5 questions to ask when hiring a new event photographer to avoid disappointment

Choosing a new photographer for your event can be a daunting process; after searching websites, reading references and viewing portfolios, how do you make sure you go with an event photographer who is as good as they say?

I have spent 18 years verifying and choosing event photographers for our business. I have learnt that by asking these five unexpected questions, you can more accurately assess their event experience, professionalism and attitude, which has a significant impact on your event happiness factor.

Question 1: Can you send me a full shoot?

Most photographers only show you their best photos in a portfolio, but going through an entire shoot will give you a better idea of what you can expect. You can assess their creativity, experience and even how they make guests feel, just by looking through their photos.

I use the following criteria to help make a decision;

Quality – are the photos sharp and well exposed? Do they make an impression?
Event elements – Do you feel like the photos tell the full story of the event from beginning to end?
Detail – Do you feel like the photos highlight the particular event touches?
Creativity – has this photographer captured images from unique, excellent angles?
Socials – Do the guests look happy and engaged?
Images – would you be happy receiving this quantity of images for your event?

Question 2: What would you do if you got sick on the day?

Being left in the lurch on the day of the event is one of the biggest fears of event organisers. By posing this scenario to your potential photographer, you will be able to judge their confidence to ensure the shoot goes ahead no matter what.

Their answer will either give you peace of mind or make your nervous and “I’ve never been sick before” is not a valid response…

Question 3: What is your policy if we are unhappy with the photos?

In any business, problems and disagreements arise but are often not spoken about upfront. How your photographer treats, these situations will give you an idea where you stand. In our business, we follow up with our clients the day after every single shoot, and if there is an issue, we work to resolve it immediately. If we are the cause of the problem, and there is no way of solving it, we give our clients an immediate full refund. You can check out our full terms and conditions here.

Question 4: If you were to get the job, how would you go about photographing my event?

This question will test their knowledge, experience and understanding of your type of event. A good photographer would always ask a few establishing questions to understand your photography goals and requirements. After that, they should take you through the event flow and sequence in which various photo opportunities present themselves, giving detailed descriptions of how they will take these photographs. This question will also give you an indication of how creative the photographer is when they offer new exciting ideas.

Question 5: How many times did you shoot a (your event) in the last year?

Most photographers advertise that they offer a range of photographic services but typically spend 80% of their time in one or two of these genres. This question will make sure that you are not hiring a brilliant architectural photographer who shoots events on the side.

I hope these questions help you make great event photographer hiring decisions.

Please feel free to contact me on richard@zoomphoto.co.za if you have any other questions to add.

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