What To Know Before You Hire a Hawaii Wedding Photographer
Sparkling sands and rich sunsets lure thousands of brides, each year, to Hawaii’s shores. The brides, in turn, have lured a huge net full of wedding photographers to the islands.
When you decide to say “I do” on any of Hawaii’s tropical islands, from dazzling Oahu to relaxing Maui, you will have no shortage of wedding photographers to choose between. You can narrow the pool by studying the photographers’ packages, pricing, portfolios, and blogs, but don’t make a final decision until you’ve actually spoken to your favorite candidates. Interview your Hawaii based photographer beforehand, and fish out additional, essential information with these questions:
1) Can you describe your style?
You want to make sure that your wedding photographer’s eye aligns with your vision of a wedding in Hawaii. If you imagine a soft, seaside fairytale, you might not get the best results from a photographer who describes his style as “retro, rockabilly.” Of course, a solid professional photographer will be able to adapt their technique to many different styles. A good follow-up question might be, “Have you ever worked on a wedding with my style?” That photographer with a personal fetish for the 1950s, might be able to show you dreamy pictures they’ve taken from a wedding that matches your style.
2)Does editing have an additional charge?
Let’s be real: everyone has wondered, at some point in their life, how they would look if they were given the same beauty treatment and photo editing as the models who grace the pages of magazines. Your wedding photos are an opportunity to find out!
Professional photographers are not only skilled at snapping shots, some are also skilled at editing those photos into works of art. They know how to retouch and color balance your photos, so that your skin is as smooth as a pearl and your dress is still brilliantly white, against that tropical orange sunset.
Most Professionals wish to put their best foot forward and will include basic edits as part of the image selection and presentation of proof to the brides. If your photographer tells you that they will be happy to just give you the card right out of their camera, beware. They will not be editing these photos so ask if editing comes at an additional cost. You will definitely want to have your photos edited, so if there is an additional cost, especially for something as important as stellar wedding photos, you need to know to include it in your budget.
3)How many weddings have you photographed?
Experience is one of the best indicators of a wedding photographer’s quality. If the photographer has shot less than 10 weddings, there is cause for some apprehension. However, if you see photos from their previous gigs, and you are wowed by their work, you might still give them the job. After all, everyone has to start somewhere!
An important follow-up question here is “how many weddings do you shoot per week, month or year?” Any experienced Wedding photographer can tell you what their average wedding count is per year. Because Hawaii is a huge wedding destination, photographers can be slammed, especially during peak wedding seasons. You want to verify that your photographer will have room for you in their schedule.
4)Do you carry liability insurance?
Ok This might seem like kind of a personal question, and honestly it would be if you weren't hiring someone to do your wedding at a large hotel that requires your photographer to carry such a policy. Can you honestly think of a worse scenario than arriving at your hotel on your wedding day only to find out that your photographer couldn't come on the property because they didn't have an insurance policy that covered them being there?
5)Do you have a back-up photographer?
Wedding photographers while awesome are not superheros. They can get sick or have a family crisis, just like anyone else. Unfortunately, when a wedding photographer has to take a day off work, the consequences can be disastrous for his clients.
Most photographers will have a second gun, before you choose your wedding photographer, ask this question. If they don’t work with a back-up photographer and you really want to use them, try to arrange a second person of your own. You don’t want to be stranded at the altar without anyone to capture the magic of that moment!
6)Can you recommend a videographer?
Photos make great mantle-pieces and coffee table books, but on days when you are feeling truly nostalgic for the sound of your newlywed laughter and the way that the tiki lights danced in the Hawaiian breeze, a video is the only cure!
As you interview wedding photographers in Hawaii, inquire about videographers as well. If your photographer has a videographer with whom he regularly works, coordination will be smoother, and your finished products will complement each other perfectly.
7)Do you travel between islands?
Island-hopping may seem charming to honeymooners, but for a Hawaiian wedding photographer who has to transport expensive, bulky equipment between gigs, the novelty quickly loses its luster. Let your photographer know where you’re planning on getting married and double check that they are willing to work with your choice of the islands. A good follow up question would be “Which island are you based on?” A photographer who is based near your wedding will be less stressed and less rushed and less expensive, since flying is the only option to an outer island. Oahu is the most populated island and home-base for most photography businesses.
8)What restrictions do you have about sharing photos online?
The first thing you’re going to want to do, when you see your wedding photos, is share them with the people you love. For most of us, that means uploading the photos to Facebook or Instagram or another social media site.
Unfortunately, photo rights can be a bit intricate. Most professional photographers take ownership over their work and impose restrictions about how you can share their photos. Remember, the photos are their source of livelihood. If you’re giving away photos for free, they won’t be in business very long. Ask if they offer a release or even special pricing for printing their images through the photographer's pro lab, where you will receive better quality than your brand X photolab.
Bonus....Do you follow a shot list?
There are a number of iconic images in every wedding album: the groom’s reaction to seeing his bride for the first time, the first kiss, the guests tossing rice or holding sparklers above the newlywed couple, as they depart. These images form what’s called a “shot list.” Basically, it’s a photographer’s must-have photos.
Seasoned professional wedding photographers already have a well oiled list of shots they do for weddings. What you will want to offer up is those unknown shots that are unique to your wedding. Make a list your wedding photographer in Hawaii needs to be prepared to see, for instance; there might be a surprise out of town guests, or a Chinese Lion Dance, maybe there will be a special Hula performed for the Groom by the Bride.
Ask your photographer what’s on their “shot list.” And you might also suggest a few additions or omissions to tighten up your specific needs.
Remember these 8 questions to ask when you are searching for your Hawaiian Wedding Photographer, they should not only have solid answers for you about these questions but be confident in their answers and ability to relate to you asking them questions. Trusting your wedding photographer in Hawaii is paramount to the success of your event. Don't settle for 1/2 answers or " I don't know, nobody has ever asked me that before" answers. Be sure that you are dealing with a pro and you will come away with images to last a lifetime.