Normally I get all philosophical about the deeper meaning of life and all that jazz in my blog posts, but today I would like to simply inform you about some things you may not think to ask your photographer. This pertains to any type of session, but most specifically these are questions you should be asking your wedding photographer. Don’t bombard them with a million questions, just ask 3 simple questions.
1. How do you back up your photos?
2. Can I see a full wedding day or blog post that you shot start to finish?
3. Do you have a good understanding of flash, specifically off-camera flash?
I want to go through each of these questions and answer them as to what I do as a photographer and also explain why they are so important to ask.
- How do you back up your photos?
This question is big, because on a wedding day, there is no do-over and if your photography doesn’t have good back up systems in place, you will be the one regretting it. One thing that is great about the cameras I shoot on (Canon 5D Mk III and 7D Mk II) is that they have both SD and Compact Flash card slots, so everything I photograph is recorded twice, and there is always a backup of your precious photos. I then upload them to my computer and have them on the hard drive, and then on 2 separate external hard drives. I keep the hard drives in a fireproof safe, so even if I die in a fire, your photos will be safe and sound. Whoo-hoo!! Maybe that is a bit overkill, but I don’t play around with photos of the most important day in someone’s life. Wink face.
2. Can I see a full wedding day that you shot start to finish?
I would love if my clients would ask me this question. It means that they want to invest in someone who can do a great job and provide a great experience. It also means that they care about the quality of photography that they are getting. The thing about wedding photography that can be different from a lot of other types of photography is that you have to be really adaptable and good at adjusting on the fly. Most photographers provide about 6 to 8 hours of coverage on the wedding day, which means that they are shooting in just about every possible lighting situation you could think of. Well, doesn’t the camera just do everything for them? I mean all they’re doing is pushing a button right? Actually, most professionals shoot in manual mode to get the correct exposure because relying on automatic settings can have very mixed results. The point I’m driving it is that your photographer needs to know how to shoot indoors, outdoors, away from the sun, into the sun and they must know how to use flash properly!!! Seeing a full wedding day or at least an abridged version through a blog post is crucial when deciding on a wedding photographer. Every photographer shows their best work in their opening page slideshow (including me), but it’s important to see if they are also consistent throughout the entire wedding day.
3. Do you have a good understanding of flash, specifically off-camera flash? This is super important!
A lot of people think that they can just have their friend who just got a fancy new DSLR take their photos on their wedding day. This is the biggest mistake you could make. Sometimes that friend is capable of getting great photos, but weddings are a different animal. You have to have a fully working understanding of off camera flash in order to get good reception photos, shoot an indoor ceremony, and do family formal shots. We photographed this wedding at the Crest Center and the reception area was super dark. We would have drowned if we didn’t have a good working knowledge of flash. The sunset shot of the couple could not have been accomplished without a flash setup. It would have turned out as a silhouette, which can be cool, but not for every single sunset shot.
Please, please, please; for your own sake, ask a potential wedding photographer these questions in order to ensure that you are getting exactly what you want.
Press play on the video slide montage below. It’s a different way to experience their day.