I hope that my opinions will give people somewhat of an idea what they should expect and what a true photographer should offer.
The first thing you should look for is a photographer that you like....Any other quality will pale if you do not get along with each other. When I am searching for someone to be an associate here at Drobny Studio, being a nice, pleasant person is the first requirement. I can teach them about photography. I can not teach them to be nice.
The second thing you should look for is quality equipment. If they bought their camera and lens(s) at a big box store, they are probably not very high quality. Quality equipment is expensive and usually only available from full time camera stores. High resolution camera bodies paired with fast pro level lenses can combine to create memorable images that you will be proud to display in your home. Low quality equipment is less likely to create memorable images. A real pro has real pro equipment. They are the tools he uses to do his job. I try to use the best I can afford. I would also avoid an "available light photographer" Sometimes a flash is necessary. Also ask your prospect if they ever take their camera off Program...
Computers and software are the next most important things to a pro. In the age of digital photography, the treatment of an image after the event is almost as important as how they are created. Changing images to black and white and correcting flaws in backgrounds or complexions is a big part of providing my client a quality product. Anyone that does not have access to pro level software is someone you might want to re-consider. Here is an example of what you should expect....
Proper licenses. If you are considering a photographer that does not have a tax ID number or an EIN number and does not pay sales tax, you are (in my opinion) taking a chance. If they are found out, their equipment may be seized and they could be shut down, leaving you out in the cold.
The next thing is insurance. I have a policy that covers me and my equipment whether in the studio or on location. It covers my gear, even if I drop and break it. I provides coverage for anyone that I am photographing in case they should be accidentally injured. It helps me sleep at night. Also remember that there are some parks that will not allow photographers to work there if they can not provide proof of proper insurance coverage.
Hiring an experienced pro should also be a priority. I have photographed nearly 1000 weddings over the last 32 years. I know where to be and when to be there. You are probably not going to surprise me....
The next thing I would look for is a website. It allows the photographer to showcase his work and communicate with clients and potential clients. A Facebook page is not a website. I have both...
Finally, I think that there needs to be a real office with samples of several weddings to look at. If a photographer only shows images from 1 or 2 weddings that he has done, I would be curious about that persons experience. My showroom contains about 45 large format images and complete albums from 5 different weddings. I can also photograph engagement sessions either in studio or on a few locations near here. I can also provide referrals from past clients showing what kind of work I do and what kind of guy I am.
Do you really want to meet in someone's basement or dining room or in a restaurant?
There are so many variables and I have only scratched the surface here, but these are a few guidelines that I think a photographer that is a real professional should live up to. These are my opinions. They are certainly subject to each persons interpretation. They do, however give someone seeking a wedding photographer something to consider. Photographs are important and usually the only thing left after a wedding. The flowers have wilted, the tuxes have been returned, the gown has been preserved and is boxed and stored, the food is gone and the whole thing is just a fond memory. The photograph hanging on the wall or the album on the coffee table will be there for a lifetime though.
Make a good decision.
Hire the right person.
You won't be sorry.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I can be reached at my studio at 330-724-8225, on my website www.drobnystudio.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Thanks for reading...See you next week