Questions to ask yourself and the Photographer
How do you know if you’ve chosen the right photographer for your wedding, portraits or events? A lot of people ask themselves this question when searching for a Professional Photographer. How do you know you are hiring a professional and not just an amateur with a fancy camera? While expensive camera equipment isn’t always an indication of the level of professional you are considering, it’s a step in the right direction! Jon taken upon himself to put together a small list of questions that potential clients should ask themselves and a photographer they are considering hiring.
1. Does the Photographer present themself as a Professional?
You don’t want a photographer showing up to your event looking like a hot mess! A good photographer knows how to blend and becomes part of the scenery. Someone who stands out like a sore thumb will make subjects uncomfortable. You want someone who has enough sense to show up dressed properly for the event they are covering.
Jon’s Answer: Professionalism is very important to me and I dress accordingly. For formal events, I’m normally in slacks and button-down long-sleeve shirt. I usually (not always) don’t wear a necktie because it can get in the way of my photography work. For Portrait Sessions, I may be in jeans and a polo shirt.
2. What’s your primary style? Posed and formal, relaxed, photojournalistic, creative, artistic, candid, traditional?
Jon’s Answer: I consider myself a photojournalistic style photographer, although I normally include several posed shots associated with the event or theme. I’m very relaxed and easy to get along with!
3. Do you shoot in color or black and white or both? Do you shoot in a digital format that can create both color and b/w versions of the same picture?
Jon’s Answer: I shoot all-digital, color photos, which means I can take a lot more photos quickly. In post-production/editing I can choose to convert images to black & white, sepia and also utilize specialized filters for an artistic effect.
4. Does the Photographer ask you questions that illustrate their preparedness?
A good photographer will usually ask you as many questions as you ask them. They should ask you about the venue, the type of shots wanted, the kind of photographs you’re looking for. They should also ask to scout the location if they are not already familiar with it. The photographer should be concerned about sunlight or available light at the location at the chosen time of day, among other issues.
Jon’s Answer: I will ask you several questions to get a better understanding about each client’s needs. I will also make suggestions that will make each client’s experience more memorable and enjoyable. Not only will I be asking questions, I always welcome my clients input on anything and everything! After all, the day is all about you.
5. Is there a limit to how many photos you can take?
Jon’s Answer: No, there is no limit (within reason) to how many photos I can take. My cameras are digitally formatted and use digital media cards to store each photo as it is captured. I could potentially take 2,000 to 3,000 photos in a single wedding. This is very unusual, however. I normally capture 500 to 1,500 images. For Portrait sessions, 200-300 images are normal. All images are reviewed by myself and narrowed down during post processing before I present my clients with the final images.
6. Can you afford the Photographers price?
While we all operate within budgets, a photographers price doesn’t matter until you know they can get the job done. Then, hire the best photographer you can afford and feel the most comfortable with. In many cases when clients hire photographers, they are asking them to capture moments that will never take place again. Don’t shortchange yourself by hiring someone you’re not sure about such as a beginner student or relative with a fancy looking camera. Jon Delano Photography is always willing to work within ones budget!
7. What kind of equipment will you bring with you? How intrusive will lighting, tripods, other equipment or assistants be?
Jon’s Answer: Most of my equipment is very mobile and small. I don’t use lighting equipment unless necessary for custom shots or exceptionally large group photos indoor or there is poor lighting in the location of choice. I don’t necessarily require the help of an assistant, but one frequently will assist with larger events and weddings. I use all professional Nikon equipment including the Nikon D800 & Nikon D700 along with backup bodies. Second shooters for weddings are available if requested.
8. Can other people take photos while you are taking photos?
Jon’s Answer: Yes, but I usually ask attendees to shoot before or after I shoot, to prevent confusion, blinking, flashing, etc.
9. How do you ensure that the images don’t get damaged or lost? What kind of backup do you use?
Jon’s Answer: For starters, most of my cameras have dual memory card slots. I use the second slot as the backup which means, whatever I shoot, I have 2 RAW copies of the file when the image is recorded. Immediately following the session or when I feel the need, I insert the memory cards into my pocket sized portable backup drive to record all the images to an external drive. Before I leave the session or event, I already have at least 2 separate copies of images.
