Frequently Asked Questions
A message from Chris:
I’ve been a full time professional wedding photographer for over 20 years, so I know that choosing a photographer for your wedding is a big decision.
Remember, unlike doctors, engineers, plumbers, and architects, photographers don’t need to pass a test before they start charging for their services! The best way to choose the right photographer is to let your eyes be your judge!
If you’d like to learn more about my approach to wedding photography in the El Paso or Las Cruces areas, feel free to look at my past work. Please feel free to read through the questions below or contact me directly at (575) 618-9442 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I can’t wait to help make your wedding unforgettable!
The Most Important Questions to Ask Every Photographer You’re Considering...
and Chris's answers:
1. What made you choose wedding photography as your lifelong career and what do you like about it the most?
I've had a passion for photographing people since I was 12 years old and discovered that weddings provided an excellent opportunity for me to indulge in that passion! I also love being a documentarian and have always felt great satisfaction capturing images of important events in the lives of my friends and family as well as my clients. It gives me tremendous joy knowing that my photographs will continue to be enjoyed for many decades to come. I feel honored that the albums that I produce will become one of the most cherished possessions that my clients own and that they will be passed down through the generations. Just think about how you feel when you look at your parent's or grandparent's wedding albums and how much your children and grandchildren will enjoy looking at yours!
2. What should I look for when I’m looking at a photographer’s work?
The most important question to ask yourself is: Does their photography inspire me? I hope that my photography inspires you! That should be your number one reason for considering any photographer! Here are a few other things to look for when looking at a photographer’s website or portfolio or when you meet with them:
• Do their photos look like they should be in a magazine or do they look like ordinary snapshots that anyone could take?
• Do skin tones look natural, or is there an unnatural color cast?
• Does skin look beautiful and healthy or does it look oily? Are there noticeable blemishes or dark circles under people’s eyes?
• Does the color and brightness look consistently good, or are there some photos that look too light, too dark, or the color is off?
• Do the posed photos look natural, or do they look stiff, boring, contrived, or too silly?
• Do the people look attractive and comfortable in their clothes?
• Are the backgrounds of the portraits beautiful?
• Does the photographer rely too heavily on “special effects”? Do these effects appeal to you or would you rather that most of the photos look more natural?
• Does the photographer pressure you to sign the contract before you leave the first meeting?
• Do they keep their prices a ‘secret’ until you’ve sat through a long sales presentation?
• Are they offering you a special deal if you sign right away rather than having time to think about it or interview other photographers? Would they offer you the same price if you wanted to think about it for a week?
3. How can we be sure to have photos that look like the best ones in your portfolio?
The best photos are always a team effort between myself and my clients. The best photos in my portfolio were created with clients who appreciate quality photography and are willing to dedicate the necessary time and cooperation. There is also an element of 'luck' that no one can control; such as the weather, time of day, available lighting, and locations (chosen by the couple). Please contact me if you would like to discuss this in more detail.
4. How long have you been in business?
Like almost any profession, the more experience a photographer has the better! I’ve been a professional wedding photographer for over 20 years. I’ve photographed over 1,000 events. I’ve encountered and dealt with every lighting situation you can imagine; from candle lit ceremonies to blazing bright sun and everything in between.
My years of experience allow me to react quickly and to grab those great shots when other, less experienced photographers might fumble.
5. Are you a full time photographer?
Wedding photography is one of those jobs that someone could do as a hobby or “on the side” since most weddings are on the weekend. However, there’s no doubt that being a full time pro distinguishes a photographer as being truly dedicated. For me, photography is not just a hobby that I make a little extra cash on; it’s what my life is all about.
6. Are you available to contact 7 days/week?
Part-time photographers usually have a “day job” or perhaps children to tend to. As long as I am not in the middle of a wedding or photo session (or the rare vacation) I am available 7 days a week to talk and answer your questions.
7. Will you be the one who photographs my wedding, or do you hire other photographers to do it for you?
Some photographers choose to expand their business opportunities by hiring other less experienced photographers to shoot for them. I prefer to photograph every wedding myself.
8. Do you do all the editing and album design yourself, or do you hire that out?
A third-party image editing service is not going to provide the type of personal touch, passion, and dedication as a pro photographer who does all of this work him or herself. You want the person editing your photos to be the same person who took the photos and who understands you and your vision. That’s why I do all of the design and editing myself.
9. Have you won any awards?
Awards aren’t everything but they do show that a photographer has the skills and talent to impress their peers. I’ve won over 30 first place awards including Best Wedding Album of the Year 5 times. I've also been inducted into The Knot Hall of Fame and received the couples' choice award for photography on WeddingWire.
10. Can you give me more than just a couple of referrals? And, do you have online reviews that I can look at?
Even more important than awards are reviews and referrals from real clients! I currently have over 100 Five Star reviews from satisfied clients on a number of websites, including: The Knot .com WeddingWire.com MyWedding.com Yelp Facebook and Google Reviews. Please click on any of the following to read those reviews:
• The Knot
11. Is it a good idea to set some time aside to do some “planned” photography?
Most of the time that I am with you, I will be working in the “candid photojournalist mode,” but I believe that the time we set aside to do portraits is like insurance – insurance that you will get fabulous photographs that you love of all the important people involved in your wedding day.
I usually recommend setting aside about 1 to 2 hours for portraits, depending on how many you want and the size of your wedding.
