Questions to ask your photographer

    For years now, I have heard people ask mostly the same questions. Do you have back up equipment? What kind of equipment do you use? Do you use this film or that film? Do you use medium format or 35mm? Do you use multiple lighting? What if you get sick? These seem to be the most asked questions. If I were looking for a photographer, I would not ask ANY of these questions! Anyone who has been in business for more than a year or two, is going to have back up equipment, and has a track record of showing up for the wedding and getting it done. Then, when I look at the photos, if I like them, I do not care what kind of equipment was used, or if multiple lighting was used, or what kind of film was used, or it is 35mm or medium format. So, what questions does that leave us with??? That leaves us with, what I feel, are the most important questions; the ones that almost never get asked.

    Why are you a photographer? I have never been asked that question, yet it is possibly the most important question I could be asked.  Why be a photographer? Why photograph weddings? Why photograph children, and families?  I cherish every opportunity I have, as an artist, to capture images of people.  To show, from a unique perspective, the events of a day, of a lifetime, and the shared bond between family and friends.  I can think of no greater challenge, or greater joy and satisfaction, than being a photographer. As a photographer, I have the opportunity to witness precious moments in people's lives. Young children, new families, couples wedding and starting their own families, these are all moments of great significance in the lives of people. These are not "work days" for me, they are "historic moments" for my clients.

    Why am I a photographer? Because I can see nothing else to be. I have the greatest, and most satisfying, job there is.  I once heard "Every job you do is a self portrait, sign it with the signature of quality."  No where is that more true than with photography.  I photograph each client in the manner that is most flattering to them.  Not everyone looks best with the same lighting, or the same pose.  What may be very flattering on one person, may not be on another.  I believe that each of my clients is worth the investment of time, energy, and effort, to creat the most flattering images.

    So, when you are shopping for photographers, ask them, "why." After all, that is what really matters. That is the foundation upon which everything else is built.

Tom Stark