Picking the right photographer for YOU!
Every communication I make online, every post I make on Instagram, every blog I write and every conversation I have with my clients helps me to narrow down my ideal client and audience.
I only shoot and put out work that I am proud of, work that I love doing and work for people who love my work.
So what do you do if you find a photographer you want to work with, but their style isn’t what you want…how do you find a photographer that is right for you on ALL fronts?
Finding a photographer that fits within your budget is not the only thing you need to take into consideration when choosing the right photographer for you…sure, it’s a big box you may need to tick, but if you’re spending ANY money on hiring a professional photographer I am going to guess that you want images that you will actually enjoy right?
When you ask a photographer to replicate a certain style or a certain shot that they’re not used to doing, 9 times out of 10 you are both going to be disappointed.
Because, if shooting that style was something they were good at, or something they enjoyed doing, they would already be doing it.
Here are a few tips of mine to finding the right photographer for YOU (not for Susan down the road or a friend of a friend of a friend who said this photographer they used for their wedding 10 years ago was good and cheap…)
#1 - Create a Pinterest board or save images on Instagram of the ‘style’ of images you like
Once you’ve done some Pinteresting (enjoy delving down this rabbit hole by the way :P), take a look at the images you’ve saved and work out what it is you like about these sorts of images.
- is the the lighting? I.e. photo shoots done at golden hour (sunset)
- is it the clothes the people are wearing?
- is it the editing style?
- is it the location that you love?
Make note of the things you like from these images.
#2 - Search on Instagram (first) and then Google/Facebook (second) for photographers local to you that fit your ‘style’
I say search on Instagram first because Instagram is a visual communication tool, you will easily be able to see at a glance which photographer fits your style. Then search on Google and Facebook for reviews. Personally this is how I look for any visual artists/products/services that I’m in need of.
#3 - Work out what is most important to you
Do you want digital files only? Would you like albums and prints? Do you need a photographer that offers AfterPay or interest free payment plans?
#4 - Reach out to your chosen photographers. Chat to them, see how you vibe with them.
There is absolutely no point in finding a photographer whose style you love, who is within your price range but is someone you personally don’t vibe with. If you feel uncomfortable in front of their camera, if they don’t make you feel at ease during your session, the chances are your images are going to be duds…that’s just how it works, especially for lifestyle and documentary sessions.
You don’t want images that show you being stiff and forced - you want things to be natural and for the session to flow.
How your photographer interacts with you before, during and after your session is PARAMOUNT to your satisfaction with your images and overall experience.
#5 - Once you’ve found a photographer who ticks all of your boxes - hand over control to them.
There is NOTHING worse than having a client who can not relinquish control over their session. If you hire me to take photographs of you, I expect that you have done all of the legwork in research I have mentioned above and that you are hiring me because you want ME to photograph you in MY style.
Sure, suggest locations, but don’t be disappointed if I say that’s not going to work for X,Y,Z reasons. At some point you need to trust the expert you are hiring for the job and let them do their job.
Trust me, the images you receive afterwards will be so much better if you let your photographer do their thing.
#6 - Don’t be afraid to ask for help/guidance
Any photographer worth paying will likely do this without you asking, but if they don’t offer it, don’t be afraid to ask them. Ask for suggestions on what you should wear, ask for gentle guidance posing on the day if you’re uncomfortable.
#7 - Make sure you sign a contract!
Contracts have protections in them for both you and the Photographer. They have assurances that the photographer will show up on the day, provide XX amount of images to you and by when, they have cancellation policies included for both you and the Photographer etc etc.
Signing a contract means you are protected. Consider it your insurance policy, if your photographer hasn’t sent you a contract, ask them for one. Any professional photographer should be issuing contracts as part of their business workflow.
#8 - Enjoy the process!
This goes hand in hand with me saying you should pass over all control to the photographer. Sit back, take a load off and let your photographer capture some truly special moments. Happy and relaxed clients make for much more beautiful photographs than stressed and nervous ones do!