How to Choose a Photographer - 5 Things to Consider
So you’re thinking about hiring a photographer! What an exciting moment. But before you jump on Yelp and choose the first result, ask yourself: do I know how to find the right photographer for the session I’m planning? If you can’t answer that, fear not! Here are 5 considerations to take into account when choosing your photographer.
There are plenty of photographers to choose from, and each one has their own individual style. The artistic style of the photographer you’re considering should be one of the more important factors in your decision. Do you love the dreamy, romantic, light & airy photographic style that is popular among wedding photographers? Or are you more particular towards moody images that play on shadows?
It’s also helpful to ask yourself how you’d prefer to be photographed. Would you rather be candidly captured by your photographer, or do you feel better being posed by them as is common in traditional portrait styles? Each style has its own merits, and ultimately, it boils down to what you feel most comfortable with.
The next consideration for choosing your photographer is their specialty. Just as you wouldn’t ask your plumber to fix your microwave, you likewise wouldn’t hire a landscape photographer to do your family portraits. It’s important to identify the type of photography you’re looking for. Is the occasion for an event? Are you looking for someone to photograph the family dog? Ideally, you’d start by searching for a photographer who specializes in the type of photography you want.
Many professional photographers have a specialty that they spend most of their time refining. Generally, you’d want to hire a wedding photographer for your wedding, a portrait photographer for your family portraits, and a real estate photographer to capture your property, and on and on it goes.
Usually, it will be quite obvious what the photographer’s specialty is. But what happens if perhaps you have a unique concept in mind, for which the photographer you’re thinking of hiring has no examples of? Well, it never hurts to ask if they would feel comfortable trying a new concept.
The finished product is something else to consider when hiring a photographer. It’s important to find out how you’ll receive your images after the photoshoot is said and done. Will your photographer give them to you in a USB, or through an online gallery? If you want your images printed, who's responsible for that? If you’re ordering an album through your photographer, it would be prudent to ask to see examples. Getting these important questions answered will go a long way toward ensuring you’re happy with the final result of your photoshoot.
Everyone has a different threshold for what they’re willing to spend on photography. While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest photographer, you are far more likely to be happier with the images you receive if you choose someone who charges reasonably for their work.
The reason why is because talented and experienced photographers know their worth. They have the knowledge to ascertain your needs and bring the right tools to get the job done. Of course that’s going to come with an added cost. I like to call it “The Peace of Mind Premium”, because you’ll pay a little more for the knowledge that your photographer is going to take care of you from start to finish, and provide you with the quality images you’re expecting. This is a much better alternative than hiring the lowest bidder and ending up with images that you’re unhappy with.
So with this in mind, do some thinking about how much you’re willing to invest in your shoot. That extra $50-$100 may be worth it to hire a photographer who you can trust to capture you in the most flattering way possible.
The final consideration is the availability of your photographer. Now that you’ve identified what style you like, the type of photography you need, and have decide upon a budget and product expectations, it’s time to book your date! Generally, it’s good to book in advance so your photographer can find room to schedule you in. You also need to allow time for the inevitable exchange of the contract and booking fees. It’s best not to wait - depending on the type of photography, some clients book their sessions years in advance.
Well there you have it, folks! We have identified 5 important considerations to take into account when choosing your photographer. My final word of advice to you is this: choose a photographer who is involved in your session beyond just taking your money and shooting some images. A photoshoot is more than just an exchange of pictures for cash; it’s an experience that a proper photographer will guide you through every step of the way.
If you’re having trouble finding a photographer who will do just that, I know the perfect one for the job. Happy hunting!