THE VILLAGE IDIOTS



THE VILLAGE IDIOT AND MINEFIELDS

Normally I'm very patient with people but sometimes the Village Idiot walking on his knuckles makes it to a E-machine and gets to me. So I get an email asking why I would put a checklist on my site for a Bride to ask questions with if the intent of my site is to help new shooters. 

My first remark to this nimrod was "are you that naive?"    I added “  knowing the type, size, shape, techniques and burial characteristics of troop positions and landmines laid by an enemy can prevent one’s lower extremities from being blown off.”  

Nothing like burying your head in the sand, only it's a minefield.  If that doesn't explain a Wedding, I haven't got a better explanation.   Furthermore: The questions you see here are all over the Bridal Sections of the Web. 

Almost every Wedding site, magazine, book, has a way to select a photographer. I am merely echoing what's out there. If you don't have the qualifications a smart Bride is looking for, at least you'll know what they are looking for.  Possibly even realizing, you are not in their league. It's a checklist, for what you should be doing. 


FINDING MR. RIGHT GUY or GAL PHOTOGRAPHER

This is a guide for the Bride.  No,  it’s for the shooter and to share with credentials with the Bride.    What “ to ask” should eliminate many problems.  It is also a guide for the shooter to know what he or she might be asked.  The questions here start and really pertain to medium to high end, multi contingent, or structured, moderate to EXPENSIVE, weddings. Not to say a small private affair with a Justice of the Peace doesn't warrant the same careful attention.   

But being realistic, the $200 package shooter isn't about to meet the qualifications or demands you would expect from a $5000 plus affair with assistants and video. The shooting teams size, capacity, training. 

Wedding director coordination, planning, appropriate equipment, experience, familiarity, enter into this size affair.  Both size weddings however do require a backup if the primary photographer doesn't make bail, can't start his car, does a financial disappearance act, goes out of business, or fails to show for any other reason.  I have heard and seen all of the above.  

So take a few of the questions from the selection and see what your budget and qualifications are.  I think if you used all the questions below you would scare a large percentage of non-ranked Photographers away. 


QUESTIONS

  •  How many years have you been in the business?

  •  What are your qualifications, certifications, organizations associated with.

  •  What further training, seminars attended and what other formal training have you had? 

  •  Is this a full time occupation, just a weekend part time job and what do you do the rest of the week? 

  •  Do you have a studio or registered pace of business with a tax number and the proper business certificate?

  •  Have you handled many events of my type and size before? 

  •  What are the reasons you think we should hire you?

  •  Will you personally be the photographer for our wedding?   

  •  Will the person you are talking to be the actual shooter. 

  •  Some pro's have associates during peak seasons to cover duplicate dates. You want to meet that person and discuss those same topics with the actual photographer. 

  •  If the party uses his wife as the assistant, generally it's nice to have a woman around the chaos and she can go where the photographer can't. 

  •  Ask yourself - How comfortable are you with this person? You will have intimate and stressful moments with this person. 

  •  How does this person fit in with the total picture of the Wedding? 

  •  Simple, do you have clothes for (tux) for a formal wedding? 

  •  Can you afford this person? Ask yourself.

TERMS
Nothing more to be said here except what are his terms. Read what my terms are, to use as an example. They are fair to both parties. 

  •  What if any Value added options? 

  •  Is he willing to put everything in writing? 

  •  When will you see your proofs, how long?

  •  Is he providing the album? 

  •  How much for extras, incidentals, time constraints, travel fees and other costs?

  •  Does he have packages, or shoot by the picture, picture purchased, etc.

  •  When will you see the proofs?

  •  After it is in writing ask for a copy and you'll study it overnight. Get someone who understands legalese to decipher it. 

  •  Hidden Costs ? Are there extra fees for staying late, traveling, tolls, parking, and so forth.  Who will do the processing. 


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