camera, one lens, and maybe one flash he or she may run into trouble at some point. I always come prepared with my one hundred brushes and some times it takes all of them to get the job done right.
Here are some of the questions that you might want to ask your photographer.
1: When can we meet to sign the contract? Contracts are important for both parties. They lay out what you should expect from them.
2: What does your lighting setup look like? They should speak about it with excitment as lighting is the second most important tool they should be using.
3: How long have you been in business? This is just a question to inquire about experience, Would you trust a ten year guy or a six month guy with your photo's
4: What's the plan if you can't make it? If they can't answer without hesitation I would be concerned.
These are just a few questions to keep in mind when shoping around for your next photographer. If you have any other questions about this topic feel free to drop us a line and I will be more than happy to help even if you don't hire me. Promise.