Updated: Jun 23
As a professional, full-time, Cincinnati-based wedding photographer that has photographed 100s of weddings, here are the top three questions I'd ask every potential wedding photographer if I were getting married.
If I Were Getting Married I'd Ask...
1.) Can I see the finished pictures from some full weddings?
When I look through any of the 700+ wedding photographers websites listed by the Knot here in Cincinnati, I see a lot of fancy websites. I really do. But digging a little deeper I notice that most Cincinnati wedding photographers just post their very best 10 or 15 pictures. That’s it. However, the truth is a fancy website with 15 or so good pictures does not make a good wedding photographer. It makes a good website.
If I were getting married, I’d ask to see some full weddings. That’s where you’ll see a true indication as to what you can expect from your wedding.
I post 300 or so razor sharp, perfectly lit, beautifully fun wedding pictures on my website portfolio because I want to enter our relationship with you knowing exactly what you can expect from me. Check it out > https://www.tammybryan.com/portfolio
If you'd like to see more full weddings, Let's Talk
2.) Do you have backup gear? ...tell me all about it.
Because I make my living as a full-time wedding photographer, I believe in the words, "You're only as good as your equipment". As such I rely on the very finest camera gear available. I spare no expense on my cameras and lenses because only the finest equipment allows me to reliably capture the feelings that fill your day.
I have two or more of everything. When I purchase a camera, I buy two. A new flash, I buy two. That means all my gear is identical. Most Cincinnati wedding photographers have nice primary gear, but their backup equipment, if they even have it at all, is old, outdated stuff. If something goes wrong, which does happen, they're fumbling around trying to figure out how to get the old stuff working while you look on.
Because I earn my living as a professional wedding photographer here in Cincinnati, if any piece of my equipment fails, my assistant simply walks over and hands me another camera/flash/lens or whatever, and it's absolutely identical to what I was just using. This allows me to move on with your wedding as if nothing has happened at all.
You should expect nothing less.
3.) How do you protect my pictures?
Picture loss is a painfull experience that all photographers encounter sooner or later. You've probably heard the horror stories yourself of wedding photographers losing wedding images before they delivered them to their clients. Here's what I do to create an effective wedding photography backup workflow.
It all starts at your wedding. When we wedding photographers were shooting with film years ago, all we could get was 12 or 24 exposures per roll. That’s it. That means we had to be careful and count our shots closely so we wouldn’t run out at just the wrong moment. With today’s 32+ gigabyte memory cards, it’s possible to shoot an entire wedding on one card – and many photographers do so. But not me.
Memory cards do fail, not often, but when they do, it’s a disaster! That’s why I swap out memory cards throughout your day. I learned this the hard way (luckily it was not a wedding), and since then I do not take chances. By separating your key events during the day into separate cards, I minimize the risk of catastrophic failure. I also rely on my second to be right there with me capturing key moments (even if it is from a slightly different angle), allowing me to deliver your wedding photographs even if a memory card fails.
When I am back home from a wedding, the first thing I do is transfer your photographs from the memory cards onto an eight-terabyte RAID 5 server under your names and wedding date. From there your pictures are backed-up to another eight-terabyte server, and from there they are exported to an off-site storage center – the Cloud.
When I’m editing your photographs, I work exclusively from the eight-terabyte RAID 5 server, never touching the copies on the eight-terabyte back-up server or the Cloud server. This way if I make a mistake or your pictures get corrupted for any reason -or if my studio burns down- I have two separate original versions of your pictures to work from.
When I’m finished and your wedding pictures are delivered to you, I retain your original RAW files and transfer them from my servers to an external hard drive and store them in a safety deposit box.
As you can see, my wedding photography workflow and image protection is complex requiring extensive IT knowledge and state-of-the-art hardware. I encourage you to expect nothing less.
4.) Bonus question - Ask, Do you edit images on a laptop?
If they say yes, simply walk away.
I believe in annual continuing education units (CEU), so I attend training conferences regularly. I also teach photography. Through the years of all this training and teaching I cannot tell you the number of wedding photographers I’ve met who use a laptop to edit their pictures.
The fact is, in today’s wedding photography world, taking the picture is only half the job. Editing is the other half. And laptop monitors are notoriously known for poor color renditions. Google it.
My monitors cost $1500 each and I have three of them. My workstation is a tremendously powerful, cutting edge, state-of-the-art workhorse because I work with 100s of huge images at a time in power-hungry, highly advanced software applications. And all this means nothing, if the monitors are not calibrated. When you work on un-calibrated monitors, you can’t trust the colors you see on-screen, making it impossible to make good editing decisions.
Monitor calibration is a complex, time-consuming and expensive process that most Cincinnati wedding photographers ignore. I can not tell you the number of times I’ve been retained by couples that hired another wedding photographer to correct their poorly edited, off-color pictures. Don’t make the same mistake.