So you’re thinking of hiring a photographer. Everyone knows someone who bought a fancy camera and has since put up a photography website and a “For Hire!” sign on their imaginary photo studio door. before you hire a photographer, look closely at the pictures on their website, Facebook, or blog. Anyone with any camera can put up a website. Here are 5 things to consider to make sure you will get great photos.
Photography is art and every experienced artist has honed their craft to create a consistent result. Whoever you hire, you want to make sure you have a good idea of what they will be creating for you. As you click through images from a photographer, do they seem to go together even though they were taken of different families in different settings? Newbies often produce images that are wildly different from each other. Who knows what your pictures would look like?
Ask to see a whole session, not just a slideshow of the best 2 or 3 images pulled from full sesions. It is essential that you know what you can expect to get when you get yours taken. How many photos will you get? Are they all good? Are they unique from each other, or will you be getting several similar shots?
These are basic photography skills, but I so often see images that should be tossed are instead highlighted as portfolio worthy. DSLR cameras have many settings and inexperienced photographers can get overwhelmed as they are trying to get little kids to smile, framing the shot, focusing, and dialing aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. You want someone who is relaxed and comfortable with their camera.
As you look at images, check group shots to see if everyone’s eyes are in focus. For really close ups on one person, are both eyes sharp? In effort to get blurry backgrounds, it is easy to lose sharp eyes. Also, you want images to be bright, but not overwhelmingly so. If there are pure black or pure white spots on the images, they won’t print well. This is especially important (and messed up) on blond or black hair, white or black clothing, and bald heads.
If you are paying someone, you don’t want it to look like you did them yourself! Photography is so much more than clicking a button on an expensive camera. It requires a creativity and vision to really capture people’s personalities. Good photographers do this by using beautiful light, photogenic locations, artistic principles of composition, and drawing out true smiles and interactions.
Some photographers have a flat rate and give you all the full resolution unwatermarked digital files so you can store them and print them as you please. Some have you pay a session fee and then another fee for getting the print files. Others require you to pay a session fee and then pay for (much more expensive) prints through them and only give you low resolution watermarked photos. Some charge a session fee that includes “print credits” that will allow you to pick out some prints, but pay more for additionals. Do you know what the total cost will be for your portraits?