To a wedding or any other event.
I could say – just choose me, and you will save some extra time for the other important thoughts (or doubts). But I won’t do it. Don’t decide in a hurry, because exactly photographer is the person who will keep some valuable moments of your lives for a long time.
I’ll tell you step by step how to choose a photographer.
Where you should look for
The first step is to make a list of those photographers you like. Or even if you don’t know whether their works are good, anyway put them in a list, because later you’ll choose several of them.
1. Social media
If you use Instagram, start looking by the help of hashtag.
#weddingphotographer #photographerbishkek #weddingpic and so on. Those photographers who use such hashtags will appear in your list.
You can use the same strategy, and type ‘photographer’ in the search line. It isn’t supposed to be the top best photographers in the city. You’re likely to see the list of those people who are somehow connected with your friends. For example, your friends subscribed several photographers. The other in the list – who maintain an Instagram page.
What about quality? For this step it doesn’t matter. Just write down the name of a photographer if you like their works. Even if you have a list of 10, 20, 100 of them in your list.
How to google I bet you know.
So, write ‘wedding photographer’, or ‘photographer Bishkek’. You can see 1) some ads 2) some links to photographers’ websites 3) some posts or articles 4) maybe some Instagram ads.
Don’t ignore the ads. To have it in Google, first of all, there has to be a website. Secondly, a photographer has to know how everything works. If a photographer has done it, their works must be at least good. You aren’t supposed to like the style, but quality should be higher in comparison with those who created an account on Instagram only yesterday.
A website can be without any ads. It’s also good. Believe me, create a website, develop and improve it is a huge work. An amateur photographer isn’t likely to do such a work.
The photographers you find are certain to be in the list of the best. If no, just add anyone you like.
3. Special websites and forums
Mywed.com is a website where you can find works of photographers from all over the world. You can use the searching on cities there. The best on this web is rating. You can see the best pictures, how long photographers have worked, and how other people evaluated his works.
Bulletin boards like lalafo или diesel.forum are also a good chose to add your list.
4. Family and friend
Ask your close people who recently had a wedding, or any type of event. Ask whether they liked a photographer. Of course, this would be a personal opinion, but they can give you such type of information you can’t find on the Internet. If the photographer was polite, or late. If they could listen to people. Whether it was a nice experience to work with them, etc.
Look at the pics your family, or friends got. If you like them, put that photographer in the list.
5. Wedding planners’, or other professionals’ recommendations
Usually wedding planners work with several photographers, and they can recommend some of them. If you don’t have such photographers in your list, ask for their works, e.g. their portfolio, to figure out if you like them. The benefit of it is that these photographers have been experienced by others. So, they are likely to do their job well. Just keep in mind that sometimes wedding planners and photographers have an agreement to work, and promote each other. Pay attention to your emotions, and feelings.
As regards, others weddings specialists’ comments (I’m not talking about wedding planners now), be careful, because in some cases there is a lot of personal interest. Lust keep in mind a photographer since you don’t have to decide immediately. Pay attention to a photographer who can catch interesting moments. This person might be a photographer you’re looking for.
What you should pay attention to in portfolio
At this stage look through your list. You probably already have your personal opinion about many of them now. Some of them you just don’t like. Also keep in mind that every photographer specializes in certain style in photography. We can take pictures of different things, but usually a photographer who takes pictures of food isn’t likely to be good at working at the wedding, and I can say the same about a wedding photographers.
That’s why look at what the photographers you choose can do better than others. If you see a lot of wonderful pictures of fashion shows, or posters for magazines, but few pictures of weddings, and they’re usual, probably this photographer isn’t for your wedding.
If you want to make something groovy, crazy, and creative photo session, but you can see pictures of a love story in a field, or a garden, you should also think carefully if the person can do what you want.
The second important thing – style, and serve. A beautiful, one-color decorated ribbon, or there’re a lot of photos from only one wedding, the same photo correction, and filters are used every time – all of it are some ideas why you should start worrying. Maybe a photographer just takes a small number of pictures, to create a nice look of an account in social networks. Or maybe it’s just their limit of abilities. Then they can’t show your individuality. In this case just ask for a portfolio.
Also – emotions. If you look at the photos of one exact photographer, and you feel nothing, I would strongly recommend you not to think about this person anymore. Photos are your memory.
What you should keep in mind before the meeting
A lot of information about the person you get at the meeting, of course. But before getting an appointment, write or call them, and describe what you want as accurately as possible.
For example, out wedding day is on the XX September, in XXX hotel. We have 30-50 people, we need a photographer for a day, from the morning till the evening.
And ask several questions, as: Can you take our photos somewhere else on the other day, now at the wedding? Can we see photos from the party? Can you take picture of every guest next to a wedding cake?
Your aim is to know if a photographer’s free, if they’re ready to do what you want. If no, what he can suggest.
You can start to sum up some results, and draw conclusions. For instance, if a person tells you that they offer standard service, then you’ll probably get standard photos. If a photographer suggests you plenty of ideas, it’s good, but ask about their experience. Because sometimes new photographers are full of unrealized notions.
By the way, talking about experience. What do you think, whether it’s important how long a photographer’s been working?
On the one hand – yes. There’re some skills, you can get only after practicing. On the other hand, if a person has been working for 40 years, and doing the same things, this photographer can’t be creative, and open-minded for new ideas. There’re some exceptions, of course. You should look for the balance. Don’t forget to ask about the price for work, and what you pay for. The last is very important. Sometimes because of misunderstanding a photographer asks for 1000 soms, others – 10, 000 dollars. In the first case, one zero can be lost. In the other – a photographer has a super high level of confidence, a naive guy.
What questions should be asked at the meeting
Any you have in your mind. Every fear, doubt, concern.
What if a camera breaks?
What if we’re late for somewhere?
How long does image processing take?
How long are you going to be with us?
Is it included in the price? What about it? And that?
How should we get dressed? What about the pose? Shall we stand, or lie down? What shall we do now?
Try to tell in details what you’re going to have at your event. I know that sometimes you have no idea what should be done, or you know a little. But try to tell what you really want to have.
Comments. How to get them
After talking to the photographers your list will be shorter. Some of them will be busy, or you may not like the price, or you just don’t like the person. If you have only several photographers, it’s time to read some comments about them.
Find those people who worked with a photographer (preferably not long ago). How can you do it? Ask a photographer to sent you it. Or you can find their clients in the comments in the social medias. Write them, and ask if they are happy, if they got what they wanted, and what they can tell about a photo session in general. You need to do it if you still doubt, or you can’t choose between several photographers.
How to avoid a bad service
First of all, it’s a contract. Read contract terms carefully.
Check the terms about a price. What’s the deadline to give your pictures. What kind of responsibility a photographer has if they’re late, don’t come, or lose your photos. Talk about every condition you consider as doubtful, or unreliable.
Secondly, your questions and discussions.
At the meeting ask them what will be done in case if you have an emergency. Bad weather when it’s impossible to work. Or changing dates of the even, or even canceling it. What if a photographer is sick, etc. Ask whether they have other people who they can rely on in such cases. Maybe you’d like to add something in the contract.
Thirdly, you should have plan B.
If a photographer cancels a photo session, but you still have an even, it’s better to have some people in mind who can replace that person. They’re likely to be in your list, who you didn’t like so much. But in an emergency you’ll have to choose – or you will do nothing, or you won’t pay attention to some negative aspects.
I hope this advice is useful for you, and it can help you to choose a photographer.