What should you find out before hiring your wedding photographer?

Hiring a wedding photographer is a big deal. Make sure you know what to look for and the right questions to ask. We’ve also taken this opportunity to share how we would answer the questions here at Pabst Photo. If you have a question and cannot find the answer, please call us at 812-841-9055 (Josh) or visit our Contact Page – and we will get back to you quickly.

What is your wedding photography style?

You might hear a wedding photographer claim shoot in a style such as traditional, photojournalism, or lifestyle – but what does that all really mean? Every wedding photographer is in fact shooting in the photojournalism style. Don’t worry so much about the words – look at the pictures. Are they grainy and dark? Is that a look you like? Are they colorful and vivid? Is that a look you like? This is one of the questions that should be very important to every bride and groom. These pictures will be your ultimate keep-sake and memory for your big day – so you had better like the style your photographer is shooting – and think about whether you will still like it in ten years. What that means is you shouldn’t get caught up in some fad style like frames, off coloring and in general, camera phone style filtering. Traditional or photojournalism – good album has elements of both. You have to look at the photographs to see a style – look at ours and decide if you like it. I don’t agree with photographers labeling themselves as one sort or another. When you see a photographer’s work and you like it – then you like their style. Sure, we capture candid, unposed moments of the events and details of your day. But if you hear a photographer say they don’t do any posing – all that means is they don’t know how. Great photographs don’t happen by accident. Especially when there are large groups involved – like the wedding party.

What kind of equipment does your photographer use?

Hopefully your photographer is using state of the art DSLR cameras. Hopefully they are using professional grade lenses (L-Series in the case of Canon). Find out if your photographer has backup equipment – what if the camera breaks? On the backend – what kind of backup does the photographer have on the computer in case of hard drive failure? We use Canon DSLR professional bodies including the 5D Mark III. We also use professional Canon speedlights and L-Series lenses and fast f/1.4 prime lenses. We have back-up cameras and lenses and flashes and flash triggers. On the back end, we use a NAS storage device in a RAID configuration to protect against drive failure. In addition we sync our weddings to the cloud. We also do weekly backups to an offsite location to prevent loss due to fire or flood. That’s protection!’

Will your photographer be using flash photography?

Even with today’s best camera, there are times when flash is necessary to take a great photo. If your photographer says he/she is a photojournalist and insists on NEVER using flash it is probably because he/she doesn’t know how to use flash correctly. Make sure your photographer knows good lighting. The last thing you want if for all of your images to be grainy and unsharp. We try to use natural light when shooting candid photos. However, we have studied the art of using flash for photography for years and years and know what it can add to great photography. Some black and white grainy images can be nice, but not if all the photos are that way. Make sure your photographer plans on using flash to insure you have diverse and beautiful wedding photos.

Do you get to keep all of your photos?

Some companies make you order expensive prints. This is something to watch out for. We live in a digital age – beware of the dinosaurs in the industry that could mean hidden costs. Yes. You will receive a USB drive containing the photographs we shot on your wedding day. This means you can do what you want with them; get them printed at Walgreens or share them on Snapfish or just e-mail them to family and friends. Pabst Photo does retain the copyright on all photographs and we always appreciate you giving photo credits on sites like Facebook.

Will your images be edited?

Make sure your photographer is going to spend some time at the computer. Even the best photographer in the world needs to sift through shots and check white balances and sharpness. Find out how much post production your photographer plans on doing; make sure they plan on reviewing the image set and making the necessary adjustments as needed. Find out if you will get all the images in color or will some be black and white, sepia, color toned, and manipulated in other ways – these are good things to have clarified. We will sort through all the images we shoot – in excess of 1,000+ images on a full wedding shoot. We are great photographers, but they are not all keepers. After a first pass at deleting poor images the rest are color corrected, exposure corrected, and white balance corrected. After that, the images are sorted again using a ranking system. Standout images are edited in Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop further. We obviously don’t edit 1,000 images in Photoshop, but we will touch up and edit hundreds of images. We work hard for you, so we do ask that you give photo credits back to our website if you use the pictures on a blog or even Facebook; but we’ll never know.

How soon will you get your images?

This may not be critical to you, but it’s worth asking. Some companies can take months to return your images – and that may be okay to you, but please confirm this time frame with your photographer. We typically send out the final USB drive of images in less than four weeks – after your wedding day. It’s not a promise as life happens, but it’s a rule of thumb here at Pabst Photo. The drive will be mailed to you. If we can finish it in less than four weeks (we often do) then we will absolutely ship it out as soon as it is completed. We also offer custom wedding albums, these can take longer depending on work-load, but we will talk to you ahead of time if that is something you are interested in.