Choosing the right Photographer For Your Project
Let’s help you with a few simple steps:-
1 – Think about what you NEED
It’s worth having a think about the purpose of the photos before you start.
Go online and check out your competition’s websites, see what they are doing – or people in California doing the same thing. Ideas can come from anywhere.
So you just need headshots of everyone, or how about some action shots of them working – or each doing a presentation, or all standing around a table looking at some designs or….
Get the idea… have a little brainstorm to get the creative juices flowing, and 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.
Asking on Linked IN is the usual route but be specific on what you need or you will be flooded with hundreds of photographers, many of whom are not what you need!
Some things to clarify when you ask for a recommendation…
- Is it a people shoot or products?
- Is it an event?
- Is it for press or marketing?
- 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
We make it easy for you with our website – it’s a shop window which usually tells you what you need to know about what they shoot and how they make things look – their style.
So pick through the LINKED IN recommendations and check out their portfolios to make a shortlist.
Don’t just go on recommendation alone. That obviously counts – a lot – but if their style is wrong for your needs, 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 exception to this is when they’ve got a large portfolio to show – sometimes they’ve got everything on their site you need to know.
The Trainee Issue…
Many people go on courses and workshops to learn about photography, especially 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.…
The “issue” is that these are shot in perfect conditions with expert guidance.
There was no time pressure, annoying guests, crying brides or vicars who don’t like photographers. The true test is to see their photos from real weddings… where there is no one to hold hands, set up lighting, organise the guests, photoshop the files etc.
So be aware of these types of photographer – everyone has to start somewhere of course, but maybe you don’t want them starting with your wedding!
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 or ZOOM meeting is the best way to find out if you “hit it off” – rapport is hugely important in people photography.
After an hour or so you can see how things develop and usually check out more photos with them.
After all that, you’ve probably found a photographer who can do the job you want!