Guest Post by Darren Atinsky
So, you are out planning your wedding and event. I’m sure most of you have Googled “Tips for choosing a Wedding Photographer” hoping to unlock all those wondrous secrets of knowledge that will help you find the perfectly skilled photographer.
Most sites, which offer “tips”, focus on personality, not skill. Find a connection they say, are they nice, do you like them etc. Sounds more like dating advice. Well, if your goal is to find someone you like, and not someone professional and skilled, then read no further and visit E-harmony for photographers.
Actually, I’m kidding, I know there are times when personality, and a connection matter, but that assumes money and time don’t matter. Our goal is to drill down past the fluff and give you SKILLS to look for.
Below is the list of questions we use to qualify our photographers, at www.wedwu.com, before they are certified to work in the WedWu system. There’s nothing wrong with personality based questions, but to find a real pro, add these to the conversation. This is gold! Ready?
10 “Real” Tips for finding a Professional Wedding Photographer
1) Type of camera(s)- One of the most basic questions, yet most people don’t ever ask. Needs to be a Canon or a Nikon. Period! If they don’t have one of these, just move on.
This is definitely super important – if the photographer you are looking at does not hold a Nikon or a Canon, they are not a professional. Every once in a while there may be an exception, but these are the lead competitors of strongest professional cameras right now and it is your best bet to finding a “real” photographer.
2) Do you use a swivel bracket- Yes is the only acceptable answer.
So this one pretty much only applies to photographers that use flash a lot, but yes – the flash should not just be pointing in one direction.
3) Why do you use a swivel bracket- Ever wonder how you get rid of red eye in a picture? You need to raise the flash above the camera so the angle of the light reflected back goes below or above and not directly back at the camera. If your photographer can’t answer this question, GET OUT!!
This just adds to my statement above.
4) Do you bounce your flash, use a diffuser, or use direct flash- This is a great question because ALL these methods work, they just give you limited output and doesn’t allow you to adjust to the conditions. A true professional will tell you they use all three depending on the conditions. If they say only one, they may be lacking a bit in the experience area.
Yup, more and more about flash. I don’t use flash often, but when I do I don’t use direct flash!
5) Do you shoot in “Raw” format or “Jpeg”. Now, this is a highly technical question, and both are right, but it will tell you the type of skill your photographer has, and without fail, if you ask this question, they will start telling you all the reasons they shoot their particular format. Not only that, but every photographer you ask will sit up straight and ask, “how do you know this, no bride ever asks these questions?” -) Smile and just say a little birdie told me…
RAW is definitely the professional formal, but I also have a feeling there are some photographers out there that shoot JPEG that might lie to you – just because they know RAW is the right way to go.
Take this list and ask your photographer these questions to see if what you are truly getting is a professional, and not a dating partner.
Wait, you said 10 questions? That’s right, always leave them wanting more. Just kidding, if you want to see the other 5 questions look for the next article here and we will give you additional professional questions to ask.
I’ll check back for you and add it on here when I get it ;)
About the Author: Darren Atinsky is the CEO of WedWu.com, the first “Name-Your-Own-Price” for wedding services. Darren also serves as Editor for the Bridal Yellow Pages.
All images by Ben Chrisman of Chrisman Studios