Choosing the right photographer for your needs
I've only technically been in 'business' for a year so I'm pretty new in the world of photography, even though I've been taking photographs for many years. Every week I am amazed at the number of 'new photographers' out there. Sure, there's the old favorites, the very well respected folks who have been in the business for many years and who do an amazing job. I greatly look up to those folks. Then there are the newer folks like myself who are trying to fill a void in between the chain store experience and the high end 'art' photography market. And yet as each day goes by, I find there are more and more people out there that are calling themselves photographers. There are quite a few folks around even in my local area which is quite small. Some have not been very nice and quite snobby and some are amazingly supportive and friendly. I choose to associate with the latter. Photography is an art and we're all artists, but we are also businesspeople providing a service. Why not work together to collaborate and make the best possible art for our clients and our communities?
Since there are so many of us to choose from, how do you choose the right person for your needs? Here are a few suggestions that I have when choosing to go with a photographer, whether it is me or someone else:
Take a look at their portfolio. Do they have a lot of unique images with different people, or are they mostly the same people in each photo? Look at the lighting in the photos and the quality of the images. Are the colors the right shades? Are there a lot of shadows or 'blown out' spots in the photos? What is it you like best about this person's portfolio? Determine what this is and then make a small list of the type of photos you are looking from for your own session.
Don't just go by price. Sometimes you really get what you pay for. While I may charge a bit more than some folks out there, I simply cannot imagine doing a quality photo session, an hour of my time shooting plus a few hours editing, for $25-30. I realize some out there are doing this, but for me, I just cannot imagine how someone could spend a quality amount of time and charge so little. Compare the quality of the images, not just price.
Do they pay state sales tax and are a registered business? This one is very important to me. I may be small with only about 4-6 small bookings a month, but I record all sales, pay 6 percent sales tax and I am a registered business. It is very important to me to be ethical and pay my dues, even if I don't make a lot of money doing it.
When you contact the photographer, are they prompt and courteous in their communication? Recently I had a person contact me because another photographer never got back to them. I was just amazed that someone could not give another person the decency of a quick phone call or email. Treat others how you would like to be treated!
Those are just a few things that I would consider when choosing someone to take photos for you. Ultimately the choice is up to you, and there are a lot of us out there!
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