Between the warmer weather and the various holidays coming up i'm seeing more and more posts about all kinds of photo sessions available!
It's easy to see how someone could be overwhelmed when choosing a photographer especially when you don't necessarily know what to look for!
I have been wanting to write something like this for a while now and thought today was the perfect day to sit down and write out my thoughts. I hope it helps at least one person if not more :)
What to look for when you're looking for a photographer?
Today with social media we are flooded with photographs and advertisements making it a little overwhelming to choose anything any more.
Whether you're doing formal photos or casual lifestyle photos PLEASE take the time to look through a persons portfolio (however they show them ex: Facebook, website, photo sharing site).
Picking out a photographer is like finding a favorite restaurant. Everyone's experience, opinion and tastes are different so that is why it's EXTREMELY important to consider what your friend likes may not necessarily be your style. So take the time to look through a photographers portfolio.
Do you like how they edit, do they look natural, are they even in focus?
Just remember "likes" on Facebook do not matter. It doesn't even matter if they're not on Facebook (GASP!) What DOES matter is if they have either hard copies or some way for you to see their images to be sure.
Take the time to look through when they aren't your family members because many times when you're looking at an image of someone in your family your feelings of that person trump the quality of the photo.
Things to ask/consider?
Does the photographer have a guarantee if you're not satisfied - either try again or money back?
Are they in your price range. If they are too expensive do not settle for someone. Ask around - I promise it'll be worth it to find someone that takes a quality image.
Can a child bring their favorite toy or stuffed animal? I love this one!! The stuffed animal is a child's best friend. It's a part of them. Not only is it something that will always be remembered but it will help the child be more at ease. It's easier to get the child to warm up with the toy/stuffed animal then later on take a few images without the stuffed animal.
Will the photographer order prints/packages for you or help you through the process? Definitely do research about places to print! I'm all about bargain hunting, being frugal and getting a good deal but when it comes to photos YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. We have all been burned before with ordering prints with a cheap discount code and the images aren't what they should be - so depressing!
Digital or print image release? How many images will you receive and what is their turn around time for the edited, final images.
Don't assume because the person is a great still life, food, or landscape photographer that they'll be good at family/children photography. POSING PEOPLE IS REALLY HARD.
If you're doing outdoor photos be sure to really focus on their outdoor photos in the portfolio - do the images have weird shadows on faces, is the image too bright/overexposed, are the people squinting?
Lastly - my favorite - are they ethical? In the digital age we are in art/graphics and photography have all merged. Before we used to look at an image and it was proof that something happened... these days we can't totally tell because of programs that are available. I'm more of a purist so when I want personal photos done I want people to look at it and know that it's true, pure and exactly as it happened. I'm PERSONALLY not a fan of overlays, fake snow, fake skies, fake lens flare etc etc etc. It drives me insane however that's my personal opinion. Some people really do love the edited, photo shopped style and that's okay! It's just one more thing to ask and consider while looking for a photographer.
So ultimately if a photographer’s pictures are too dark, too bright, over photo shopped, blurry and/or out of focus then it may be time to consider going with a different photographer...Cameras are like cars. If a person has the money to buy a race car it doesn't mean they know how to drive it. The same goes with photography. Even if someone owns an expensive camera, it does not mean they know how to use it, how to compose, how to light, or how to edit. Do not be fooled by their gear!!
Hope this helps you consider some things the next time you're looking for a photographer. Did I miss something? Let me know :)