Sarah from Gulfshores, Alabama inboxes me with a wonderful compliment and a question. She writes “I love love love your portrait photography. You are so incredibly creative and everyone on your website looks fantastic. Do you ever come to Alabama to do photo sessions or do I have to come to Atlanta?”
Emails like this one really make my day. Thanks Sarah !!! As much as I love to travel I can’t be everywhere. Thankfully many of my biggest fans come to me from as far away as California.
However this isn’t about me and my hometown Atlanta Georgia. This blog entry is about how to find the right Photographer for YOU wherever you live. Just about every city is going to offer you a selection of professional photographers. If you live in a tiny town maybe not but you won’t have to travel far to meet up with a very talented Professional.
- Let me first mention that in most situations I am going to recommend a Professional Photographer as apposed to an amateur. By “amateur” I mean someone who makes photographs as a hobby and does not make a full time living as a Photographer. Of course there are going to be exceptions but generally a Professional Photographer is going to have many years of experience and the right tools & equipment to make beautiful Portraits. Having been a Professional Photographer for more than 20 years I can assure you that it takes more than a big & fancy digital camera to make a great portrait. Unfortunately too many people with those big & fancy digital cameras think it makes them good Photographers. I say this with all sincerity … IT IS NOT THE CAMERA it’s the person behind the camera that makes the Photograph. The camera is one of many tools a Professional uses in the creation of a Portrait. The Professional Photographer is going to know how you use the lighting, the background, the wardrobe, the lens, the camera settings, and a thousand more things to make you look your very best in your Portraits. The Amateur is going to point the big & fancy camera at you and hope for the best. If the amateur clicks enough times maybe he/she will get one or two OK photos at best. So many of my clients have told me that their most valued and cherished possessions are their Professionally crafted family portraits. These priceless memories should only be entrusted to true Professionals.
- My second TIP is to ask your friends for recommendations. If you see a fantastic portrait at a friends house ask who created that work of art. Your friend is going to be a wealth of information since they have already been through the entire experience. For example you could ask about Prices, the Studio’s location, was the Session fun… etc.
- Check out your Photographer possibilities online via their Website, Blog, Facebook Profile, etc. This is one of the great things about the internet. You can look at dozens of Photographer portfolios to see who has the “look” that really appeals to you. Most Photographer websites are going to have lots of information including “about me” biographies, portfolio sample galleries, and more.
- Make sure your Photographer offers a guarantee. The best Photographers are going to offer some sort of “Satisfaction” guarantee. For example, I guarantee that my clients will be thrilled with their Photography or I will refund every penny they spent. You are going to invest a bunch of time, energy, and perhaps dollars with your Photographer. Make sure that the Photographer you choose is so confident with their talent and ability that they will guarantee your satisfaction. The best Photographers have a passion for their profession and will do just about anything to guarantee your happiness…
- Prices??? Yes you should ask about Prices however don’t let the “Price” be your deciding factor. I can assure you that most clients begin their phone calls and emails to me with “How much does a photo session cost?” I try to explain that I’m happy to give a quote once I know what they are looking for. A simple actor’s headshot will be one price and a family album will be another. Everyone wants something a bit unique to themselves. The best Photographers are going to ask a lot of questions to get a feel for what you truly want. Above all else you need to understand you are “investing” in your portraits. These are and should be timeless works of art that will last for generations.
- If you followed my suggestions thus far you will have done your homework. However this final tip is critical to a successful photo session. MEET IN PERSON with your Photographer a few days before your photo session. Not only will you have an opportunity to “break the ice” and get to know who will be capturing these very important photographic memories but you can also pick his (her) brain for creative ideas such as wardrobe & make-up. I love to sit down with my clients a week or so before their sessions to brain storm ideas. The really good Photographers are going to learn about your interests, hobbies, family, pets, etc. and suggest how to incorporate some of this “personality” into your photo session.
There you have it. Six tips on choosing your Portrait Photographer. I’ll be expanding on this topic in upcoming posts. Please feel free to comment or ask questions. I’m happy to help.
For more info and samples visit our website: www.studiosparks.com