As you move through the process of hiring a photographer for that very important upcoming family event or milestone, I want to share with you some of the most important questions to ask prospective photographers!
If the answer is "yes," ask as many questions as you like to determine if the relationship is right for you. If the answer is "no," simply say “thank you,” and find another photographer. What happens if you hire a friend of a friend and he trips, injuring himself or breaking his brand new camera? Be sure you are protected.
True professionals should have no problem offering as many references as you need from previous clients. Be sure to call the references and get their take on the photographer. Ask questions such as “Did the photographer capture the mood of your event in her photos?” and “Did the photographer give you photos that met your expectations?”
Ask to see samples from an entire photography session (or more than one) to get a sense of the depth of a photographer's work and view the story from start to finish. This will show you how creative the photographer is and tell you if he or she is consistently good… or just lucky every now and then.
Make sure the photographer has experience with your type of event. If it's an event like a bar or bat mitzvah, you want to know how much experience your photographer has with them. Amateurs may become frustrated or anxious when dealing with fluctuating emotions or unpredictable situations. You want your photographer to stay calm and help you remain calm, no matter what situation pops up!
Particularly in the age of COVID, it’s more important than ever that your photographer has a list of trusted and experienced colleagues they can call on to ensure your event is covered regardless of what comes up. That's why it's so important to ask photographers what their backup plan is in case "something happens.” You’ve been planning this day for months or even years. Make sure your photographer’s personal snafu doesn’t put you in a bad situation.
Of course, it would likely be cheaper to hire a family member or friend who does this on the side, but you risk not getting any quality images and losing your event forever should their equipment fail. And believe me, memory cards do fail, lenses do break and batteries do die. And never at a convenient time! A professional photographer will always show up early with one or two backup cameras, lenses, flashes and additional lighting equipment. Well-connected and experienced photographers always have contingency plans and backup equipment. Most of the time, things actually do happen that we handle without anyone even noticing. That's the kind of peace of mind you want to ensure your photographer will bring you.
Perhaps the most important thing to look for when hiring a photographer is to find one that you trust professionally and like personally. Pay attention to your rapport with the photographer as you move through this list of questions. Do you feel at ease? Do you want this person hanging around your family during an intimate or emotional moment? A skilled professional will ask you additional questions and offer creative ideas that an amateur would never think of.