6 Questions You Must Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Choosing the right wedding photographer is important.  After your wedding the only thing you’ll have other than memories will be the photos.  With all the expenses of the day, this one is arguably the most important.

For my wedding, one of my tasks was to choose the photographer.  I mostly decided based on photos I found online and really liked.  There were several great photographers that had actually done weddings at our venue, so it was easy to see how ours might come out. After finding a few photographers that were available and within budget, I came up with the following list of questions:

1.  Can I see a full wedding’s photos?

Photographers post only their best work online.  A full set of wedding photos will not look exactly like the small set that were hand selected for a website or social sharing.  Asking to see the whole wedding will show the total quality of the photos for an event.  It may be that only two or three photos turned out well from the wedding.  This is also a great time to see their technique in different scenarios.  Will your wedding be at night?  Ask to see a night wedding.  Can this photographer handle low light situations?  Mastering off camera flash isn’t easy for someone that normally shoots in natural light.  Would you be happy if this set of wedding photos is what was delivered to you?

2.  Are you insured?

You are going to want to make sure you are dealing with a professional, and that the professional is insured.  Insurance covers a wide variety of scenarios that rarely occur, but do happen.  Ask them about their contingency plans.  What happens if they get sick, have car trouble, or get hit by a bus the day of the wedding?  Pick someone that has an answer to these what-if scenarios.

3.  How many weddings have you shot as the primary photographer?

Experience is important.  A photographer may claim to have shot over 20 weddings, but this could have been done as a second shooter.  This experience is good, but you want to make sure your photographer has a good sense of timing, knows the shots to take, has experienced some challenges, and can manage their own second shooter.  The primary photographer is also generally in charge of the editing and handling the business/contract side.  A person with greater experience will also likely be more expensive.  If you’re looking to save money, choosing someone with less experience may be the way to go.  I would make sure that they have done at least 15 weddings as the primary.

4.  What are your deliverables?

You want to know what you are paying for.  Are you going to receive physical prints or digital images or both?  Can you make your own prints or do you need to buy them from the photographer?  Will the package include an engagement session?  These deliverables generally drive the price.

5.  What is the turnaround time on a final product?

You want to know when you’re going to receive your wedding photos.  A busy photographer can take a long time to go through and edit photos.  Don’t be shocked if a busy photographer says it will take 30 days.  You may prefer someone that can deliver them sooner, and will commit to two weeks instead of 4-6 for example.  If you do not ask, the photographer may take their time, and deliver the photos months after the event.

6.  Do you have backup equipment?

Backup equipment is required.  Equipment fails all the time, you want to make sure your photographer and their secondary shooters are covered in these cases.  Make sure they are going to bring multiple cameras, batteries, flashes, and memory cards.  Are they prepared for bad weather if it occurs?

 

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Going Mirrorless

The Reason(s)

I made the switch from mirrored to mirrorless one year ago.  As a non professional, the transition for me was based mostly on use of the system. I found that my camera bag was incredibly heavy and too bulky to use.  I had been looking into trying out a mirrorless system since more and more people had been converting.  I saw some amazing shots on the mirrorless system.  Finally, after a recent trip to Mexico, where I decided it was too much of a hassle to bring my gear… I knew it was time to make a change.

My canon gear consisted of the following:

  • Canon 5D Mark II
  • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L
  • Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
  • Canon EF 40mm f/2.8

This represents a large, for me, investment in the Canon system.

This bag was heavy.  Very capable, but a pain to carry around hiking and traveling in general.  I was basically using my cell phone for taking pictures in both of these situations that I most likely found myself in.

I decided on keeping my older Cannon Rebel T2i body with 2 EF-S lenses (kit lens and the 55-250mm).  These are worth almost nothing in trade, but still have some capability if I want to use a DSLR in the future.  It will also work as a good spare or primary camera if I can convince my wife to go out shooting with me.  I have managed to do this twice in the last five years.

The Trade

I traded my cannon gear at my local brick and mortar for the Fujifilm XT-10 and comparable lenses.  I chose the brick and mortar, because its a good shop with good people, I feel good supporting small business, and I was able to get a good value in trade.  I could have done a bit better if sold things online, but I preferred to get things done quickly with a lot less hassle.

I chose the X-T10 since it had the same functionality of the X-T1, including the exact same sensor at a fraction of the price.  I do miss the weather sealing, but I rarely use electronics in the rain, even my IP68 Samsung Galaxy S7.  Over the summer I was caught in a very intense thunderstorm while hiking in Shenandoah.  The camera survived.

With the trade I was able to get a brand new camera and the lenses to cover me from 10-200mm. For the above cannon gear, I was able to trade for the following:

  • Fujifilm X-T10 (new)
  • Fujifilm 10-24mm f/4
  • Fujifilm 18-55mm f/2.8-4 (new)
  • Fujifilm 55-200mm f/3.5 – 4.8
  • Battery Charger (new)
  • 2x Batteries (new)
  • $300 credit towards a prime

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The Results

Since day one, I’ve been happy with the trade.  I have carried the camera around a lot more than my previous one.  My camera bag dropped it’s weight in roughly half.  It went from 8lbs 2oz (3680g) down to 3lb 11oz(4lb 60z (1693 g).  This is significant, and a lot easier to take around.  With the exception of the telephoto, which I only use rarely, any configuration of body/lens with the Fuji weighs less than my Cannon 5dm2 body alone.

I have also picked two additional lenses. The Fujifilm 23mm f/1.4 and Zeiss 32mm f/1.8 (effectively 35mm and 50mm primes).  One of the bonuses of switching to Fuji is the price of lenses.  The equivalent Cannon lens (35mm f/1.4) goes for around $1000.  This may be an apples and oranges scenario, but from my experience these Fuji lenses are sharp.  Here is an interesting comparison of the two.  In general Fuji gear (bodies/lenses) are roughly 65% of the price of the Cannon equivalent.  For someone like myself, a non-pro with a family on a budget, it’s nice having an option of purchasing high quality gear.

With the new camera, I have been able to take a lot shots that I have been proud of this year.  Here are just a few of them:

In short, I traded a very capable camera for another very capable camera that I will have on me more often.  As the technology changes, I feel like I’m in a system where the future cost of upgrade is a lot more comfortable.

Connecticut Trip

I’m still trying to work out the overall theme of this site. I think the majority of content will be related to photography. I may also add a few posts at random that are off topic, but are things that interest me.

With 2015 coming to a close, I have had some interest in starting a 365 project in the new year. I know I won’t have the discipline to last more than a week or two, so I may aim slightly lower, or to at least have the goal of shooting at least once a week. I have a large backlog of topics I’d like to post about here, just need to find some time. In between, I might post links to recent images and provide some back story on the location and the thought process to how the image was created.

I took a recent trip to Connecticut.  The main purpose was to visit with family and friends for the holidays, but I also ended up doing some exploring around New England. Most landscapes in New England are a lot more impressive during the Summer and Fall seasons.  There still are a few interesting locations to see during the winter.  Here are some photos from the trip.

I’m still trying to work out the overall theme of this site.  I think the majority of content will be related to photography.  I may also add a few posts at random that are off topic, but are things that interest me.

With 2015 coming to a close, I have had some interest in starting a 365 project in the new year.  I know I won’t have the discipline to last more than a week or two, so I may aim slightly lower, or to at least have the goal of shooting at least once a week.  I have a large backlog of topics I’d like to post about here, just need to find some time.  In between, I might post links to recent images and provide some back story on the location and the thought process to how the image was created.