We get inquiries every day from clients and prospective clients that we help navigate through the maze of hiring a photographer. In that spirit, we wanted to make a post that could potentially help people out there who are on the hunt for the right photographer. So we present to you:
10 Things Everyone Should Know When Hiring a Professional Photographer in Orlando (or anywhere else)
- Quality – This may honestly be the biggest factor to consider. Depending on your need, quality may vary in importance a little, but not much. Passport photos? Maybe quality isn’t a huge factor, but it still has to be done properly and within the letter of the law. Wedding Photos? What could be more important? For most couples it may be the only thing left from their wedding day and having amazing images to hold on to for all your life is key. When it comes to professional or corporate images, your image and brand identity can rest on how you appear to prospective clients and colleagues. Best to make sure in all cases that the photographer you hire is going to produce the highest quality possible.
- Reliability – Whatever the reason you hire a professional photographer for, you are going to want to make sure that they will be there on time(early) and ready to work with the right equipment to do the job. You can always ask for references. If someone you are looking to hire can’t or won’t provide them, you may need to look elsewhere.
- Legitimacy – Many people have been burned when hiring a photographer. Hedge your bets against it by making sure that whoever you hire is licensed and insured. The last thing you want to find out if something goes wrong is that you can’t recover your images or any damages because there were no safeties in place to protect you.
- Style – Whatever your event or project may be, style is a huge consideration. You can easily set yourself up for disappointment by hiring a photographer that, although talented, shoots in a completely different style than what you like. Photo shoots most often go wrong when the client and the photographer are on different pages stylistically. If an artist likes to use a lot of lights and their work has a very high color and contrast to it, they may not be right if you are trying to achieve a light and airy feel. Many photographers can shoot in several different styles, just make sure to have that conversation with them when you inquire about the job.
- Personality – This factor is very often overlooked. Depending on the size of the project that you need photography for, you may be spending a good amount of time with the photographer. If you don’t click on a personal level, it can affect the final images. It’s hard to be comfortable in front of the camera as it is. It’s even more so when you don’t connect with the person taking the images. Expression is the key to the most compelling images and great expression comes from the artist being able to draw that out of the subject.
- Consistency – Everyone has good days and bad, especially artists. Skill and experience can make the difference between a photographer who can deliver sometimes and one that delivers every time. It’s okay to ask a photographer for more samples of their work than just what they put on their website. Ask for finished products. If it’s for professional work, ask for links to websites where a client has utilized the artist’s images. If it’s a wedding ask to see entire galleries of recent weddings and wedding albums. If it’s headshots for acting ask for examples of reproductions and what work the photographer’s clients have booked using the headshots they made for them.
- Availability – Obviously you want your photographer to be available to shoot your project, but what this really means is can you get a hold of them. Do they respond to your emails, return your phone calls and answer all of your questions? A good photographer will be available or have a member of their staff available to you that will be able to respond and reach out to you in a timely fashion. If your photographer is difficult to get a hold of leading up to your shoot, it is probably not going to get any easier afterwards. A good response time for emails is no more than 48 hours (business days) and phone calls should be returned the same day if the original call was before noon. Then next day if after. If you call on a Friday, be prepared to wait until Monday to hear back.
- Reputation – It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to build a good reputation in your community. Anyone who you hear about consistently as being great to work with and putting out great work should be someone worth looking at. That being said there are many photographers to choose from and a quick Google search can tell you a lot. Once you find someone you are thinking about hiring, make sure to ask around a bit and see if anyone you know has worked with them before. If not it doesn’t mean they are no good, but hearing advice from someone you trust is a great way to start building confidence in your hiring decisions. When all else fails in this scenario, check references!
- Price – Price is important, but maybe not in the way that you think. If you go out looking for the person that will do the job for the least amount of money, you will almost always get what you pay for. It’s true that sometimes you will find someone good for cheap and sometimes even somebody not so great for a lot, but more often than not you will get exactly what you pay for. Do some research into what you should expect to pay for the services that you are interested in. Throw a shout out on Facebook, do a few internet searches and make a few phone calls. Usually you will land somewhere in the middle and when paired up against all the other factors listed here, price should not be your number 1 concern. If it is you may end up disappointed and paying somebody to do the job again. In the case of weddings, you don’t get that chance so choose carefully.
- Community – Most photographers are small business owners and as such, life can get in the way sometimes. Being a part of your local, state and national photography associations is a huge benefit not only to the photographers but also the clients. In case of any emergency, photographers who take part in these groups are connected to a network of hundreds of other photographers who can be there to help in the event of any emergency by covering jobs and making sure that the client is always taken care of. Being a part of a larger community makes small businesses stronger. Inquire as to whether or not the photographer you are thinking of hiring is a member of PPA, FPP and their local photography group. Central Florida’s professional photography group is the PPSCF and they have been providing education and networking for photographers for more than 20 years. The FPP, the state professional photography organization has been doing the same for the state of Florida for 80 years and the PPA, the national organization has been the backbone of the professional photographic industry since 1880.