How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from BR88. Show BR88's posts

    How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    I'm trying to decide between two photographers and am really struggling with which one to choose.

    Photographer A has some amazing photos on his website and in albums we saw.  However, stylistically we have some concerns.  Two of his major artisitic touches that we find troubling 1)to have a shadow over 1/2 the face during a portrait 2) Having the sun in the background.  We spoke to him about this and he seems very agreeable to photographing how we want things, but it is hard to trust that he is not just saying what we want to hear.  I'm waiting to hear back on references about him.

    That said, we really like his personality, he is easy to work with and just overall nice and laid back.


    Photographer B takes amazing pictures.  He is slightly pricier than Photographer A.  He likes to talk a lot which at times can be annoying and has been unclear about certain pricing and what that includes.   It is uncertain whether he just thinks differently than we do or whether he is just not being forthright.
    That said he has answered our questions even when we have asked them multiple times to better understand.

    Photographer C photographed my sister's wedding 12 years ago.  He took good photographs back then, but we haven't seen any of his recent work.  I have one concern about angles, but I think that is easily negotiable.  We're getting married out of town so we were hoping to see recent work on his website, but it is under construction.  At the moment we are waiting for him to give a CD to my parents and have them upload it to send to us.  He is a possibility, but not a strong one since we don't know his current stuff.  He also has someone else interested in our date, so this could be a non-issue soon.

    Who would you choose and why?
    Thanks for your help in advance!
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    I'd either go with Photographer B or keep looking.  Photographer A sounds good, but if you don't love some of his style preferences, I woudln't book him.  He may think he can do what you want, but usually photographers have a natural method of shooting that they like and are used to.  He might try to do what you want, but when they are working so quickly like they do at a wedding, he will probably default to his natural style.  So if you have concerns about that, I woudln't use him.

    Photographer B sounds good, but it doesn't sound like you are ready to book him.  Make sure you know exactly what you are getting in your package and get it all in writing in the contract.  If there are any concerns, ask until you understand and get it in writing.  A lot of brides end up disappointed because they assumed they understood something and turns out they didn't.

    Personality is important, but truthfully, on our wedding day we didn't spend much time talking to our photographer.  She was usually in the background photographing us, not talking to us.  So I'd say the quality of the photographs and how much you like them is the most important thing to book on.  After the wedding, you aren't going to care how much you got along with your photog, you are only going t care about whether you like your photos or not.  Good luck!
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    Did you mean to leave out option C?  That's who I'd vote for.  Photographers do not get worse over the years if they've stayed in business and/or kept up with photography.  If he's taken a 12 year hiatus with the camera on the shelf, that's another story.  Maybe he's rusty.

    But, barring C being an option, I'd go with B because you like his work.

    Photog A might just not be CAPABLE of taking good photos, I mean who on God's green earth takes photos with the sun behind the subjects or with 1/2 the faces in shadow.  Maybe for "artistic" shots, but not for general wedding purposes.  Sure, he'll promise to do better, but we all know what that means.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    I wouldn't hire anyone if you don't know what the price is and what the package includes.  Figure that out and then pick the photographer whose style most matches your own. 
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    Oh, yeah, that goes without saying.  Know the package and what you're getting before signing anything.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from BR88. Show BR88's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    Thank you everyone.  I do know the prices for each and have been clarifying with Photographer B about what exactly he means for each item in the contract because I don't want any surprises.

    I didn't mean to leave Photographer C out of the lineup, I hit send too quickly and then couldn't figure out how to put it back in the poll.  My concern about him is he did my sister's wedding pre-digital photography and it seems that he is not up-to-date on using a computer (he didn't know how to email us images through Picasa or any other online site.)  I'm not sure how/whether digital editing might be different from using a dark room.  It's also really difficult to evaluate someone's photography when I'm looking at pictures of my family!

    I'm running into a time problem now because I waited too long and this process has taken much longer than I thought.  It's also frustrating because when I finally picked the photographer that I wanted, she told me she was no longer available for my wedding, even though I had spoken with her 2 weeks earlier and she had been available.

    Thank you so much for your feedback!
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    Digital photography is extremely different than film photography, both in taking the photos and especially in editing.  I would not hire a photographer now who is not very experienced with digital.  If Photog C doesn't even have a website with a sample gallery online, I honestly wouldn't even consider him.

    Also, if you are going with digital, make sure you know if you are getting the digital negatives or not with a print release (if you want them).  There is a whole thread about this somewhere from a bride who was disappointed because she didn't get what she thought she was getting.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    I'd find out point blank from C how much experience he has with digital - make sure to get proof (no pun intended), not just take his word for it, and using a digital SLS at family events doesn't count.  If he doesn't have much digital experience, I agree with trex, move on.  There's a lot more to photography than being good at composition.  And, like trex said, there a world of technical details that differ between film and digital.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from venforknot. Show venforknot's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    I would also say talkto B, keep getting clarity, or keep looking.  I feel like I could name the photographers you're talking about.lol. I had 3 exactly similar experiences. We met with one photographer whose work I liked but he just wouldn't stop talking and he sent me 30 emails after our inital meeting and I felt like we was waayyy too high maintenance! Another one had the exact shots you describe in A (probably the same person) and another one I met had been in business forever and took great pics but just hadn't kept up with the technology as well as the others.

