What to look for in a portrait photographer?
A gallery wall – i hear? Just one of the many reasons to get some portraits of you and your family. Or perhaps you are looking for professional head shots for your business. Portrait photography is wonderful in that you can get really close-up to your subject and capture their true essence. Thats not to say you cant with any other photography subject, but portrait photographer really does have a wonder to it!
So you’ve decided you need a portrait photographer, but who to choose? If you live in a built-up area, chances are, there are going to be many portrait photographers local to you vying for your attention! Hey, lets not beat around the bush here, I’m one of them, and I’m a Plymouth based Portrait Photographer.
Here im going to share with you some tips in how to choose a photographer that is right for you.
1. Find a photographer whose style you love.
This may be the obvious tip of the bunch, but more than anything you want to be pretty certain the final images you receive will blow you away! If you don’t think they can do that, it’s time to keep on searching, as you will only be disappointed.
Every photographer has a style. It may not seem obvious at first, and you may not know yourself what style you are looking for, but you’ll know when you see it. I myself come across other photographers pages all the time, and every now and then I come across a photographer somewhere else in the world that has a style that just resonates with me. And i can spend ages just scrolling through their Instagram page or portfolio.
2. The style of photography
There are many styles of photography, of which i will summarise below, however, the basic message here is to find someone who already does what you are looking for. For example, if you are looking to have some outdoor portraits taken using natural light, you’ll want to go for someone that already has a portfolio with examples of this. The same goes for the type of subject – ideally, you want a photographer who specialises in a specific area such as Family Photography, Pet Photography, or Newborn Photography.
I specialise in an outdoor setting using as much natural lighting as possible within reason. I find that the images i produce tell much more of a story, and i can capture many more beautiful moments that are unforgettable.
These are photos that capture candid or spontaneous moments in time, that may never happen again. The sudden capture of a secret smile, a twinkle in your eye, and love that can be captured with this style really is perfect. Although posed shots can be mixed in with this style, you’ll tend to see photos that are natural and tell a story. The editing process can also make a huge difference in capturing the raw emotions of each moment.
These photos are often posed images in a studio with a specific lighting setup. People looking for photographers to take photos of their Newborn usually look for a studio style, and you’ll often find these photographers also have an abundance of accessories to use that can really boost an image. However, many also opt for in-home lifestyle photos of their Newborn in their home environment. These kind of images can really tell a story and capture the essence of your family and your home.
The photographer usually has an artistic vision and style that plays an important role in the final images you will receive. The photographer usually has a much greater artistic license to experiment and follow a style of photography that tells a story through their eyes, however, that’s not to say you will have no input to discuss your ideas.
Just as you would when buying a product, read any reviews on Google or the photographer’s Facebook page to see what other people’s experiences were. Are the reviews full of excitement and thanks, or just run of the mill. This will give you an idea of how their clients felt and put you in very good stead for the same experience. The design and detail on their website should also give you a feeling of safety, personality, and trustworthiness.
Are there too many differences between photos in their portfolio? Do they all have similar colours and style to them and follow the same taste? Are they all edited equally and of the same quality overall? How often does the photographer post updates on their blog and social channels? I spent countless hours looking over my work, my website, and my social channels to ensure I’m keeping them up-to-date, with quality content, and with an insight into my personal life. Perhaps even sharing my recent photography equipment purchases that will help me ever keep improving over and over! We’re not all robots!
Very often i come across photographers that are selling themselves short. By that i mean, they are producing amazing work, but not charging what they are worth. Opposite to this, you’ll find plenty of people that will be keen to take photos for you, easily and cheaply. But the end result can be a stark difference. Good photography does not come cheap. There is the planning, the taking of photos themselves, and very often the countless hours of editing to produce the best result possible.
Very often, a good photographer will go over and beyond your expectations, much more than the price they charge. They will invest time and money to continually improving their skills, upgrade their equipment, buy accessories which will complement their existing equipment, and pre-visit locations to scope our potentially gold-dust locations. It is important that a photographer listens to what you want from your session and delivers on it.
Of course, everything usually comes down to the price. You want the most for your money, but you don’t want to pay too less and potentially lose out. Everybody is different, some photographers will display their prices, so will want you to contact them first, and some will sell packages which include prints and other materials.
The cost of a memory frozen in time captured in an unforgettable moment far exceeds that of monetary value. You are paying for knowledge, experience, the editing procedure, and equipment a photographer uses.
The cost of a beautiful story, captured, is priceless!
The person behind the lens can make the difference between a photo with little emotion, or a photo full of laughter, comfort, and love. Your photographer needs a personality that makes you feel at ease, whether you’ve known them a lifetime, or it’s your first time meeting them.
Choose a portrait photographer who is with you for the long-term! The experience should go beyond taking a deposit for your session. Shooting, editing, mailing hand-picked printed photos to you on ‘proper’ photography card in a handmade envelope or box, and aftercare which exceeds weeks, if not months and beyond into the future.
They should be there every step of the way! Making it fun, keeping you relaxed, and above all else, making you happy!