As a visitor to my website, there is a good chance that you are looking for a photographer right now. Maybe you need someone to create precious memories of your family, or you have a wedding coming up, and now you are checking out different photographers to take these important photos.
So when you are having a look at various photographers, what are the points you are considering? Certainly the quality of their work. Of course you want a photographer whose images are properly exposed, sharp and crisp. And naturally you want to choose someone who has got a style that is to your liking. When all these match, then price and service are obviously also a factor, so some of the first questions you will ask your prospective photographer are probably about their rates and how long it will take them to deliver the finished photos to you.
But there is another question that you MUST ask, and it’s one that you probably didn’t think of.
“What is Your Plan B?”
What do I mean by that? We all know things can go wrong. There are whole industries that make a (very good) living off of that, think of the insurance industry, for example. If accidents didn’t happen, nobody would insure their car. If car parts didn’t break from wear and tear, mechanics would have a hard time surviving. But how does this translate to photography?
Well, just like cars, cameras can break. Actually, it happens more often than one would think. These sophisticated pieces of electronic and delicate optical glass do not take kindly to being dropped, for example. They also do not like liquids – think of rain, or spilled champagne at a wedding. All these things can damage a camera, and the same goes for other pieces of photographic equipment, like flashes and lenses. Even the memory cards on which the images are stored can be corrupted and fail.
This is why it is so important for your photographer to have a Plan B.
Imagine for a moment, it is your wedding day. You are walking down the aisle, and the photographer walks in front of you, taking photos. But no! He’s tripping over somebody’s bag, falls, and the camera is shattered on the floor. I know this doesn’t sound likely, but unfortunately such things happen:
While it is funny to watch, for the couple it is a nightmare – if the photographer hasn’t got a Plan B. For example, I always turn up to shoots with backup gear. I have at least two professional grade cameras with me, more than one flash, several high grade lenses. That is my Plan B. If a camera should break, I have another one with me, and I can continue shooting. If my flash should fail – no problem, I’ll just get the replacement unit out of my bag.
I even have a plan in case a memory card fails. My camera has got two card slots and writes the same file to two cards simultaneously. So if one card should fail – you get the idea by now, there’s a Plan B in form of the second card.
It doesn’t stop there, I also have a backup plan in place for the data on my computer – hard drives can fail, and I wouldn’t want to lose any data. I just recently was able to make a former client, whose wedding I shot a number of years back, very happy. His house had been broken into, and his computers, hard drives etc. were all gone. Because I keep an archive of my shoots I was able to give him another copy of his wedding photos.
I go all these lengths because I feel that my clients deserve this effort.
My clients pay my bills, and I owe them the best service I can possibly give. Accidents can happen. But when they do, I want to be as well-prepared as possible. That way I sleep much better at night, and so can my clients. So if you are looking to hire a photographer, and you are checking different options, next to quality, style and price, make sure you find out about their Plan B.
Header photo by Lulia Hamunyela.