My goal with this blog post is to eliminate any anxiety you have about hiring a photographer and making sure you find the right one. I want to walk you through steps you should take to finding the right photographer for you, but also things you should specifically find out and ask about when working with a photographer.
I don’t want anyone to ever feel like they made the wrong choice, or to hate the photos they have because they based their decision on price instead of finding the right fit. Yes, budget matters, but your photos do too.
I want you to start by asking yourself...
- Why do I want photos?
- What are they for?
- Who will see these?
- What’s their level of importance?
For instance, if you’re looking to get new photos taken of yourself to grow your business (i.e. branding photos), to make more money, to get more clients and/or to sell more products… that’s pretty important. That’s your livelihood and has an immediate impact on your life. What if one photo sold a month’s worth of income for you? Not only does that immediately make back your money spent, but it’s actually made you a profit! Woo hoo! That’s the goal with business photos, so don’t be afraid to invest...but invest in the right person.
The same thing goes for something as important as your wedding. These photos are forever photos. They’re keepsakes and ones that you’ll pass down through generations. They’re important and meant to be shared, especially with your family & friends. The person photographing you will be there with you ALL day, for every special moment, every tear or ugly cry face, every nerve/worry, every crazy uncle… ;) Why would you not hire someone you feel incredibly comfortable with to be there with you on that day, to help ease nerves and make it even more special? It’s worth investing in the right person, because they become a part of your memories.
How do you find the right photographer?
Here are some quick tips to be sure you’re investing in what matters.
Look for your desired photography style.
- Every photographer has their own style of photography. It’s an art form and every photographer will see a moment in a different light and also edit their photos with that same view.
- If you love light and bright photography, don’t hire someone who’s style is moody and hipster.
Follow their social media.
- Permission to be a stalker. You can get a great sense of a photographer's style by following their social media accounts (especially Instagram).
- Read the captions to get to know their personality before you reach out.
Get to know them.
- Make sure you have some kind of meeting with a photographer before you hire them, phone call, video chat or in-person.
- Ask questions (any and all) talk with them for longer than 5 minutes so you can get to know them.
- **Tip: If a photographer won’t call you back, this is a warning sign. Make sure you find someone who is willing to meet/talk in some way, shape or form.
Look for their specialty.
- Most photographer’s specialize in something; wedding, newborn, portrait, commercial, food, flatlays, personality branding <wink> (that's me), etc...
- Photographer’s can take photos of anything, but there’s always something they get hired the most for or they showcase as their specialty.
Find someone who has the same philosophy or values as you.
- For instance, I don’t significantly retouch my photos. I love making people look as natural and themselves as possible. So if you’re someone who wants significant retouching in your photo - I’m not the right photographer for you.
- For big days like your wedding, finding a photographer who will cherish the same things you do will make all the difference.
- For instance, if you love the posed family portraits to be able to hang on the wall and pass down through generations make sure to look for a photographer who loves and understands that sentiment.
- If you love the in-between moments and capturing the candid reactions, be sure to look for a photographer who’s also passionate about those moments.
Are they location specific or willing to travel?
- If you find the right photographer for you, don’t worry about location. It’s worth it to fly them to you if that’s something they’re willing to do, and it will make you feel so much better to work with the right person too. Be sure to meet with them and talk about this option.
Things to consider and Questions to ask your potential photographer:
Be sure to plan ahead.
Most photographers are booked in advance (sometimes several months), don’t contact someone last minute and expect them to fit you in.
Ask questions like:
- What’s your availability (for a certain month or time frame)?
- What’s your turnaround time (for processing/editing photos)?
- What’s your payment plan?
- Are you location specific or willing to travel? (if traveling is an option what are your added expenses?)
Every photographer has a different style.
Don’t be afraid to ask them about it. Photography is an artform and most photographer’s know exactly what and why they shoot the way they do. It’s a great way to get to know them?
Ask questions like:
- What’s your photography style?
- What’s your favorite part about being a photographer?
Every photographer has a process for scheduling, payments, editing, etc…
Don’t be afraid to ask about that process so you can understand their work, their style and the why behind what they do.
Ask questions like:
- What’s your client process?
- How do you edit/process your photos?
- How do you go about posing people?
- Do you help with outfits, hair, make-up, etc?
- Do you retouch?
- Do you find/arrange/scout locations?
Every photographer has different and special equipment.
If there’s a certain look you’re going for or an item you need, don’t be afraid to ask for it. For instance, if you needed a billboard sized image - you would need to hire a photographer that has the right equipment for such a large print project. That’s considered a specialized thing, and most independent photographers don’t have the equipment to accommodate such a large print size.
After you’ve gone over these things, start talking price.
Things to keep in mind when discussing the price:
Most photographer’s offer packages, so you can get a good sense of exactly what you’re getting, but don’t be afraid to ask for more or different items if you need them.
There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes in a photographer’s world, than you may know. Pricing often reflects these unseen hours, but if you’re curious and unsure, always ask. ;)
Here’s some of what goes on behind the scenes for a photographer:
- Initial meetings (1 hour or more…)
- Location scouting (several hours, varies)
- Pre-photo session prep: Planning, arranging, outfit/makeup/hair coordination, equipment cleaning and prep. (2-3 hours)
- Photo Session Day: Coordinating and leading clients through the session, making sure to get the right shots, angles, lighting, outfits, etc… (1-8 hours)
- Post Photo Session: Downloading/uploading photos, processing, culling, editing and packaging photos for your use. (8+ hours)
Total hours: varies significantly… but mainly between 13 - 40+ hours depending on the session, number photos, processing resources (film or digital), etc...
Remember that it’s not about price when it comes to finding the right photographer, it’s about fit.
Every single photographer I know has a different style, a different personality and a different way of looking at the world through their lens.
There is no one size fits all photographer, that just simply doesn’t exist. The most important thing to focus on is, are they the right fit for me?
- Do I like the person?
- Do I feel comfortable around them?
- Do they match my values and life philosophy?
- Do they get me?
- Do I love their style?
Finding the right photographer is a big deal, and I hope that this helps you find someone AMAZING to work with.
I am an open book and if you are looking for a photographer to talk to, you can contact me any time - click here. I specialize in personality branding photography (to help grow your business by sharing your personality and story with your audience). But I can also help you find the right photographer for you through referrals, suggestions, questions to ask, etc…
I offer free 30 min. inquiry calls so you can get to know me. You can sign up and schedule your time with me by clicking here.