I wrote this blog in 2013 more than six years ago and a lot has changed since for Art of Headshots and the industry of online branding. In 2013, I was a sole operator and now we have 8 studio locations. The business World would argue about the value of social media and now its a standard. Now in the last month of 2019, what are 5 ways to identify a good photographer?
Hire a Professional
I remember one day having my car diagnosed by a Japanese auto professional to fix a problem already fixed by another mechanic because the problem persisted. The mechanic from Japan told me that I would have to pay $3,000.00 for a new clutch… “but I just had my clutch replaced six months ago”, I said. The Japanese mechanic who would be working on my Japanese vehicle asked me who I hired and I said “the cheapest store.” and he said “cheapest and doesn’t always end up cheaper”.
Don’t cut corners and force the receptionist to photograph your team, or hire someone who just graduated from school to save a couple of bucks. We work hard to continue and evolve, hire a professional.
If you are looking for photographers that residents in your area hold with high regard, then you have to do some digging. This may take a lot of time, but if you know what you are looking for, it can as well be a very easy process. The tips provided below can help you identify a reliable professional without much struggle.
Look at the photographer’s specialty
Determine the type of photographer you need. If you were holding a highly specialized event, it would be wise to choose someone who is well acquainted in that field. Some photographers, for example, only take wedding jobs. Hiring such an individual for a nature shoot would a very bad idea. The location where you are taking the photos is also important because it will determine whether lighting would be required.
If you want photography for a wedding, then hire a wedding photographer. Hire an architectural photographer for architectural needs, since an architectural photographer loves lines and shapes they are like mathematicians and will usually not like photographing people. For professional headshots, consider Art of headshots or another headshot specialist. The only thing in common between a wedding photographer and a headshot photographer is the tool we use called a camera. Wedding photographers are trained to capture the event as it unfolds, they will keep all the images and are skillful at binding books and other materials and do not interfere with you on your best day. Conversely, a headshot photographer gets involved with you and your life to capture your essence and will not sell prints. Instead they will share a file that the customer has full discretionary rights of usage.
Hire the right photographer for the type of job needed, and don’t expect an architectural photographer to dress properly for your wedding or expect the wedding photographer to release usage rights for headshots or hire a social personality to photograph buildings.
Ensure that you hire someone who has the right equipment. Photography is not just about the ability of the professional to take good shots. If they want the clients to get superior quality, then they need to use the high caliber equipment as well. A photographer with a cheap camera and an entry level lens won’t get the same quality of shots as that same photographer with an intermediate or advanced camera and a high grade lens with a low aperture. Post processing also requires the right equipment. After taking the shots, the editing looks much better when completed by an experienced editor on Photoshop instead of on a mobile app.
Experience is a very important quality. Photography requires both talent and experience. Therefore, when you are searching for a good professional, consider the number of years one has been on the job. An average of three to five years should be adequate for one to acquire the necessary expertise.
The best way you can determine the experience of an individual is by accessing their portfolio. Therefore, ask for a collection of photos they have taken in the recent past. Be careful not to make a decision based on what you see on the website because that will simply display the best-of-the-best pictures. You should ask for a complete compilation of at least three events. This will give you access to everything, including the bad, and you will be able to make a more informed decision.
Consider the charges. Any type of serious expenditure requires that you have a budget. Photographers, just like other professionals, will charge you differently based on different factors. These may include reputation, experience, and specialization. You should ask about the fees in advance so that you know the services you will be paying for. In general, you will need to part with adequate cash to cover the session and possible prints. There may also be extra charges for travel and delivery.
Consider the personality of the individual. Hire someone who is easy to work with. You need to have a good relationship if you expect to work together. This will only be possible if you can understand each other so that the photographer can relay your instructions into quality output. This comes with adequate experience.
Read any Google or other reviews
Finally, anybody can write a google review that sticks. Don’t only look for high numbers because some may be attributed to fake reviews. Instead read them and learn from the previous customer’s experience. A photographer may have an excellent personality but take a month to deliver your photos. Or perhaps the client hated their photos but wasn’t able to get a reshoot without paying for a new session. These are the types of problems past clients will vocalize in their online reviews.
There are many photographers that people in your area would like to hire. However, if you find that they do not meet the above qualities, and then you should look elsewhere. You need to be guaranteed that you will get quality work that is worth your money.