Choosing “the right” Photographer For YOU
Lets help you with a few simple steps:-
1 – Know what you need BEFORE starting
Go online and check out your competition’s websites. Maybe look at a different industry all together, get ideas from that. Collect photos in a folder if you can. Get a mental picture BEFORE you start, this will guide the process
2 – Check Photographers You Know First
See if they’ve done the kind of thing you need, and the quality and “style” is what you want. You’ll know the style if you’ve done step 1!
If they have, meet for a coffee – have a catch up – chat about the project, that’s probably all you need to do!
3 – Ask for Recommendations
On Linked IN or Twitter – be specific on what you need.
- Is it a people shoot or products?
- Is it an event?
- Do you need some property shots?
- Are you photographing food or drinks?
The more specific, the better the recommendations will be – no point getting a specialist studio photographer to shoot a building site !
(You can go the GOOGLE route too – just remember that the page rank is based on their SEO, not the quality of their work… dig deep AND get specific on your keyword search. For example – “Leeds Photographer” will get you hundreds of wedding photographers ).
4 – Check Portfolios
Pick through the recommendations and check out their portfolios – DO NOT just go on recommendation alone. That counts – a lot – but if their style is wrong (e.g. “traditional” and you’re after something “current“), you’re not going to get the right images.
5 – Ask for More Examples of Their Work
Once you’ve found photographers with a “style” you like, and they’ve been recommended to you – you’re nearly there.
To choose between a few, maybe ask for some more examples of their work, things related to your project – a quick intro email asking if they’ve any similar examples is fine.
This does 2 things:-
- Shows how keen they are – if they reply with a few shots, they’ve “bothered” to help you out.
- Shows depth in their work – this may be obvious from their website, but reassurance is gained from seeing that they’ve done many projects, rather than just that one-off on the website!
The Wedding Photographer Issue…
(got to use pink when talking of such things)
Many people go on courses and workshops to learn about wedding photography (or portraits, or whatever really). Here’s what happens….
- They get to photograph beautiful models who know how to pose perfectly.
- They use lighting set up by the course trainer – so everything is balanced and looks perfect.
- They then edit the photo under the guidance of the tutor
- The resultant photos are usually pretty amazing – and they should be in those circumstances.
- They then create a website and fill it full of photos from that day.…
Nothing wrong really – they did take the photos?
The “issue” is that these are shot in perfect conditions – no pressure, guidance etc. The true test is to see the photos from real weddings… where there is no one to hold hands, set up lighting, organise the guests, photoshop the files etc.
How to spot sites like this…
It’s easy really – just go through all the pages and see how many different brides and grooms you can see. Also, these courses will not usually have “families” to photograph – so if all the photos are just the couple, it’s probably from a course.
Asking to see “more of their work” is therefore a great thing to do – you can then see how they perform in reality…
It may be that they’ve not had time to update their website, so it looks like they’ve never shot a real wedding, when in reality they’ve done dozens and are fantastic!
6 – Meet Up for a Coffee
Finally, ask to meet for a coffee if possible. A face-to-face meeting is the best way to find out if you “hit it off” – rapport is hugely important in people photography, so you can see how things develop over that hour. And usually check out more photos on their iPad
After all that, you’ve probably found a photographer who can do the job you want!