I recently came across a story about a devastated Mum, who had been extremely unhappy with the service and results from the photographer she had hired to capture her family's memories. So unhappy, that she had made a public statement about her ordeal. Then came the comments, there were 100's of others that had had similar experiences with this same photographer. I was both shocked and heartbroken by the actions of this particular photographer. The number of unhappy clients was just staggering. As a photographer, I felt ashamed and frustrated that someone in the same profession as me had treated people this way.
So I want to help!
Choosing a great photographer can be a daunting task, simply due the sheer volume of us. We are everywhere :). But I have a few things for you to consider to hopefully help narrow things down.
1. Do your research: Ask your friends and family for recommendations, scour websites, and find reviews. Especially, the reviews, if you can't see any for a photographer you're considering, ask them. Any photographer with great reviews and recommendations will happily share them. You may ask about contacting previous clients to ask about the experience. Satisfied clients will be able to tell you precisely what they liked about working with the photographer. This will give you insight into the creative process. You can learn a lot about a professional photographer from talking to their clients. The more photographers you compare, the better chance you’ll have of finding a gem.
We all know someone who “takes photos”, but understanding how to set up a great shot, engage with clients, provide perfect lighting, and edit photos are skills that require training and experience. Don’t just hire someone who thinks they are a photographer; hire a professional photographer who has an established track record. Look at their websites and their portfolios.
2. Find a style you LOVE: Does the photography style match your vision for your final images? Do you like the change in colours and the edits? Are the whites white and the blacks black? Do you prefer natural lighting or flash lighting? If the style is entirely different from your ideal imagery is, you’re not going to be pleased with the results. Be sure to choose a photographer whose photos you think are stunning and stop you in your tracks because these will, more than likely be what's hanging pride of place in your home.
Just like other professions, photographers tend to specialize in one or two areas of photography: weddings, maternity, newborn, families, portraits, landscapes, nature, etc. Wedding photographers, for instance, might not be the best choice to take your newborn’s photos. Likewise, someone who specializes in nature photography might not be an ideal match to shoot your wedding. Find a photographer who specializes in the genre you're looking for.
3. Interview your favourites: Once you’ve narrowed down your search, ask for a consultation. You should be able to communicate freely and easily with your photographer, so speaking to candidates in person or over the phone will give you a feel for how your personalities mix. If you feel comfortable chatting over the phone, you’re more likely to be entirely at ease during the shoot. Be sure the photographer is relaxed with you as well. Use this time to explain what kind of photos you would like and be sure the photographer is comfortable with kids, babies, and pets if they’ll be in the shots. Go with someone you like and click with. It will make all the difference in your end results.
Every photographer should have a tailor-made experience that begins once you book them. Any photographer worth their salt, will take the time to build a great relationship with their clients long before the session day, and this is just as important as the photography itself. Ask to see full galleries that they have to delivered to their clients. Ask all the questions! I am always, ALWAYS happy to answer any questions or address any concerns my clients have.
4. Check their prices: It might be tempting to choose the photographer who charges the least, but often this lower price reflects a lack of skill and/or experience. Everyone has to start somewhere, but for the best results, it’s essential to have someone with experience in the field. Photographers charge what they’re worth and what is required to run a business. Also, be sure to ask about any hidden fees: does the upfront cost include editing, prints, and other services, or are each of those extra? Know what your budget is and what you can afford, but if possible don’t let price be your main factor. Some moments only happen once and you want to make sure it is photographed the way you want it photographed.
Remember the value of your families photos will only increase with every year that passes. 5. Products: The quality, style and choice of products photographers offer will differ dramatically. It’s important when meeting with your photographer, that you see some examples of their products and know what's included in your package before booking. If you want images only, then ask how many images you will receive. Will they be on a USB or do you have to download them? Will they be edited? Will you get an online gallery to share with your family and friends? And if albums are important to you, then ask to see samples and talk through the different styles and options available to you.
A great photographer will do far more than just take pretty pictures, it’s worth investing in a photographer that will invest in you too. Complete trust between you and your photographer is essential and will result in photos that you will cherish forever. I take it as an absolute honour to photograph my clients. They have put their faith and trust in me to capture their memories. And together we make them magical. Even if I'm not the photographer you ultimately choose, I still want to make sure you're getting the best experience you possibly can.
Would you like to put your trust in me? Get in touch anytime <3