12. Are you open to suggestions for photos even if the example was taken by a different photographer?
I always take the time to learn as much as possible about what’s most important to you. Some clients like to give me examples from other photographers that they like. That’s no problem. I’d love to see what inspires you!
13. Do you offer “HDR” photographs?
Some people like HDR photos (High Dynamic Range). If the conditions are right and you are interested, I am very experienced with HDR photos. It takes a little extra time but the results are often quite stunning!
Just ask me if you’d like to learn more about HDR photos and whether they’re a good choice for you.
14. Will you contact and coordinate with my other wedding vendors?
If we agree it’s a good idea, I will be glad to contact other vendors that you will be using. The most important ones for me to be in contact with are the event coordinators at the ceremony site and reception site. Sometimes it’s a good idea for me to contact your videographer (if you are using one) and I always make contact with your DJ or band as soon as I get to your reception.
If there is anyone else you’d like me to be in contact with (parents, etc.) I will be glad to do that as well. My clients often rely on me for important decisions regarding the timeline of the day because they knew how much experience I have.
15. How long will it be before I get to see the online gallery of my wedding?
I promise to have them posted within 2 weeks after your wedding. 95% of the time I have them posted within just 4 days. Your private website will be available for viewing indefinitely! No expiration date! You can even create your own slideshows with the images of your choice and view them indefinitely on any device!
16. How many photos do you take?
At a typical size wedding, I usually take 700 to 1500 images. I focus more on quality than quantity while also making sure I capture all the images that are most important to you.
Your primary website with edited images will typically have about 200 to 500 images, depending on the number of people at your wedding and the amount of activity.
17. Will my website images be edited?
Yes. I go through all of your images, pick the best ones, and adjust for the proper color and brightness. These images are the ones that go onto your primary website and which you will be receiving on a disc at full resolution and with no watermarks.
All of the outtakes are also available, if you want them, so you can see every single image that I took.
18. Do you simply ‘dump’ every image you take onto the website or disc?
Many photographers post every single image they captured on one website. Those websites can be very tedious to view since they include all the bad images and duplicates. My client websites are far easier and more enjoyable to view since they contain just the best edited images.
19. Do you use professional gear? What about lighting?
There is a reason why the professional cameras I use cost $6,000 each. It’s because they are fast, reliable and allow the photographer to capture more and better images. If a photographer is using an amateur-grade camera, they are taking unnecessary chances with your wedding photos. Amateur cameras are more likely to fail under the rigorous use that cameras get at weddings. I don’t take that chance -- your wedding day is too important.
I even have at least 2 of every piece of equipment I need for your wedding as a backup. I also use multiple lights for portraits and during the reception as needed. I use natural light as often as possible, but sometimes natural light just doesn’t provide the right conditions for truly beautiful photos, so I am always fully prepared.
20. Do you offer a lifetime guarantee on wedding albums?
When it comes to your physical wedding album, I use a company called Classic Album. They’ve been in business for over 50 years and only sell to established professional photographers. They make beautiful high quality albums that are made to last a lifetime. That’s why they also offer a lifetime guarantee on the workmanship of your album.
There is no question that a professionally produced album will far outlive a cheaper one purchased on an online photo album site.
21. Can I view the album design before it gets printed?
Absolutely! After I design your album, you’ll get to view it online and make changes if you like. Once you let me know you’re happy with it, the album gets printed and bound for you. The digital version will remain online indefinitely so that you can show it off to anyone with any device for years to come. There is no expiration date!
22. When you look at a photographers work, are white dresses, flowers and cakes “blown out” (no detail – just a white blob)?
Bright items such as wedding gowns, light flowers and cakes will get “blown out” (no detail – just pure white) if they’re not edited properly.
I edit your photos so that you can see every detail of your dress, cake, and everything else you want to remember from your wedding -- both online and in finished prints.
23. Do you check out my venue beforehand?
Yes! Previewing the venue is an important part of any wedding photography project. I always arrive at least one hour early (sometimes more) so that I have it completely scoped out before the start of the photography. I don’t charge for that time.
24. What if we don’t know how much time we need or we want to go to different locations for photos?
No problem! I’m happy to work with you to help estimate how much time you’ll need depending on the size of your wedding and the number of locations.
If you’re curious about a ballpark estimate, I usually recommend starting with 7 hours which is usually enough to cover all of the portraits, the ceremony, and the most important events at the reception.
If you want to go to multiple locations for photos, I recommend hiring a limo so no one has to worry about parking or someone getting lost.
25. What makes "7" the 'majic number'?
As a result of photographing many hundreds of weddings, I have discovered that 7 hours of coverage is the perfect amount of coverage for about 99% of all weddings. This covers everything that you would want a professional to capture, from 'getting ready' to the last important event at your reception. Photographers who offer 'unlimited coverage' are actually charging you for 12-15 hours even though you really only need about 7 hours.
Also; everyone has a cell phone camera at weddings and they will be taking hundreds of candids at your wedding! There is a great service that I highly recommend for your guests to easily up-load their candid photos to. It's called WedPics.com
26. Describe the Engagement portrait session.
For only $495, I will meet you at a location of your choice in the El Paso/Las Cruces area for a fun engagemnet session that lasts about 30 minutes to an hour; until we all feel satisfied that we captured some great photos! This also includes 4 touched up 8x10 prints OR 4 touched up digital files sized to 8"x10".
27. Do you have an assistant working with you?
It depends on the size of the wedding. At larger weddings, I usually have an assistant (usually, my wife, Jennifer) help during the portrait session to help it go more efficiently.