Surreal Photography | Important questions

10 questions for your wedding photographer

 

 

What You Need to Know

Wedding photography is no easy subject and interviewing potential wedding photographers can be a daunting task. Regardless of if you are hiring Surreal Photography or another studio, we have created a list of 10 questions to help you find the perfect photographer for your wedding day.

 

1. What is your primary style?

This should be your first and foremost question as this is the style of photography that interests you. Surreal Photography specializes in primarily a photojournalist style with hints of classic and fine-art influenced wedding photography techniques.

If you are seeking photojournalism, make sure you read our section titled “What are Wedding Photojournalists” in order to ensure you are actually getting a photographer that specializes in this area.

 

2. How many weddings have you shot?

This is a great question to get an idea of how much experience your photographer has in general. Years are generally not a good gauge of experience since some wedding photographers may work part time, and only shoot 5 weddings a year on weekends. Thus, maybe they have 5 years of experience, but they have only shot 25 weddings. Once you get past technique, creativity, and personality, the next thing you should be looking for is experience. Is the wedding photographer actually a professional photographer, or is this their “weekend gig”? How many weddings has this photographer shot?

While experience is definitely important, some of the best and most hard- working wedding photographers out there are experienced photographers, but relatively new as wedding photographers. In situations where you love the photographers style, but are concerned with them not having enough experience, ask to look at their entire collection of images from a recent event they have shot.

I  base their level of experience off of how many weddings they have shot as the lead photographer, i.e. not under another professional photographer’s guidance or direction.

  • 1-5 Weddings – Inexperienced
  • 6-10 Weddings – Amateur
  • 10-20 Weddings – Knowledgeable
  • 21-30 Weddings – Experienced
  • 31+ Weddings – Professional

I have personally photographed 74 weddings, 70 as lead and 4 as a second photographer.

 

 3. How many times have you worked specifically as a lead wedding photographer?

This question is designed to find out if your photographers are specifically wedding photographers, or if they are “one-stop-shop-photographers.” More specifically, you would be better off looking for a photographer that specializes in wedding photography.

I have been the sole photographer for 70 happy clients.

 

4. Will there be a contract of the services to be provided. If so, can I get a copy?

There are a lot of photographers that don’t create contracts for their wedding photography clients. You should require a contract from your photographer that details what services they will be providing, pricing, termination resolution terms, etc. A contract is created for your protection, and for the wedding photographer’s protection. It is best to hire a photographer that will create a contract with you, and be wary of photographers that “don’t typically create contracts for clients.”

 

5. Do you have insurance?

Professional wedding photographers should have the proper insurance for their business. Insurance protects the photographer against equipment theft, but more importantly it provides liability protection in case Great Aunt Sophie trips over the photographer’s bag and breaks her leg. If a wedding photographer does not have insurance, chances are they are new to the industry, or simply aren’t taking their business seriously.

Surreal Photography carries general business, equipment and liability insurance.

 

6. Will you color correct my images?

Color correction is the most basic post production that should be done on every single image. Many photographers will not color correct any, or will only color correct “select” images from your wedding. This means that you may have a lot of pictures where your skin tones are orange, yellow, red or even blue.

Surreal Photography color corrects every single image from your wedding in order to make sure each and every image is a professional quality product.

 

7. What kind of equipment do you use? Do you have backups?

I use top quality camera bodies along with the finest quality L lenses from canon. While wedding photographers don’t necessarily need the best of the best, it is important to have a good set of equipment. Make sure your photographer has backups of all essential gear (Camera, flash, lenses). Nothing would be worse than for the photographer to miss half of your weddings because his camera or lens broke, and he didn’t have a spare. For those familiar with DSLR cameras and their lenses, here is what I carry. Equipment is secondary to being able to use it all effectively. Photography is painting with light, being able to know how to record it properly is the goal of any great photographer.

Primary camera body

  • Canon 1DX

Secondary camera body

  • Canon 1DS Mark II

Lenses (these are must have lenses*)

  • Canon 70-200mm F/2.8 L IS USM*
  • Canon 24-70mm F/2.8 L USM*
  • Canon 50mm F/1.4

On camera lighting

  • Canon Speedlite 580EX

Off-camera lighting (for large dance floor type scenes)

  • Canon Speedlite 580EX w/ Pocket Wizard Trigger
  • Full studio flashes w/ Pocket Wizard Trigger

 

8. Should my event last longer than scheduled, will you stay? Is there an extra charge?

Knowing up front the photographers policy on overages is critical. You don’t want to be surprised when your wedding photographer asks for more than you thought it would be. Even worse, you don’t want your wedding photographer to just pack up and leave when their time is up even though you still want additional coverage.

 

9. What attire will the photographer and their assistants wear?

Even though the wedding photographers are a big part of the wedding day, it’s important that they are not distractions. As such, it’s important for the photographer to blend in as much as possible. Furthermore, for religious or cultural ceremonies, there may be certain colors that are considered taboo. Make sure your photographers will be dressed appropriately for the occasion. Surreal photography's typical attire is black suit pants with a black polo or dress shirt. I dress completely in black because we want to go unnoticed by the clients and guests, so that we can capture the event as photojournalists.

 

10. How long after the event will the proofs, album, etc be ready?

Each wedding photography studio varies in the time it takes to produce and deliver your pictures. Studios that do not do any post production or color correction may try to entice you by saying your photos will be ready the next day, or even within a week or two. However, most studios that develop and produce their images will take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months.

Surreal Photography has developed a consistent production schedule in order to deliver an amazing product in an exceptionally quick manner. This schedule can be seen below:

  • 1-2 Weeks after event – FaceBook or other digital delivery of 5-10 sneak peek photos
  • 6-8 Weeks after event – Proofs are available online
  • 2-4 Weeks after album design is approved – Album is delivered