In this article, I share my best tips to on how to choose a portrait photographer.
If you have the money to purchase a good camera, it’s easy to become a professional photographer. Why should this matter to you? Basically, anyone can do it.
Unfortunately, if you don’t do your due diligence before choosing the right photographer to take your family portraits, you may find yourself with a bad batch of photos. You’ll end up having to seek out another photographer or retake them on your own. Use the following 6 tips to avoid this.
Check out the photographer’s portrait portfolio
What types of photos does he take? Taking pictures of families and children is totally different from taking pictures at a wedding or at a company. Choose a photographer that is experienced with family portraits.
Don’t forget that photography is subjective. How can you vouch for his style if you never see his portfolio? Also, take a look at the lighting in each photo. Bad lighting can totally ruin a photograph. Make sure he knows how to correctly use light.
Choose a photographer that knows how to photograph your chosen settings
Most family portraits are usually taken in the following settings:
- The studio via various backdrops
- The studio via the use of real props such as furniture and wall décor
- In your home
Thus, photographers work in different settings. Some choose to work only in the studio and others work only on location. How do you choose the right one? Think about which one works best with your time restraints.
Do you have a limited amount of time to take family portraits? If so, opt for a studio photographer because he can work via rain or shine. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, a location photographer must reschedule sessions in order to get the perfect outdoor shots. This could be a time buster.
Choose a photographer that works full-time
A lot of photographers have regular day jobs during the week. They only work on the weekends. Why is this a problem? Think about it. If you had two jobs, which one would be more important to you? Is it the job that is your main bread and butter with the full-time salary and benefits, or the one that is a side gig?
Now, this doesn’t apply to all weekend warriors, but full-time photographers are usually faster, more dependable and responsive. Also, they are more apt to carry business insurance, have the right photography equipment and have backup plans when things don’t go as planned.
In addition, a full-time photographer probably has a legitimate business, has more technical experience and is more professional. Also, he has probably been in business longer and knows how to stay in business because he is familiar with the costs associated with running a photography business. He’ll most likely be around whenever you want to take more pictures in the future.
Always sign a contract
A legal contract protects both you and the photographer. Make sure the contract states studio policies, payment options, schedules and contingency plans. Never sign a contract without reading it first. Also, do not make any payments until there’s a signed contract.
Ask to meet with the photographer before taking portraits
Meet with the photographer to plan ahead. Professionals like to brainstorm about various ideas, locations, clothing and even props. Meeting and planning ahead makes it possible to get a jump start on actual photography sessions, which makes things run smoother. It may also may remove tension when it’s time to take photographs. Alleviate stress. Never book a session at the last minute. You want to have enough time to plan accordingly.
Ask if the photographer helps during the ordering process.
After the photos are taken, some photographers will sit with you during the ordering process. He can offer advice in terms of design, retouches and printed artwork. View the photos together and order via customized preferences.
Did you know photographers can offer advice on where and how to hang wall portraits in your home? They use real pictures of your home to digitally show what each portrait will look like when hung in various groups, sizes, and frames?
Take advantage of your photographer’s expertise. Know your options and remove stress. Remember that professionals can offer great services that you cannot perform on your own.
Chances are, you aren’t really familiar with how photography works. Or you might know how to take decent pictures on your own. Terry Pommett is has been doing Nantucket portrait photography for over 25 years. He is considered one of the best on the island.
Or you may find that its okay for just anyone to take your pictures. However, if you want to invest in high-quality family portraits, use these tips to find a great photographer.