Once I get home, I upload all images from the session onto my Photography Computer. Once this is complete, I upload all image files to my Network Attached Storage drives. My Network Attached Storage is 2 separate drives configured to RAID1 which mirrors each other. I also will back up images on another drive that is kept off site for security.
By doing this, I have 4 separate copies of each session’s RAW files backed up. Only when this is done, I will delete my memory cards for my next session.
10. Do you have Photographers Insurance and can you provide a “Certificate of Insurance” to our venue?
Jon’s Answer: Professional Photographers should have the proper insurance for their business. This will protect them against equipment theft, but it should also provide liability protection in case Great Aunt Sophie trips over the photographer’s camera bag and breaks her leg. If your photographer doesn’t have the proper insurance, it’s usually an indication that they are an amateur, just starting out in the business, or they aren’t taking their business very seriously. Ask if they can provide a “Certificate of Insurance”. If they can’t, I would reconsider hiring that photographer. Most venues require that photographers carry insurance that protects the venue of any fault or liability. Also be known that there is a difference between someone who adds a policy on their homeowners insurance and one that has specific Photographers Insurance. And Yes, I have full Photographers Insurance Coverage and can provide a “Certificate of Insurance” upon request.
11. I know someone with a nice camera. Why shouldn’t we let them do it?
Jon’s Answer: I have heard so many horror stories from disappointed people who let friends or family members be their main photographer for their weddings or events! Some questions that you have to ask yourself about them are: Do they have backup equipment if something goes wrong with their camera? Do they know how to fully use their camera and equipment? Do they understand aperture and its impact on shutter speed and depth of field? Does that person have the proper equipment and lenses to properly shoot your wedding or event? If that person bought their camera and lens in some kind of kit or bundle, chances are they don’t have the proper equipment to properly shoot a wedding. What lab do they use for prints? Is it a professional lab? What products can they offer? What kind of programs do they use for editing? What happens if someone trips over your friends’ camera bag or other equipment? Will you be liable?
12. What if your camera breaks during our wedding or photography session?
Jon’s Answer: I always shoot with at least two camera bodies at weddings and one for portrait sessions! I use both the Nikon D800 & Nikon D700 as my main camera bodies but also have a backup Nikon Body in my bag just in case the unexpected. All of my lenses are low-light (fast) lenses most commonly used for wedding or event venues.
13. What if get sick on our wedding day or photography session?
Jon’s Answer: This has never happened to me before. (Knock on wood) If I’m sick on your wedding day or portrait day, I will make every effort to shoot your event anyway. However, in the event that I’m incapacitated to the point I can’t stand, I will work within my network of photographers to find a suitable replacement photographer. In the event that a replacement cannot be found due to availability or the client denies the replacement, all monies paid will be refunded. This is also stated in the contracts.
14. Do you offer images on a High Resolution Disk?
Jon’s Answer: I’m starting to grow more towards maintaining all image files although I have two thoughts on this. The benefit to my clients is my commitment to having full control of and access to all these amazing memories and ensuring they’re preserved. The images will get archived and are kept safe and sound for any future needs or usage for my clients. Once the images are released on a DVD of Images, I no longer have the control I require to secure the images. As of now, Master DVD of Images will be available to my clients as a gift with a minimum order purchase or may be purchased à la carte.
15. Why’s professional photography so expensive?
Jon’s Answer: The hours you see me shooting are just the beginning of the process. After a quality image is captured, I will then spend several hours during post-processing removing blemishes, stray hair, whitening teeth and applying filters. I use both Photoshop CS6 along with Adobe Lightroom 5 and several other specific programs for editing. The expenses of Professional Nikon equipment, professional lenses, memory cards and lighting all adds up. I need to cover the cost for my photography insurance, paying for my assistant or second shooter when required, website hosting, computer updates, maintenance and gas on my vehicle to travel to and from events, and the costs associated with having professional print labs for my clients. I know I’m leaving several items out of the equation; however this is all the cost of doing business.