LGEmerick Photography
Kansas City Photographer
cpbp graphic.jpg

LGEmerick Blog

Blog hosting the content of Kansas City Photographer LGEmerick.

Is Your Wedding Photographer A Professional?

Hey!

I get it.

You are planning a wedding.

Hopefully this is your first and last time ever doing this.

Even if it isn’t - it can be overwhelming.

“You don’t get a second chance at your wedding: there is no rescheduling, there is no re-shoot. If your photographer screws up, well… that is it. “

The wedding market is always growing and changing and the vendors along with it. Since the advent of decent digital cameras at affordable prices you see hobby photographers popping up with facebook pages and instagram feeds left and right. Chances are at least one or two of your friends are ‘mom’tographers (no offense) on the side and might take decent shots of their kids.

Truth be told there is room for all different types and skill levels in the world of photography. Everyone deserves great photos, but the thing about your wedding is this is that it is a one time event. You don’t get a second chance at your wedding: there is no rescheduling, there is no re-shoot. If your photographer screws up, well… that is it.

And most of the moments within it are so quick that if your photographer isn’t prepared (read: two cameras at the ready at all times with a third body back up just in case) - precious instants that you have been dreaming of your entire life could be lost.

Basically, this is not the time to hire Janet down the block because she has a cute picture that she took of her dog or has a strong selfie game.

Wedding photography is a deeply nuanced, strategic photographic mission that requires training, research, practice, and focus.

Sure, Janet will probably grab a few great shots, but will she get all the shots you want? Will she get the ones you need?

Well. If she is a professional - she most likely will.

But how do you determine if your photographer is actually a photographer or someone who is just figuring it out? That is why I am here.

Wedding photography is a deeply nuanced, strategic photographic mission that requires training, research, practice, and focus.

I’ve been in business for years and after spending that time in the industry where I have heard absolute horror stories while knowing exactly how to avoid these terrors.

So to help you while you are shopping for photographers (maybe just come to me first?) here is a list of questions that any professional photographer you meet with should be able to answer quickly and easily.


LGEmerick Photography Weddings

ARE YOU INSURED?

…And can you prove it?

This is a big one that most married couples never consider, but is incredible important. Your photographer will be with you from start to finish on your day and often carried a lot of equipment or is asking you to strike a pose.

What if their light stand falls on Aunt Mable and she needs stitches?

What if you trip while trying to pose like they asked and sprain your ankle - or worse - break your leg?

Who covers that?

A professional photographer will have insurance to help cover such incidences that relate back to their proved negligence (don’t try to commit insurance fraud with us. We are a paranoid bunch and have everything documented with pictures. Ha!) and they will have the paperwork to prove it. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof.

What if you trip while trying to pose like they asked and sprain your ankle - or worse - break your leg?

Who covers that?


HOW WILL YOU DELIVER THE FINAL IMAGES?

For professional photographers this is an absolute no-brainer. Most of us use professional gallery hosting because we shoot for a living and it is needed expense. Typically we also deliver a secondary image delivery method (like a USB) for those “just in case” situations.

If you ask a photographer how they will deliver the final images and they say “Uh. Like. Dropbox?”

It isn’t necessarily a bad answer, but it is not a professional answer. Drop box is not a professional grade gallery. Pixieset, ShootProof, pic-time, Pass, and Cloudspot are industry standards.


LGEmerick Wedding Photography

WHAT IS YOUR AVERAGE FOR IMAGES SHOT PER HOUR?

I average 115 per hour. There are obviously some weddings that yield more, and some that yield less, but because I have been doing this for awhile I tell my clients that if they hire me for eight hours they can count on having at least 1000 gorgeous images.

If your photographer goes: “Oh. Yeah. I don’t know.”

Then they probably don’t have enough industry research or have not shot enough weddings to really know what is normal. Which brings me to….


LGEmerick Wedding Photography

HOW MANY WEDDINGS HAVE YOU PHOTOGRAPHED?

If you are hiring someone as a professional, the answer should be over ten at the minimum.

Weddings are fast paced, spur of the moment types of events. The photographic moments last an instant (first looks, first kiss, dances, cake smash, bouquet toss…). If you do not have someone who knows how to make in the moment adjustments or has a back up (or two) ready in the moment - you are going to miss out. Plain and simple.

So just ask.

They may not know the exact amount (I don’t know for sure even) but they should have a general idea.

Also important to remember at this point that all photography is not created equal. Just because someone takes amazing headshots or family photos does it mean they will be good at weddings. You want wedding specific portfolio proof.


LGEmerick Photography Weddings

HOW DO YOU PROTECT MY IMAGES?

There is anywhere between one to eight weeks that can be expected for typical wedding image delivery.

As well all know, especially in this digital era, life moves in instants not weeks. So what happens if your photographer’s home or studio burns down? Do they have off site backup? Do they use multiple forms of storage? When they are shooting on the day do their cameras have multiple memory cards and do they shoot everything with JPG+RAW to both slots?

There are a lot of ways to lose your images BUT just as many ways to keep them safe. A real pro will know them all. Make sure you talk to your photographer about what they do to make that happen for you.

There are a lot of ways to lose your images BUT just as many ways to keep them safe.


LGEmerick Photography Wedding

WILL YOU SHOW ME AN ENTIRE WEDDING YOU HAVE PHOTOGRAPHED?

I don’t know how to emphasize this one enough.

In an era of instagram and facebook and Wedding Wire/The Knot being these flag posts of single amazing images from weddings it is easy to steal an entire portfolio and make it look like something you may have shot. But did they really?

If your photographer is a professional, they will have several recent weddings at their fingertips to easily show you (remember the digital galleries? They are a quick link away from any professional!). They will also have contractual permission (because real professionals use contracts) from the bride and groom of said wedding to share with you so you can see a representation of their work.

This is so crucial.

You need to see how they capture the entire day and not just the highlights to make sure that you love their work as much as you think you do.

Again: a true pro will have no issue doing this.


LGEmerick Photography Weddings

IF YOU MISS A BIG MOMENT - THEN WHAT?

Look.

Weird stuff happens.

Even stone cold professionals have things go wrong on a level to which no one could actually prepare. That is just the name of the game.

But at the end of the day, we have a game plan for this. We know how to work around it, to know we missed something in the moment and potentially restage it.

If we miss it entirely (which 99.8% of the time will not happen with a true professional) we will have a standard practice to make it up for you. It looks different for everyone, but pros have worst case scenario plans. So just ask us :)


LGEmerick PHotography Weddings

DO YOU ACTUALLY LIKE THEM?

At the end of the day: this is actually a really freaking big deal.

Your photographer is going to be there from the start to finish of your day. They will be there when you are getting makeup done, hanging with your dudes, getting dressed, have your first looks… if you don’t vibe with them or feel uncomfortable with them at all they may not be a great fit. You may really like their shots, but at the end of the day this is your big event. You want to be comfortable, relaxed, and confident that the professionals your have hired will take care of everything you need them to.

So make sure you like the person. Make sure communication flows easily and you just, ya know, get each other.

I promise: this is worth the extra effort.

You want to be comfortable, relaxed, and confident that the professionals your have hired will take care of everything you need them to.


Anyway - did I miss anything?

Let me know!