“My cousin just bought a great camera, and she will only charge us $50 for 100 pictures on a disk.”
It’s a thought so many of us are guilty of- including me! I’ve paid money for sessions that never went on my wall. They just weren’t wall worthy.
I offer a basic camera class annually, and tips on finding and hiring a professional is something that is always discussed. I always give tips on how to hire, and I think it’s something everyone should have the opportunity to know!
As my family session with the amazingly talented Abby Glenn Photography quickly approaches, I have found myself on the “other side”, so to speak. I have found myself asking the questions that I’m sure many clients have asked themselves in order to find the perfect photographer. Here are a few tips and questions to ask to find your photographer.
Are they a “professional” or a “hobbyist”?
Why is this question important? Because you SHOULD NOT be paying for a hobbyist! There is nothing wrong with having a friend with a nice camera to take a few pictures for you, but you should not be charged for this! While I understand every photographer starts somewhere, there are several things that set a professional apart from a hobbyist. Someone who charges you should be able to shoot on manual! Not sure if they can? Just ask. This is your session and you deserve to know what you are paying for. A professional also pays taxes, and in Louisiana, photographers should also charge sales taxes. Uncle Sam takes a chunk from your paycheck every week; it isn’t fair for you to pay someone who pockets it without also making the same contribution.
Does their portfolio match your style?
Do your research before booking your photographer. Photography is an art, and the photographer is the artist. Are you more into the urban look, or are you a studio kind of person? What about that light fresh look in an open field? Or is it the styled look with props that really makes you smile? Check out the photographer’s portfolio and see if you see your style. When a client and photographer with similar styles come together, magic will be made!
What do I plan to do with my images?
In the digital age, I have found that almost everyone wants their digital files. I totally get it. But more importantly, what do you plan to do with those digitals? Do you plan to keep them in digital form, or will you be putting them in an album? Do you love the large framed prints, or will you be sending out graduation or birth announcements with your images? These are all things to consider, and to discuss with the photographer in advance so they know what you are wanting to achieve. Professional photographers are able to offer professional prints, framing, albums, etc, at a quality that is unbeatable by consumer labs. I ALWAYS recommend anything larger than an 8×10 be professionally printed and mounted. You paid to hire a pro, so be sure that the pictures you hang in your home are up to par. (Side note: Please do not, do not, do not print in the same place you shop for groceries or pick up your prescriptions. You’re making me cringe just thinking about it.)
What is your budget?
There is a photographer out there for every budget and every style. How important is this session to you? Priorities are key, and there is no wrong answer. Personally, saving for an adoption has been our top priority lately, so we’ve had to cut back. We’ve lived in a “new” home for nine months that “needs” decorating, but we’ve held off in order to save, save, save. (We’ve literally had paint swatches on the wall since October, the same month we decided to pursue adoption.) Next on my priority list is remembering these times and having beautiful, timeless images of my family to hang in our home and albums of us to pass down to our children, and their children. There really is nothing better than the feeling of seeing a framed print on the wall of my sweet daughter and the beautiful gaze only she can give. Even after seeing the same print for two years, my heart still skips a beat and I can’t help but smile when I walk by it.
Should I hire a specialized photographer?
This goes back to the previous question, and if it is in your budget, absolutely! A wedding photographer knows exactly the perfect moments to capture, and captures them from most enticing angles, and works great in every situation, especially the unpredictable ones. A family photographer knows how to draw your children in for the most fun session, capturing their spirits and how they truly are. A newborn photographer knows all the secrets on keeping your precious bundle cozy, asleep, and, most importantly, safe, while catching the tiniest of details. And a senior photographer can make your daughter feel more beautiful than ever, and bring your son’s personality out like no other.
Here are examples from a few “specialized” photographers before (as hobbyists) and after (as specialized professionals):
What should I do once I find the perfect photographer for me?
Once you have decided on your photographer, contact them to check availability. Most of us like to hear from you through email; it helps us stay organized. =) Many photographers also offer online booking. It is ideal to book a couple of months in advance, sometimes more, depending on the photographer and type of session. Wedding photographers typically book fast, even a year or more in advance. Also, keep in mind that family photographers book fall months quickly, with lots of families updating their pictures in time for Christmas cards.
What photographers should I consider?
Wedding: Olivia Lott Photography
Family: J&K McDaniel Photography
Seniors: Glamour & Grace Photography
Newborns: I hope you’ll consider me =) Love by Lindey
Hiring a photographer is something that should not be taken lightly! Whether it be for your wedding, or your first newborn, or your daughter’s senior session, or to update your family photo, these are the memories that you hold dearest. You want to know that the photographer that you choose considers your session as important as you do, and will create timeless memories that will last a lifetime, and lifetimes to come.