I've been working on a video to help people to hire event photographers. Here is a copy of the script I've created.
Event photographers don’t have a chance to reshoot an event so you really want to be careful whom you choose.
When looking for an event photographer you want someone that can do more then just take a great photo. You want someone to show up on time and dress appropriately. Brings professional backup equipment, and take care to back up files after an event. They need have booth experience as an event photographer and an education on top of all that they need to have a great report with people.
Event photography is very different from other types of photography. Event photographers have to be able to shoot in every lighting situation without strobes and be able to shoot everything relatively quickly. I’m always telling my team if you’re a good event photographer you can shoot everything photo journalism, portraits, food, architecture, details….
I think when your looking for a photographer you should look at their portfolio as if it were one event, and ask yourself do I love all of these photos? Do all the photos look like they go together? A professional photographer with both education and experience will have a certain style and that style should be consistent. I think a professional event photographer shouldn’t have to overly use Photoshop to make a great photo, great photos should happen in camera.
When looking for an event photographer you need someone that will get involved in the planning process. When I meet with clients I like to go over their event in detail. As far as the location and the time line. If a bride comes to me with a winter wedding and is planning to have her ceremony at sunset, I explain to her that sunset in the winter and summer are very different. If you have a sunset wedding in the winter there wont be a lot of light after the ceremony to shoot the formals. So we either need to start their ceremony a little earlier, or do a first look and shoot formals at that time. When I go over the location I tend to show clients photos that have similar lighting scenarios so that they know exactly what their photos are going to look like before they book me.
As a professional photographer people are always sharing their nightmare stories about their wedding photographer. A story I hear over and over is that my photographer lost my photos. When it comes to events you don’t have a second chance so part of my job as a photographer is to prepare for cameras and hard drives to go down. Cameras break like computers, which is why I bring 3 professional cameras to every event. After an event I back up all my files to two external hard drives, a desktop computer, a laptop computer, an online gallery and a disc.
Finally I think you need to do a little research before hiring an event photographer and the best way I know is to ask for references and read their yelp reviews. I find yelp is the most trusted site when it comes to reviews.