You may be wondering, “how do I hire a portrait photographer?” Or maybe, more specifically, “what should I look for when choosing a photographer?” While there are many different answers to these questions, the important thing is to give questions like these some thought before working with any portrait photographer. Obviously, we’d like to be the perfect fit for your portrait needs, but we recognize our style and approach is specific — photography portraits are not always one-size-fits-all. Generally, the more experienced a portrait photographer, the more flexible they will be in creating portraits that meet your needs and vision. Of course, along with that talent typically comes a correlating price.
When it comes to quality, you get what you pay for. If you are looking for bottom dollar, then you may need to be willing to sacrifice on quality and creativity. But, if you are able to invest accordingly, it really is possible to plan ahead and have your portraits turn out as creative and as good as you expect and deserve.
So, what are some things to consider before working with any portrait photographer?
- Satisfaction Guarantee / Refund Policy
- Sample Images from REAL Client Portrait Sessions (nothing fake or staged!)
- Rapport and Communication
Below, you’ll find some thoughts about each of these criteria for selecting a portrait photographer, as well as more specific examples in regards to what we do here at Betsy’s Photography. Obviously there are additional factors you may want to add to the list, feel free to make suggestions by commenting at the end of this post. That being said, these are some good starting points when hiring a portrait photographer (or any kind of professional photographer, for that matter).
When considering any portrait photographer, It’s important to know they are properly qualified and committed to excellence. The portrait photographer you are considering should be able to provide references, or a list of trade associations to which they belong. Membership in a professional association, certification or a photography degree shows a certain level of commitment to the profession, and can help you determine which photographer is right for you.
Satisfaction is Important
When selecting a portrait photographer, it’s important to be familiar with their refund policy. Will they redo your session if things go badly? Or will you have to pay for the second session?
Ask to See Samples
It’s important to view samples of the actual photographer’s work… not just work from the studio you are considering, and not just on their website. Viewing printed portraits will give you an idea of both the style and quality each photographer provides. Is the portrait photographer you are considering going to be the actual individual working with you? Or will you be working with a staff photographer whom you haven’t met? Also important — ask if the photographs and portraits are from actual client sessions, or if they are “fake” (i.e. staged sessions).
Rapport and Communication
It’s important that you are able to communicate with the portrait photographer you are considering. Do they do a good job of explaining every part of the portrait process? Does the photographer have a clear understanding of your expectations? Have they discussed the services and fees involved with your portrait session with you ahead of time? Once you’ve hired a photographer, he or she should take the time to talk to you about your family and their favorite activities, as well as offer suggestions on location and coordinating clothing and colors. The photographer will use this information to create a photograph that tells your family’s unique story.
What are your thoughts?
Do you have any more questions that you’ve found helpful to consider when selecting a portrait photographer? We’d love to hear your ideas, whether in the comments section below, via social media, or through email.