The best part of being a portrait photographer is preserving special moments in people’s lives. But there doesn’t need to be a special occasion to have your portrait taken. Sometimes it is simply the love that you feel for your family, or that your little ones are growing up so fast and you want to capture that moment in time.
When I am not behind the camera you will find me out and about in East Lansing with my husband Rick and our two daughters, Elizabeth and Angela.
Question 1: What do you consider your photography style to be?
While Photojournalistic or Documentary wedding pictures have become very popular, there are a few other styles you may want to know about. A photographer that specializes in only a photojournalistic style will capture events and special moments as they happen without asking you to pose.
Some people may prefer a more traditional style such as portrait photography, where the photographer will have you pose alone and with family and friends with a background of some sort.
Another style is less common and that is fine art photography. This style is similar to the photojournalistic style, it gives the shooter a greater artistic license to add their own vision. The photos are often more dramatic. A fine art photographer often uses film instead of a digital camera or ads film like features like grain, a certain color balance or makes the image dreamier with digital manipulations.
Edgy/Bold: This style is an offshoot of fine art but has a much more contemporary feel to it The photographer thinks outside the box when taking his shots. He/she will use tilted angles (called "Dutch" angles) and unconventional framing. So instead of a straight-on shot of the couple at the altar, the photo might look tilted, with an object like a candle or flowers in the foreground. Or a photo of the groom adjusting his tie while getting dressed where you only part of the face, the angle is tilted and the emphasis is on the knot of the tie.
Many wedding photographer combine two or even three of these styles, some may ask you what style you like the most and if they can they will adjust their personal style to what you prefer if possible. Keep in mind that you must like what the photographer has done in the past because that really is where his or her strengths and artistic vision lies. The most common style blend is Photojournalistic/Documentary and Edgy/Bold with the emphasis on Photojournalistic.
Question 2: Do you shoot color, black and white or both?
This really used to be a more important question in the past when photographers where shooting on film than now, while photographers use digital camera's. With film, the photographer had to use multiple camera's to just be able to shoot both B&W and color. Today, in the digital era, most photographers shoot in color and convert some of their images to black and white. If B&W is important to you, you should make sure you love the finished product whether it is shot film or digitally. Many digital photographer when converting an image to B&W often add just the slightest hint of one color (like red, blue or yellow), you may not even notice the color unless it was pointed out to you, but you'd miss it if it was not there.
Question 3: Do you bring an assistant or second shooter?
Some wedding photographers will bring second shooters with them while other only bring someone to carry gear. Make sure you know which you are getting. A second shooter, especially one that works often with the photographer at weddings, with bring a second set of eyes and another vision. A second and different angle could sometimes provide that extra bang for your buck.
Question 4: How well do you work with other wedding vendors?
It is important that your photographer works well with and around other wedding vendors. Make sure you tell your photographer if you hired a videographer as well. The two need to be able to coordinate and not intrude upon each other. It is not great to get a video with a photographer constantly in it or images in your wedding album with a huge video camera in the back in many of the pictures. An organized photographer will coordinate with the DJ or Band, coordinate with the officiator if possible and be informed about the entire day with respect to other vendors such as caterers and such.
Question 5: Do you correct your photos?
With digital photography most wedding photographers can fix their images. The will take out imperfections, hide some wrinkles and blemishes, and maybe get rid of a double chin. Find out if your photographer has the capability and if they charge extra for this service. Also let your photographer know what you think are your concerns about how you look in a photograph, most photographers are nonjudgmental about this as they deal with this all the time. Just make sure that the work they do still looks realistic and natural, nothing is worse than someone looking at your wedding album and making the comment, "They photo-shopped you, that does not look like you at all".
Question 6: Will the photographer give you a high resolution CD of your images?
Some photographers don't have a problem handing over the rights to you photos so you can have copies printed at will, while others prefer you to purchase your reprints directly from them. Again others with give you a CD while offering a personal Web-page where you and your family can order high quality archival large and small prints while you still have the option to use your CD to order smaller prints or even larger budget quality prints yourself. Having a personal web-page for you friends and family to order their own copies relieves you of the stress of having to handle and keep track of their print orders. The prints you order from your photographer are more likely to be true to color as he/she can calibrate the color profile of the image with that of the specific photo-lab he/she uses. Find out what your photographer's policy is prior to signing a contract.
Question 7: Are you willing to have input on the photos that we want?
Some photographers will gladly work with a shot list while others will not. If you have specific photos that you want taken, make sure your photographer is happy to accommodate your requests. Keep in mind that the longer your list is, the less your photographer has a chance to practice his or her art in the way you first liked it. So do not restrict your photographer to much, after all, you most likely initially choose your photographer because you liked the images he/she took before.
Question 8: Are you the actual photographer who will be shooting on my wedding day?
If the answer is no, make sure you see the actual photographer's work. Photography is an art form; no two eyes are exactly alike. You don't want any surprises.
Question 9: Are you familiar with my ceremony/reception site?
If the answer is no, would he or she be willing to do a site visit to learn about the rules and scout out the best locations? This is similar to question #4, is the photographer willing to put in the work to be prepared as well as he or she can be? Being prepared is important as no two wedding are exactly alike and you will most likely not have second chances to create lasting memories with photographs.
Question 10: What comes in my photography package?
Photographers charge in many different ways. Some charge a shooting fee and then give a credit towards an album, others have a complete package that includes shooting rime and prints. Some offer packages with an engagement session, an engagement session is a great way to get images for a guest album for the reception and it gives you an opportunity to get more comfortable working with your photographer. When making comparisons, make sure you know what you are exactly getting and what would be at an extra charge.