    I kept looking and found someone who would do everything I wanted. I paid a little more than I wanted for it but I think it will be worth it in the end. (it wasn't way off budget, just a pinch)

    The good news is there's plenty of GOOD photographers in MA and only a finite amount of weddings on your day. Maybe look outside your geographic area a litttle if you're not already? It'll expand your options and photographers do travel!
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    You know it's not against BDC policy to name the photogs.  Maybe people DO have experience with them they can share to help you.

    Nothing is slanderous, not even negative things, unless it's proved to be both untrue and that you knew it was untrue when you said it.  And, the advertising rule only applies to the vendors themselves.

    So, I'm really not sure what the point of saying A, B, and C really is...
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from BR88. Show BR88's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    Thanks everyone.  The wedding is not in Massachusetts, so it doesn't matter if I name them, because people here probably wouldn't know them.  I got a bunch of recommendations on photographers from a similar board where I'm getting married, but the ones people tend to use were already taken.  I was a little surprised since we're getting married on a Sunday, but I did wait too long :( 

    My parents have the CD of photos for Photographer C-(Kip) and are trying to figure out how to upload them to send me.  But now I have some really good questions to ask him if we like his photographs.  I'm feeling less guilty about not wanting to pursue A-(Dave,) so thank you for the reality check!    So now it's a matter of whether I like Kip or photographer B (Jeff) and whether I can continue to get clarify from Jeff on exactly what each thing means.

    When you were all dealing with getting rights to the digital images was there a difference between RAW files or other files?  That was very confusing to me and I think we clarified it with Jeff, but I didn't have that problem or conversation with other photographers, they just said they would include the rights and the DVD of the images (or gave me a price for what that would cost.)  It seems the RAW files require that we buy/download a program to be able to view them on our computer and would have to use that in order to then print them somewhere else....Did anyone else have this issue?  Also did they do any adjustments to the photo files you had (for light, composition or anything else,) or did they just give you the images without edits.

    Thanks!
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from Winter2011Bride. Show Winter2011Bride's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    Raw files are pictures that some high end DSLRs can take.  A program like  Photoshop usually is needed to open the RAW files.  I would doubt a professional photographer would give RAW files. I am getting RAW files but we have a family friend taking pictures and we own Photoshop.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    I have a bunch of RAW files and own Photoshop.  I've found it to be a pita to translate them to jpegs, but maybe that's because I don't know how to do a batch job to do them all at once (or even if there is such a way to do that) or how to use Photoshop very well. 

    Regardless, I hope photogs don't give digitals in that format.  We had a "friend" do it, and that's what we have.  Don't get me started on my overall photog experience.  Cry  Just make sure you DON'T have a "talented" friend do it. 
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    Yes, you should make sure to get the photos in a JPG or other common format, definitely not RAW!  RAW is nice if you are a photographer, it gives you the most flexibility in editing the images in post.  Most digital photographers will shoot in RAW because then they can adjust the images better when they edit them.  But if you aren't experienced, it is a pain in the butt!  Ideally if you are getting the digital negatives, the photographer will have done some basic correction to them or at least converted them to JPG so you can easily print them.  Also, the RAW file size is HUGE, so they'd probably have to give you several disks in order to give them to you and it can be very slow to work with them unless you have a fast computer.

    Any other questions, feel free to ask! 

    PS.  When are you getting married?  Is it coming up?  :)
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    if you plan on getting your photos blown up or edited at another time, then you want RAW files because they are the highest resolution possible, so they can be resized and edited without effecting the quality of the picture.

    For any other typical use like prints or web sharing, JPEG is fine.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from BR88. Show BR88's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    Thank you ladies!  Photographer B (Jeff) does give the RAW files.  He also provides a disk to look at that are not RAW but stated that we can't copy or print from that disk, only from the RAW photos, although I'm not sure why.  I don't get the sense he would convert them, or at least not without charging us, but I see the point of having the originals to be able to edit later.  We're trying to get references now for all the photographers, but are still leaning toward Jeff.  We got the pictures from Kip which look good, but I definitely have my concerns about the digital photography/technology piece.  If I can teach my parents over the phone how to upload to an online site, I would think a photographer should be able to do it himself!
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from WhirledPeasPlease. Show WhirledPeasPlease's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    One thing I'd recommend with any photog you choose is to get a DVD of all of the photos with permission to print them on your own. I love being able to print photos whenever I want to put in frames or give to family.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    I agree with WPP- you should get the rights to all your photos.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from BR88. Show BR88's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    Yes, the rights to print is a must!
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    and ask about watermarks. sometimes they'll give you the printing rights, but all of your photos will have their logo on them. that's no good.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    Pink, I've never seen how prominent watermarks like that are - do they ruin the pictures?  Would you definitely go with someone else if they say they're there and it's non-negotiable?
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from BR88. Show BR88's posts

    Re: How to choose a Photographer--Advice Needed

    Thank you so much everyone!
    We decided on photographer C, the one from my sister's wedding.
    While I had some concerns about the technology piece, his pictures still look great.  I also asked him about editing and he works with a lab, sitting next to them as they make the adjustments--he tells them what he wants.  If I didn't know him from before, I might not trust this, but I think he is an honest person and we all felt comfortable with what he had to say.  We also know exactly what we're getting and don't feel like he's trying to overcharge for an album or additional pictures.

    I feel less bad about not choosing photographer A since you all made great points!

    We did seriously consider B, but after several conversations, we all got the feeling there could be a surprise we weren't anticipating, and his price seemed to go up, so we decided not to work with him.

    If I had more time I might have continued looking, but I think we made a good choice and now have many other things to pick out.

    Thank you again for all your insight and support!!
     

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