Without knowing one’s budget, we will go lightly in this section – However the old caveat is true – you do get what you pay for.
What type of session are you wanting to shoot? Headshots, Family, Newborn, Senior, couples, boudoir, fashion, editorial, food, beauty – the list can go on. Once you determine the concept that you want, then you can begin your search via referral, google, social media for the photographer who specializes in that particular genre. Just as you shouldn’t expect to eat great barbecue from a Pizza/Wing shop or prime rib at 24 hour breakfast spot, don’t expect the best images for your new born if you select a food photographer. Select those who specialize in what your looking for.
Once you narrow down the style that you want to shoot & the photographers who fit it. The next step is to review their portfolio|collection. Do you prefer natural light outdoor shoots? Do you prefer indoor studio lighting w/ backdrops? Or combination of both? Do you prefer all color photographs or do you enjoy the classic black & white look? Do you like your photographs heavily edited, skin finely smoothed & extra photoshop? Are you a fan of bright photographs or shadowy moody types? Those are some of the questions that you should ask yourself as you are reviewing a perspective photographers work. Does their finished photographs appeal to you? If your preference is all color heavily edited photographs shot with studio light and backdrops brightly lit, then paying for a session with a photographer who’s images do not fit that look is a waste of your time & money.
With the evolution of social media in particular Instagram, the encouragement to photograph different things is high. With an easy entry level via Best Buy & Instagram, one could find a photographer on every corner in Atlanta or most cities across the United States. In my opinion, look closely at those photographers who seek to differentiate themselves from the masses. Photographer’s who strive to increase their integrity via business structure (Corporation|LLC) or licensing, those who can offer studio space (rent, share, lease or home) in addition to outside on location settings & a website presence. All of those items listed require an additional financial investment for the photographer & should be considered a factor in your decision to hire. To me, it’s one of the dividing lines between those who do photography as a hobby and those who operate with a business focus. Having a free page on facebook, Instagram, Flickr is easy, it requires no investment to start a page on those platforms and brand yourself a photographer – select wisely.
Besides just taking your photo & giving you some digital’s on dropbox, what other services does your photographer choice offer? Prepping for your photo shoot can be hectic, there’s outfits to choose, hair nails and face appointments etc it can be stressful. To lesson your pre and post shoot burden, seek a photographer who can offer a full array of services – I.E. “Full Service”. WEA Photography offers pre shoot wardrobe consultation to help select your outfit choices by coming up with a “mood board” of what outfits are appealing to your goal, then we narrow it down from there. We have offer in house hair styling/make up services via our staff so that you don’t have to run all over town trying to get these things done before the shoot. After the shoot, we don’t just send you a gallery link and say choose! – we view your gallery together in person within the same day & you’re selections are made the same day in most cases. Let’s get back to the digital’s & dropbox, can your photographer choice offer you anything outside of digital’s? Can they offer you fine art prints, luxury albums, large wall art collections, edited session films, an app to quickly access your images via phone or tablet in addition to just digital’s? If you’re seeking more than just a “shoot & burn” photography experience – seek those photographers who can offer you a high level of service and experience.
Photo shoots are fun no doubt, however there should always be some policies in place to protect both photographer and client in case of “variables” that can arise. Copyrights, social media credits, altering or editing, cancellations, reschedules, photo usage, payment arrangements, deposits, product delivery & how many should be addressed within these agreements. Nothing dampens the experience for a photographer than to see their edited photos altered, filtered, cropped in any form other than how they were delivered to the client & to have to inform them that it violates the contract that they both signed. Nothing dampens the experience for a client than to not receive everything that they paid for stipulated in the agreement. To avoid those missteps, ask your selected photographer if they have such an agreement for you to read over and you both sign. That way everyone has a piece of mind and can fully enjoy the session experience