Hiring the Right Photographer

Gene Robertson Blog

As a professional photographer, it is my job to capture the right moments at the right times. Sadly, and all too often, I hear from our clients who had unfortunate dealings with other photographers on not getting what they “paid” for. When you hire a photographer, whether it be for family portraits, a wedding, high school senior photos, or for whatever occasion, you need to ask yourself some questions and inquire on the photographer or photographers you have in mind.

  1. Are you on a budget? Believe it or not, I do get asked what my best price offer is. My pricing is set and I typically do not fudge from it unless I am running a special for a type of event or holiday. If you believe in the old saying “You Get What You Pay For”, this could get you into a sticky situation when the photographer you hired to do your event or session doesn’t live up to your standards.
  2. Does your photographer have a portfolio? Most professional photographers have a website where you can look at their work in the different types of photography disciplines they offer. With the advent of social media, some photographers have taken to Facebook and Twitter to branch out to a wider client base. Most if not all photographers will be happy to show you their work. They want your business and make you happy.
  3. How long has your photographer been in business? This question is key to finding the right photographer for your special session. Just because Jane received a new camera for Christmas, doesn’t mean she is a photographer. A photographer spends a lot of hours learning through instruction on how to make that photo come alive. Anyone can buy a DSLR camera, put it on Auto Shooting Mode, press the button and take a picture. But, do they know how ISO works? Are they familiar with F-stops and Apertures? Do they know the Rule of Thirds? In order to be a great photographer, we have to know all of the intricate details of our camera to make things happen. Pointing and shooting and using a pop up flash doesn’t work. It is these type of photographers you want to avoid.
  4. Are there any hidden costs? Ask your photographer this question! Recently, I had a client ask me this and when I told her that I didn’t, she replied, “Thank You!” In listening to her story, she explained that she contacted a photographer to do a family session for her. She and the photographer met to discuss the session, and my client was charged $80.00 for a consultation fee. Please check with whomever you hire and ask about this. Some photographers charge for a sitting fee per person after “X” amount of people.

There are different types of photographers that do different types of work. Some may have indoor studios, while others typically use the outdoors as their backdrop. While there is nothing wrong with either, it really depends on the type of session you are wanting and what you intend to have captured. Research the prospective photographer and ask questions. Most photographers for larger events such as weddings, will have you sign a contract. Read it thoroughly. Make sure that you are getting everything you want. Once the session is done, you may not have a chance to have a do-over.

Professional photographers spend a lot of time prepping and editing your session. Be patient with them but stay in contact. Most will offer you a “sneak peek” of the session, (at least I do!). Editing over 1000 pictures for a wedding takes time. Some smaller session will typically take less time. If the photographer you choose does an outstanding job, word of mouth referrals is their best friend. Make sure you refer them to friends and family. You will be glad you did!