How to Choose the Best Photographer
How do you choose the right photographer? Here are few tips to help guide you.
Do your research.
Ask your friends and family for recommendations, scour websites, and find reviews. The more photographers you compare, the better chance you’ll have of finding a gem. Do not ask in a Facebook group; you will likely be disappointed.
Hire a true professional.
We all know someone who “takes photos”, but taking great pictures on vacation and understanding how to set up a great shot, engage with clients, provide perfect lighting, and edit photos are skills that require training and experience. Don’t just hire someone who thinks they are a photographer; hire a professional photographer who has an established track record. Look at their websites, their portfolios, and their reviews.
REAL PHOTOGRAPHERS HAVE A WEBSITE.
Everyone has to start somewhere, but for the best results, it’s essential to have someone with experience in the field. Ask if the prospective photographer has any education in art, photography, or photo editing as this can make a massive difference in the quality of the finished product.
Read reviews and talk to former clients.
If you can find reviews online, be sure the read through them thoroughly. You may ask about contacting previous clients to ask about the experience. Satisfied clients will be able to tell you precisely what they liked about working with the photographer. This will give you insight into the creative process. You can learn a lot about a professional photographer from talking to clients.
Find someone whose style you love.
Visit the photographer’s website and social media pages and review their portfolio. Does the photography style match your vision for your final images? Do you like the change in colors and the edits? Are the whites white and the blacks black? Do you prefer natural lighting or flash lighting? If the style is entirely different from your own, you’re not going to be pleased with the results. Be sure to choose a photographer whose photos you think are stunning that way, you’re more likely to love your photos as well.
Interview the photographer and test your comfort level.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a few prospects, ask for a consultation. You should be able to communicate freely and easily with your photographer, so speaking to candidates in person or over the phone will give you a feel for how your personalities mix. If you feel comfortable chatting over the phone, you’re more likely to be entirely at ease during the shoot. Be sure the photographer is relaxed with you as well. Use this time to explain what kind of photos you would like and be sure the photographer is comfortable with kids, babies, and pets if they’ll be in the shots. Ask to see full galleries that they have to deliver to their clients.
Focus on the photographer’s specialty.
Just like other professions, photographers tend to specialize in one or two areas of photography: weddings, maternity, newborns, families, portraits, landscapes, nature, etc. Wedding photographers, for instance, might not be the best choice to take your newborn’s photos. Likewise, someone who specializes in nature photography might not be an ideal match to shoot your wedding. Find a photographer who specializes in the kind of pictures you want.
Ask about the editing process.
The best photographers also know how to edit photos to perfection. However, not all editors are created equal. Ask about the photographer’s editing software and skill level, and make known your expectations. Are you looking for minimal editing, lots of editing, or somewhere in between? You want to ensure that the photographer you choose can meet your needs both behind the lens and during editing. Every photographer has a different style of editing they provide to clients.
Check the fees.
It might be tempting to choose the photographer who charges the least, but often this lower price reflects a lack of skill and experience. Photographers charge what they’re worth and what is required to run a business. Also, be sure to ask about any hidden fees: does the upfront cost include editing, prints, and other services, or are each of those extra? You don’t need to break the bank to afford a quality photographer, but you should be willing to invest a fair amount to ensure you get the best possible result.
Find the perfect location.
Particularly if you’re hiring a portrait photographer, location is everything. Ask the photographer about her favorite shooting locations, or if you have somewhere specific in mind, see if that location will work for your project. Make sure the site is perfect. You can also go ahead of time to ensure that the area is what you wanted. Lastly, check to see if there is any additional cost for the photographer to travel to your chosen location.
Featured senior rep:
Alayna - New London High School, Class of 2022