Choosing a photographer takes more than picking a name out of a phone book or booking the first person whose website comes up online. There are many factors that go into having a good photography experience. Based on my experience as a photographer and a client, here are a few tips on how to choose the right photographer for you.Style of the PhotographerYou as a consumer need to determine whether or not you prefer a more formal photography style, or a custom/casual style (which oftencombinesa variety of candids & formal smiles). In order to determine this you need to decide what you want captured. The photos you choose to put on display in your home are ultimately a result of what the photographer sees through their lens. Your photos are their vision. This combined with what you wear, where you choose to do your photos/the location, the time of day and lighting resulting will all be combined to produce the final product that is captured and displayed. A formal photographer will not often take all of these factors into consideration, but prefer a controlled setting with formal poses and smiles – like a studio. A custom photographer or lifestyle photographer will take all of your thoughts and ideas into consideration and will capture moments and candid memories in addition to any formal photographs you may want.Outdoor Session TimingThe best hours for photo sessions are just after sunrise or a couple of hours before sunset. Most experienced photographers will schedule their sessions around these times and will be quite firm about scheduling during these hours. If your photographer is ok with a noon session with harsh mid day lighting, make sure there is sufficient shade at your location to produce the appropriate light necessary for good photos, or that they have external light sources. Otherwise you may reconsider your choice in photographer. Quality of WorkYou’d be surprised at how many people don’t know to look for a difference in the quality of photos from photographer to photographer. Technical aspects are very important in professional quality photos and anyone who wants to become a professional photographer should be experienced in providing a quality image. Questions to ask yourself about your photographers work would be;
- &amp;amp;lt;li>Are their images consistently in focus?
- Are the images crisp and clear?
- Are the images properly exposed and bright?
- Do you see detail in the images, like light in the subjects eyes, or are they just dark spots with little to no detail?
- Can the photographer reproduce the photos he/she is showing you in their portfolio (ie are there a vast array of great images with different subjects on their website?)
- Does the photographer have a blog to show their most recent work? And are there up to date posts showing the consistency of their work?
- Will the printed images look like they do when you see them online? Does your photographer have sample products so you know what to expect when you order? Or do they provide instructions on printing from a disk to ensure you get a great finished product?
Artistic effect and style may be subject to your photographers preference, but technical quality is something that should never be sacrificed when choosing your photographer. This skill often comes with a combination of talent and skill.
Connection with a Client
This is one of the most important things about choosing your photographer. If you don’t connect or click with your photographer, how can you feel comfortable interacting with your loved ones in front of their lens? When you look at your photographers’ portfolio, can you see that the subjects are having fun and that they feel comfortable in their surroundings? Do they make eye contact with the camera? Do the children in the photos look happy and content? You want to be able to look back at your images and remember what your child was like, what their personalities represented and if they aren’t fairly comfortable with the person who is taking their photos, that comfort and personality may not come through. In addition to this, your correspondence and conversations with your photographer leading up to the session should be friendly and comfortable.
Training and Education
Now a days photographers are a dime a dozen. Entry-level camera equipment is cheap and anyone who can read a forum figures they can become an instant photographer. Look for a photographer with formal training, certificates, memberships to photography organizations and lot’s of experience. These things show a photographers dedication to their craft. In addition to this, talent is a huge factor in this business so make sure you that in addition to their professional experience and training, they have a good eye. Photographers who are dedicated and experienced aren’t just doing this job for fun or as a source of extra cash, they are constantly improving their skill…and it should show.
Portfolio, Referrals & Experience
When checking out your photographers website AND blog, make sure they have a vast portfolio with a variety of images and subjects…not just several shots of the same few people. Being able to capture wonderful images with a variety of people and personalities is a valuable skill for any photographer. You want to make sure that the person you hire knows what they are doing and took the time to learn and enjoy their craft. Also be sure to check out their blog, do they have more than one or two posts? A photographer with several blog posts, or someone who posts often obviously has something to show for their experience.
Referrals are also an invaluable tool in finding a great photographer. If your friends and associates have had a great experience with a photographer and received images they loved…you’re probably in good hands!
There is something to be said for getting a great bargain, no question. Good quality at a great price is the ideal find in a photographer…but you have to be prepared to spend a little bit extra to get someone who has the experience, training, talent and expertise to give you a quality product and an experience you can enjoy. Higher pricing also means that this photographer is likely in higher demand, which comes with experience and consistently good products.
What has been your experience with choosing a photographer? Have you been pleased with your choice?
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