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Essential Questions to Consider When Hiring an Event Photographer

A father and daughter smiling and dancing together celebrating her quinceanera

It’s time to celebrate and you want to hire someone who’s going to document the memories you’re sure to make for this very special occasion. Maybe this is your first time hiring an event photographer or you’ve had not-so-great experiences with hiring folks to take photos in the past. Whatever the case may be – we’ve got you covered!

Selecting the right photographer for your event can make all the difference in capturing those unforgettable moments. Before making your decision, have an answer in mind for your potential photographer when they ask these questions:

 

When and where is the event? Clarify with the photographer whether the event is going to be indoors, outdoors, or both. Your photographer’s going to need to know if they’ll need additional equipment to compensate for the lighting depending on what time of day it is. If it’s inside, does the venue have lots of windows? Is it going to be a place that has lots of natural lighting with the sun shining through during the day? Or does the place hardly have any windows or is it taking place at night? Based on your answers, your photographer is probably already thinking that they may need an external flash or to adjust their settings to capture moments in a low light setting.

 

2 Black senior college students dancing

Can we do a walkthrough? Like you, your photographer is going to want to catch all of the best moments. While every event is different, there is a certain rhythm that all events have – there are guests mingling, speeches/remarks/awards given, and either a performance, a keynote, opening gifts, or a combination of a few or all of these things. The photographer you hire is not only going to want to know the lighting situation, especially with a venue that they might be unfamiliar with, but also the general layout. If you have a specific seating arrangement for your event, they’re going to want to know where to stand or “hide in plain sight” to make sure that they’re not interfering with guests and other vendors. Request a walkthrough of the location beforehand to discuss potential photo opportunities and logistical details. 

 

Do you have a copy of the program? If your event is more formal and/or corporate, you’re going to need to share as many details as possible, which also means sharing the program. Your photographer is looking for key moments and activities to capture.  

 

Do you have any specific shots that you want? The event photographer you hire already has in mind a general gist of what they’re going to get, but maybe there are a few shots that you really want for the occasion. Maybe it’s a quinceanera and you want to make sure that she gets a photo with a specific family member. Of course, your photographer may have already thought about getting pictures with family and friends, but if it’s a specific loved one, make sure to share this with your photographer. Or maybe it’s a corporate celebration and you’re planning a surprise for the CEO of the company during this event – please share this with your photographer so they can catch the CEO’s face when the surprise is revealed!


Is there a theme? If your event follows a particular theme or aesthetic, your event photographer is going to want to capture the event’s aesthetic as well. It’s all a part of telling the story of how your event was when you eventually share the photos with family, friends, and/or colleagues – especially for those who may not have been able to attend the event. If you’re hosting a costume party, a formal gala, or a casual outdoor gathering, we’re going to want to catch every aspect of the event and that includes the general ambiance.  

 

About how many guests are you expecting? It’s OK if you don’t know the answer to this question, but if you do have a rough estimate, this helps a great deal. Knowing the guest count allows your event photographer to anticipate crowd dynamics – for example, how crowded it might be and how much space they’ll have to take posed and candid photos - and ensure that we get as many of the attendees as possible.


young women dancing at the Rochester Young Professionals gala


Can we use flash? If performances are part of the event, confirm if flash photography is allowed during these moments to avoid disrupting the performers. Some venues or performers may have restrictions on flash usage, so it's essential to discuss this with the photographer beforehand. It’s not just performances either! Art galleries and museum exhibitions don’t allow flash either to protect art displays, so please stress this to photographers that you hire so that we can anticipate adjusting our settings accordingly.


How soon do you need the photos? Inquire about the turnaround time for receiving highlights from the event, especially if you plan to share them on social media to thank guests for attending immediately following the event, as well as the full gallery of photos. Your event photographer will likely be asked several times by guests during the event when and where they can see photos – make sure to let your guests know how they can get the photos too! Having expectations aligned will ensure a smooth process throughout the event photography experience.



A drummer dressed in black drumming on stage at the Garden Vibes concert hosted by the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY


By asking these questions and discussing your expectations with the photographer, you can ensure a seamless collaboration and receive stunning photos that capture the essence of your event. Remember, clear communication is key to a successful partnership with your chosen event photographer.


Want to book Jackie Photography for your next event? You can learn more about what we provide and book here.

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