Great Tips on How to Hire a Photographer
Friday, May 02, 2014
By MGPortraits-Mariano Garduno
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“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving.
What you have caught on film is captured forever…
it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”

 Many of the customers that have contacted me to hire my services as a photographer and videographer come as referrals. I think that hearing from someone that you know and trust is a great starting point. However, when the time to meet with the photographer arrives, you must prepare yourself with the right questions and to know what to look for. These following tips will allow you to understand more of the photographer’s responsibilities as well making sure that photographer clearly understands your set of expectations.  


#1. Do not make the mistake of looking for the least expensive photographer.
Remember that what you get is what you pay for. Of all the products and services that will be rendered on your special day, the ones that will remain are your precious memories! The food, guests, limo service, cake, and everything else comes and goes, but your photography and video production will remain with you the rest of your life! Therefore, this decision should not be taken lightly and should be prioritized by this fact.  

#2. Make sure the photographer is reliable and accountable.
If you are setting up a consultation and you are asked to meet at a Starbucks rather than a studio, that is a RED FLAG! It says something about their level of professionalism and what you are most likely going to expect on your special day. Promptness to the meeting and various examples of their work are also must-have items during these consultations.

 #3. Avoid hiring photography services as part of a package from a reception hall.
Reception halls that bundle all the services together as a "One-Stop-Shop" try to sell the convenience aspect of not having to look for a photographer but they are also making huge profits and usually overlook the quality of services. Often, they hire an amateur photographer for a fraction of the cost that they are charging and they keep the difference as profits. I see this happening in the South Bay area all the time! By the time the customer realizes the mistake, it is usually because of sub-quality pictures of the event and at that point the situation is too late to remedy!

#4. Ask the important questions!
There are a few questions that are important to ask during a consultation. The answers should weed out the professionals from the rest. 

  • Insurance: What kind of insurance do you carry?
    -Some venues require a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance to shoot there.
  • Contract: Can I review your contract before I sign?
    -Don't ever book a photographer without a contract.
  • Worst Case Scenario: What happens if you get in a car wreck the week before my wedding?
    There should be a clause in the contract protecting both you and the photographer, who should do everything possible to find you a suitable replacement.
  • When will I receive my images/products?
    -Turnaround should be anywhere from 2-8 weeks -- any longer than that and you're waiting too long for your images.
  • Back-up Equipment
    -Your photographer should carry at least two cameras in case one of them should malfunction.
  • Schedule of Services
    -What time is the photographer expected to arrive? What time will they be leaving?

I hope that this article can help guide you in your journey on one of the most important decisions for your event. If you wish to look at our work samples please visit our website at:

  Mariano Garduño 

 Professional Photographer
535 Davidson St.

 Chula Vista, CA 91910
 (619) 540-7878 


Leave a comment:
Mariano Garduno - Thank you, Kendall Everett.
Your comment hits the nail on the head. Many people in our day are just launching themselves into the business without backup equipment or even professional equipment. An experienced professional photographer, will always pack backup professional, reliable equipment that he or she trusts to get the job done.
Kendall Everett - Finding a photographer that is professional and has a studio is important. It's important that they are where they are when they need to be and they have the resources to make it a professional shoot. If possible, asking to see what equipment they plan to use for the shoot would be helpful.
Marie Watson - You make a great point about how it is important to make sure you hire a photographer who is reliable. It makes sense that you would want to work with the most professional and trustworthy photographer so you can be sure that your pictures will turn out. My sister is looking for a photographer for her wedding, so I will have to make sure she remembers what questions to ask and what qualities to look for when we are screening potentials.