How to choose the right photographer for your needs.
As a follow up to my last blog post, here is my advice on tips to finding the right photographer for your needs. I realize that not everyone can afford to pay “a lot of money” for a professional photographer, but when is it worth it and how much is it worth to you? Here are a few tips to help you make a decision:
1) Referrals are great! Currently 90% of my business is from referrals. If your friends or family had a great experience with a photographer, and they are happy with the results then it may be something to look into. Be caution though, Art is subjective! Someone else’s idea of an amazing photo, isn’t necessarily yours! Look at the photographer’s website, call them up for a phone consultation, analyze their work. See if it is YOUR style!
2) Check out their website! Does the photographer’s website show a variety of photos and subjects on the site, or do they show a lot of photos of the same people? When most photographers are just starting out, they have a limited portfolio. Building a portfolio takes time so if you notice the same families, kids or subjects in all galleries of the website it is probably a good sign that the photographer doesn’t have a lot of experience under their belt.
3) Specialty. You may have an idea in mind of what kind of photos you would like taken of your newborn baby perhaps, or your children. Maybe you need a family portrait, or a portrait of your family pet. Look for a photographer that specializes in what you want. If they claim a specialty, it is most likely because they have a passion for that subject and have a lot of experience shooting it.
4) Pricing? Price hunting is great…I do it all the time. I like to get the best deal for my hard earned money! Just keep in mind a few things when looking at pricing:
a) the proper photography gear is very expensive,
b) studio equipment is also very expensive,
c) training cost time and money (believe it or not…it’s not just the nice camera that does all the work),
d) your photo shoot doesn’t end after the hour or two you spend with the photographer…there is at least 4 hours worth of work afterwards in front of the computer editing and creating the art,
If you do decide to go with the less expensive photographer who is offering you a full resolution disc, a session for next to nothing and possibly even proofs…you probably have someone who is not that experienced and is working on building their portfolio. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, you may be thrilled with the results as there are plenty of talented photographers out there who are starting out and produce amazing work. Everyone has to start somewhere, and it is all practice to make perfect (or as close to perfect as we can get).
5) Personality: Probably the most important part of the end result of the session. If the photographer is outgoing, likes children/animals/babies/people and you feel some sort of connection with them, then it is most likely the right fit. As a photographer, having a connection with your client and getting to know them over the phone before hand, or in person at the first meeting is the best start to the session and will be sure to get results. If a photographer can connect with the subject, it will reflect through the lens and onto print.
6) BLOG: Read their blog. A photographer’s blog is usually where you will find the most up to date photos and information. Their website is most likely going to stay the same, but a blog is where most photographers will have their most up to date information, photos, session samples, and what’s on their mind.
Keep these things in mind when you are choosing the right photographer for your needs, and don’t be shy to give them a call and get a consultation over the phone. Getting to know my clients either by email, phone conversation on in person is a great way to start up a good raporte and will make a big difference in the comfort level when the big day comes. Knowing my subject and the goal of the session starts things off on the right foot, makes everyone more comfortable and is a good step to an end result that everyone will like.
On the phone ask questions like:
What is your photography style?
Do you shoot in black and white or color?
How many shots do you take in one session?
What should I wear? Is there time for wardrobe changes?
Should I bring snacks for my kids? How long will the session take?
Where do you prefer to shoot? Outdoors? Indoors? Studio? My house?
Can you email me a few of your most recent (maternity) pictures?
Do you have a blog?
Hopefully that helps you make the right decision for you! Please feel free to email me with any questions and or comments!
Here are a few examples of my most recent work:
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