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Tips for hiring a wedding photographer

Have you ever been on an awkward date when both of you literally had nothing to talk about and nothing in common?

The only way to break the ice was to ask boring questions in hopes of having a good night while enjoying a cocktail or three. Well, hiring someone to capture your day can sort of being like that if you don’t have an idea of what you want.

In the Central Coast, there are 200 great photographers and all of them want to work with you. There are another 200 that just bought a kit camera from Costco and think they can handle the most important day of your life without knowing the basics of photography.

So who do you hire?

Here are some questions to ask and why to really see if they could be the one while hiring a wedding photographer:

1. What is your experience of wedding photography and how many weddings have you photographed?

Everyone has to start somewhere, but capturing a wedding is not a beginner task. Most photographers learn the ins and outs of wedding photography by second shooting for an established photographer. Sure, hiring a newbie wedding photographer is great for the budget but you cannot get time back. If they mess up, you are out of luck. This happened to me at my wedding 17 years ago. I went with a newbie with very little experience because the price was great. Well, I only got 2 pictures that I liked. The photographer didn’t bring a flash in a dark ceremony space and they didn’t know how to pose or even edit. I was devastated. The only pictures I have were from my wedding guests.

2. What does your fee include and exclude? Don’t make a mistake thinking everything is included.

3. How long will it take to get my photos? The average is 3 weeks to 3 months.

4. Do you have liability insurance and licenses?

This is very important for so many reasons but it helps you see if they are truly serious about their business.

5. How do you handle a low light situation?

You do not want someone that simply says they higher the ISO. You want someone to say they have flashes and off camera flashes.

6. Do you shoot Raw or Jpeg files?

Raw is the only way to go because it doesn’t limit the photos quality.

7. Have you worked with my wedding planner before?

Have you worked at my venue before?  It’s not a deal breaker but important to know.

8. What will you be wearing at my wedding?

This one is funny. I had a friend that got married in 2007 and I asked her if she liked her wedding photos (from another photographer) and she said she liked the pictures but hated the experience. The photographer wore jeans with holes and a bright orange shirt that had stains. You should always be aware of while hiring a wedding photographer.

All her wedding guests thought she hired a hitchhiker. He stood out like a sore thumb in her formal, expensive wedding. It distracted from her day and regretted not asking beforehand. It’s best to know what to expect. Jeans are a no-no unless you are having a backyard bbq wedding.

9. What is the hardest part of your job?

If you cannot get an honest answer to move along. If they say they don’t know, it could be they are out of touch with their business.

10. How many pictures will I receive?

For an 8 hour wedding with one photographer, it should be close to 400-600 and with a second shooter it should be 700-1000. This is an important question to weed out a “spray and pray photographer.” Some beginner photographers take a million photos just hoping to get a few good ones. A great photographer should know their gear so well, they don’t need to overshoot to give you the shots you want.

and then once you have gotten to know them a bit…

Why should I hire you?

Think I missed one? Please let me know below. Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

Jaydyn Blair Photography portraits




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