Picking the Right Photographer

There are so many portrait photographers to choose from these days, just how do you find the right one for you?  Oh, that’s easy, just go to their website, right?  Maybe, but did you read about that guy who just picked other images off the web and posted them on his site because they were “his”… wait for it… STYLE!  OMG!! Okay, then just pick a photographer based on the price!  Hmmm…  If you’ve got time to navigate through all that, I suppose you’d be okay.  But what’s a “Unit” anyway?  This approach will give you first hand experience to “YGWYPF” (You Get What You Pay For).

So enough about how NOT to find the right photog.  Here’s the best way to find the right shooter and not waste your money: Interview them!  After all, you're hiring them for a job, right?  So, quench that Gut Feeling and realize that 1st impressions are everything.  Sitting down, 1-2-1 with someone will tell you things about that person that you could never get over the phone, not to mention the dreaded “website” review.  Ask them to bring some of their examples and chat about what you like and what you don’t like about what you see.  Very often, photographers like me have huge egos.  However, when you point out something to me that you don’t like in one of my images, it helps me understand specifically what you’re hoping for and what I should stay away from because you’re not interested in that.

After your meeting with your prospective photographer, ask yourself these questions; Was he/she on time?  Were they prepared to chat with you?  Did they show you the kinds of images that interested you?  Did you have fun talking with them?  These questions don’t really have anything to do with taking the pictures, but I believe that they’re the most important ones.  Most photographers can handle a camera, but can they deal with people?  Do they communicate well.  Can they deal with you... and your kids?  Can you deal with them?  All of these other questions set the stage for the situations that may occur after your photo session.  You’re not going to be happy when your photographer has not returned your calls 3 weeks after your session, and deposit.

Don’t have time for a sit down?  Here are some helpful hints that should get you connected with the right pro;

- Get references (6 is a fair number) and call them,… that part is the key!  References should be clients who've worked with the photographer the same way that you intend to, family portrait session, maternity portrait, executive head shots, newborn,...  Kind of different scenarios when you think about it, right?

- Get a written guarantee.  If they don’t have enough confidence in themselves to have a written guarantee, why should you  have any confidence in them at all?  Ask about a contract with dates and times and delivery dates and… Whatever you can think of.  Why not?  You'd do that with the painter, right!

Good luck finding the right photographer and if you need any more help, I'll be happy to sit down with you for a nice cup of Jo... I'm buyin'.