Just like you, I want to be hired by clients who like my style and can afford my prices.
Hiring a photographer is a bit like commissioning an artist to create a work of art for your home. You wouldn’t hire an abstract artist for a painting if you are into realism and the same holds for hiring a photographer. Putting yourself in the hands of someone you can trust to create the type of portrait you want is important for everyone’s satisfaction. Following are a few of my tips to think about hiring a photographer that’s the best fit for you:
- Look through the website of the photographer you are considering hiring. Do you see pictures that make you sigh? Are you drawn to his or her style? For example, I shoot few posed portraits, enjoy a close crop, and images where the story is all about the relationship between a couple or family versus all faces towards the camera. Other photographers shoot primarily in their studio; I prefer outdoor locations or the homes/offices of my subjects.
- Before interviewing photographers, nail down your budget and know what you want for deliverables. For example, do you just want digital images for social media or your website or are you hoping for your photographer to create a photo book from the images she captures? Maybe you want a large canvas of your couple’s portrait to hang in your living room. The key is to be aware of what you want to receive and spend.
- There is a wide range of pricing for portrait work and high prices or a sweet studio don’t always translate into a better photographer. Then again, if you hire someone who is dirt cheap, you might consider the old adage, “you get what you pay for.” Hiring a professional photographer purely on price rarely delivers.
- Potential clients sometimes wonder just what they are paying for. It’s fairly simple. You’re paying for the time it takes your professional photographer to guide you through a session that you will be delighted with, take excellent pictures, cull and deliver a pre-ordained number of proofs, edit your choices, print your images in whatever format you desire, and spend as much time with you during your session as necessary to capture what you want. There is driving time, equipment purchases, and many photographers pay their own medical insurance, never mind save for retirement and taxes. Every time a photographer is hired, he or she has the opportunity to sustain his or her small business. And oh. It goes without saying that you are paying a professional to create professional pictures.
- Be open with your photographer about all the elements you will bring to the photo shoot. If you will be including extra family members or pets, tell her. Does your family have a shared activity you all enjoy and hope to see pictures of? Tell her. I always research creative portrait options prior to a shoot to remain fresh and efficient based on who my subjects are. For example, if you are a writer, I might ask you to bring a book with you. Or perhaps your best friend is in town and you would love to include her for a few shots. Maybe your family loves a good game of touch football. Tell me.
- Contracts of some sort are important. Read all the documentation your photographer sends you, and if it is unclear as to what work will be provided and at what price, ask for clarification.
- Do not, I repeat do not, hire a photographer purely on your best friend’s say so. Word of mouth is super important, but what works for one person might not work for another. Do your own research.
- I believe the personality of your photographer is also critical. Do you feel relaxed when speaking with him or her? Energized? Elevated? This is important because this individual will be in close contact with you–you might be working with a world class, award-winning photographer, but if you don’t feel comfortable in his or her presence, that’s a recipe for potential disaster.
Just like you, I want to be hired by clients who like my style and can afford my prices. I respect my clients and expect them to respect and value me as well. We are all drawn to different styles and personalities. The world of photography is wonderful because of this.
Above portrait by Marsha Steckling