How to Choose the Right Photographer

September 22, 2011  |  about

If you’ve recently started searching for a photographer to hire for your wedding, portraits or event, you’re probably figuring out there are almost millions to choose from. Making the decision can be daunting! Hopefully the following advice will help.

Photographer Categories

There are three different categories of photographers to chose from:
1 – An independent, boutique photographer or company (like Fresca Photo)
2 – An established chain studio
3 – A friend or family hobbiest

All three of these types have their advantages! A hobbiest will obviously be inexpensive (or free), a chain studio offers competitive rates, and a boutique photographer or company will provide unique, custom service and artwork.

Who to choose?

First consider what are you hiring the photographer to do:

Create Portraits of your Children or Family

It seems as though portrait photographers are the most misunderstood. An established chain studio or boutique service both provide this type of photography, with very different results. If you are looking for something quick and inexpensive, a chain is truly the way to go. Simply compare package prices and reviews online. If you prefer more personalized service, use a boutique photographer or company. Note that a seasoned, reputable boutique service will ultimately be more expensive, because that is the only way they can create a long-lasting business. (Read more about custom photography pricing here.)

How do you choose the right boutique photographer?

Consider these points:

STYLE. The easiest way to pick your favorite photographers is by looking through their portfolios of work. Do you like the colors & poses of their recent photos?

SERVICE. This is undervalued and under-researched. Compare your favorite photographers and how they approach their service to you. Will they meet with you before the session? Do they share tips on wardrobe and styling? How they treat their clients is a direct reflection of how they will treat your photographs.

PRODUCTS. What do you get when your portrait session is over? Do they edit their photos? Some photographers will give you a CD of your images and some will offer products. Ask to see samples of the items they provide and get an understanding of the quality. If they offer a CD, find out if the photos are printable.

Document a Milestone

There are wedding photographers and there are special event photographers. While not mutually exclusive, an event photographer is not necessarily a wedding photographer. Wedding photography is an extremely unique service, and a seasoned wedding photographer (usually a boutique photographer or company) has learned how to capture the precious moments of your special day through experience and practice. When you look back at this time of your life, you will want to remember it fondly, so while saving a few thousand dollars might be tempting, consider the problems when recruiting a hobbiest:

1 – They may not understand how to properly light a subject indoors and outside, resulting in photos where faces are too dark or have unflattering shadows.
2 – Their editing skills may be unpolished, resulting in inconsistently colored, cropped and touched up photos, making a wedding album or collection of photos mis-matched and unappealing.
3 – They likely won’t provide the right coverage; seasoned wedding photographers know where and when to be certain places to capture the special moments of the day and many times more than one photographer is present.

Now at one point or another, every photographer was a hobbiest, just starting out in the world of photography. While they may not work as your event or portrait photographer, they need practice too! Call on them when the final images are not of utmost importance. Practice is key to becoming good at this craft and they will need experience to succeed in time.

In the End

When you find the right photographer your experience should be wonderful – you’ll come away with gorgeous prints, artwork or online images and you’ll have hopefully made a new, artistic friend! Good luck with your search, and feel free to contact us should you need any additional advice or if you’d like to schedule a session with Fresca Photo.

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1 Comment

  1. Good article! I think people sometimes assume all photographers are the same and call on friends to do big jobs, like weddings, when maybe the should leave it up to the established boutique photographers. The impression is, if you have a good camera you can probably handle a wedding without a hitch. The truth is that an established photographer has usually been to school and studied more than just how to use their fancy camera.

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