10 SERIOUS QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER BEFORE YOU BOOK YOUR WEDDING

1. What file format do you use as a professional photographer?

Most professional photographers use a file format called RAW. In technical terms a RAW file is raw unprocessed information (like an old unprocessed film) from the camera sensor (A really super big file)! This means that the files unlike images from a compact camera system or iPhone for example are not instantly viewable. You must use specialist software such as Adobe Camera RAW, Capture One or Lightroom to view RAW files. RAW files are used in a professional capacity, as there is a greater scope for creative editing. Ask why your photographer shoots in JPEG of they are not using RAW. This is a good first level filter of a professional. Your photographer may in fact have a genuine and satisfactory reason for doing so. Make your own judgement.

2. What camera do professional photographers use?

A professional photographer would be expected to shoot on a professional grade camera. Ask your photographer which camera they use. One could argue that an artist is not determined by the medium they use. Nowadays we have extremely talented artists who can produce exceptional quality work on a smart phone. Unless the professional markets themselves in a specific creative capacity, you would normally assume the camera to have manual functions. A professional should never shoot on an automatic setting and should be fully understand terminology such as f-stop, aperture, ISO, shutter speed and metering modes.

Professionals should be able to manipulate the settings of a camera in order to create different effects such as having the whole scene sharp or the subject focussed and background blurred in a portrait. The camera manufacturer (e.g. Canon, Nikon, Olympus) does not determine the camera quality as most manufacturers range from basic, amateur to professional level. As a company we shoot on a combination of Canon 1DX Mark II (the highest Canon professional grade camera) and additional Canon pro-grade cameras as back-up models.

3. What lighting do you use?

Lighting equipment may or may not be an issue. Lighting becomes more crucial in low light conditions (e.g. evening, winter weddings, venues with limited natural light). Some professional photographers choose to predominantly shoot using natural light which is a stylistic preference. They should however always carry an additional lighting option. Some venues do not allow flash during ceremonies and some guests may not be able to tolerate flash due to medical conditions. Read our venue guide for more information.

CARRO have specialist flash systems to minimise strong shadows and continuous lighting (the light is always on and does not flash). Torches and light heads can be used for a more natural light effect. We also have a considerable amount of back-up equipment should anything go wrong at the time of the shoot. Lighting can be used for creative effect such as creating a halo or rim of light. Explore your lighting preferences with your photographer.

4. How will I get my images?

Each photography company will have a different system for allowing you to access your images. Some companies are ‘print only’ which means that you do not get a digital copy of your file and must order prints directly from your photographer. We provide digital images on USB or disk. We also provide you with a password protected online gallery to view and download your images digitally which includes a handy app for android and apple to view your images. In addition, we give you full rights to print your images at any location of your choice. We do offer lab printing services but this is at your request.

5. Do you have a contract?

Yes! Without a contract we will not shoot your wedding! A contract not only protects us but it protects you. You are paying for a service and a contract provides the legal agreement between the client and the photographer. A contract is not in place because we question your honesty, it is to avoid any doubt or misunderstanding. The contract clearly states the terms of service and you must clearly read any contract before you sign.

6. Where are you based?

Unfortunately, we hear of a number of customers who have been let down by fraudulent businesses. It is good to ensure that your photographer is contactable with a stated postal address and fixed location. We do not mean that every reputable photographer requires a professional studio because we understand that all professionals work differently. CARRO operates from our professional photography studio on the Wynyard Hall estate. You will be able to contact us by both mobile telephone 07775914711 and landline 01740645531 in addition to meeting us for consultations by appointment at our studio; Lakeside House, 17 Wynyard Woods, Wynyard, Billingham, TS22 5GJ (Near Wynyard Hall). Visit us now to see for yourself!

7. Do you edit your images?

Yes, we edit all images to the highest standard and all images are counter-checked for quality control. Check with your photographer in advance of booking whether they edit images to avoid any disappointment after the shoot or event. Ask to see examples of full weddings or shoots to ensure that they are not showcasing only the best (and edited) images of the day. You may prefer an unedited style and that is fine too! Ensure you know in advance the process and method of editing to make sure you are happy. Check the quality of your photographer’s work before the big day. In the case of weddings, an engagement or pre-wedding shoot can be a fantastic check point.

8. How far in advance do I need to book with you and how do I pay?

Photography, like most professions is a seasonal business. Wedding booking are often taken up to 3 years in advance. Summer wedding dates, particularly on a Saturday or premium bank holiday dates can book up years ahead. We recommended that you secure the date with a 10% booking fee as soon as you are able. That does not mean you should book with the first photographer you meet! Check all of your questions are answered and you are happy.

Secure your date to avoid disappointment, once you have made a decision to book. The remaining wedding balance is payable 12 weeks prior to the wedding date. If you need to pay in instalments, that is completely fine too! Ring us to discuss what method of payment is easiest for you. We offer you the facility to pay in instalments at no additional charge. You can pay in cash, BACS bank online transfer, all card payments (except American Express) and via PayPal. Call us to discuss payment methods further.

9. Can I give you a list of specific shots we would like?

Professional wedding photographers should allow this option. After all it is your wedding! Take guidance from photographers as we are well versed in the running of a wedding day and know the best way to make your day run smoothly. Check out our articles section for handy guides to planning your day! At CARRO we provide an extensive wedding planning and shoot design service. Make a Pinterest board with your partner. View our real weddings and create a magazine scrapbook so that we can better understand your likes and dislikes. As a photographer we need to understand the vision you have of your perfect wedding photographs so that we can deliver your expectations. Alternatively, some couples leave all photography decisions to our team based upon our portfolio and extensive experience.

Within the comprehensive questionnaire that you receive on booking CARRO we guide you through selecting shots to capture all aspects of your day. Choose no more than 6-8 formal group photographs and 30 minutes of couples’ photography. We are happy to oblige to your wishes but would like to reinforce that you must spend time with your guests and enjoy your big day.

10. Do you have a studio or space to view your images?

As with the questions above, not all professional photographers need a studio or have the requirement of a preview room depending on their working methods. Know how and where you will meet  your photographer to view your image gallery and make arrangements in advance. CARRO has a professional two-floor studio on the Wynyard Hall estate. The studio has a 56m2 shooting space, pre-shoot area which is perfect for hair and make-up stylists, kitchen, office and bathroom facilities in addition to images on display showcasing our products. We also have a meeting area and cinema room with comfortable sofas to allow you to relax with a cuppa. The cinema room is ideal to view albums and enjoy a cinema preview experience with up to 8 guests following your big day. Book your appointment and meet team CARRO today!