Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Portrait Photographer

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What to ask when hiring a portrait photographerYou 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?

  • Experience
  • 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).

Experience Counts

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.

We have a list of past client testimonials to which you can refer, and belong to the Professional Photographers of America, as well as the Detroit Professional Photographers Association. Betsy holds her Master Photographer and Photographic Craftsman degrees.

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?

At Betsy’s Photography, we have a satisfaction guarantee for “just in case.” We don’t often fall back on it, but if your portrait session failed to meet your expectations, we would gladly schedule another time to redo your portrait session at no cost to you.

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).

At Betsy’s Photography, you will be in touch with your photographer, Betsy Finn, every step of your portrait process. When you come to our studio for your complimentary consultation appointment, Betsy will show you samples of actual client portraits that she created — in both album and projected slideshow form.  We believe in only using images from real client portrait sessions, because that way you know “what you see is what you get.”

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.

We do our best to thoroughly explain every step of your portrait experience ahead of time. Betsy is always available to answer any questions, and at your complimentary consultation appointment she will cover your investment and portrait session options in detail. The more we know about you and your family, the more we can tailor your portrait session to fit your personality.

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.