Choosing the right photographer can be stressful – to say the least. How do you know you will be a good fit? How do you know the will capture the pictures that you want? There are many factors to consider, and often times it’s hard to know where to start. Well, this article will do that just!
In this article we will discuss 10 things that you should think about when choosing your next San Diego Family Photographer.
A photographer’s reputation
…can be measured by the number and types of reviews they have, as well as their qualifications. Specifically , what do other people say about their work? What is the major complaints (if any) about their work or how they conduct their business?
This is even more important to think about when you haven’t been referred and are looking online or google for a new photographer.
You should be looking for someone with a great reputation (of course) – with an above average review (do not mistake a singe or a couple “less than average” reviews as them being bad at what they do). Take negative reviews for what they are and go from there. Remember, no one is perfect and there is always a customer here and there that just can’t be happy or satisfied. It’s business.
Make this your number one priority when choosing your next photographer.
is also important. Do they know how to handle a group of people? A family with young children or one that is shy and needs coaxing to be comfortable in front of the camera?
Do they know how to make you feel confident about yourself, while still being professional and not invasive? Is this important for your personal taste and style (if so, what type)? Do they have experience working as an assistant before becoming a photographer themselves? Have you seen their work before – do you like it enough that it would reflect well on yours if hired them and took photos together.
I know this is a lot to consider, but it’s important to make sure that the photographer and you are a good match.
The photographers style
Every photographer has a style, and it’s important to know what you want before choosing one.
Do you want a more traditional or artistic approach? Do you prefer candid photos that are less posed? The photographer has just as much say in the outcome of your session as you do so make sure they’re on board with how YOU envision things going down.
And while you may not find a photographer who has exactly the same style as you, it’s a good thing to have someone close – and a good photographer should be able to work with you, considering the style that’s right for your needs.
The photographer’s personality/likability
If they’re a jerk or just not personable at all – there is no reason why anyone would want their photos taken by them. Just like any other customer service industry, this one requires patience and understanding from both parties in order to create a good experience and get best possible outcome. The more comfortable you are around someone (and vice versa), the better it will come across on camera!
You’ll have a pretty good idea of their personality based on their reputation – they generally go hand-in-hand.
Do they have availability to take your photos when you need them taken? It’s important that the photographer is available on weekends and for certain days/times during the week, because not everyone has a typical work schedule.
Also consider if their preferred style matches with what you’re looking for in terms of timing (i.e., will they be done editing by Saturday afternoon?) – it can make all the difference!
Do you pay before or after pictures are taken?
Some photographers will take a deposit before the shoot, some may charge upon completion of your engagement session (and then you pay them for prints and albums later), and there are also those who have payment plans. Figure out what works best for you!
what type of location are they used to shooting at
What type of locations does the photographer prefer to shoot in? If you’re looking for beach photos, this is a key factor – do they know how to take good shots on the sand and water?
What about an architectural environment – does your photographer know how to work with close spaces, how to make architecture work for them (leading lines).
Generally speaking – their portfolio should tell you a lot about what they’re used to photographing.
Social media presence
You want to make sure that the photographer has a social media presence – it’s one way you can get an idea for their style and how well they know their craft. For example, if your photographer only posts selfies on Instagram then there is probably not much variety or creativity going into their work (unless that’s all they do). The more active they are on Facebook & instagram, the better!
Be warned! It’s not uncommon (nowadays) to find accounts with a large number of followers and hardly any likes or engagement. This could be either, the algorithm has changed – or they have bought followers (with real money) – i.e. fake followers.
How nice is their website
A lot of photographers have websites, but how many are actually good? You want to be able to navigate their website easily and find the information you need – like pricing for example. A photographer with a well-designed site is much more likely to take pride in what they do.
Any real business owner knows that websites are the new storefronts.
We, for instance, have overhauled our website 3 times in 2 years. This last time (April 2021) was a complete redesign from the ground up. The website is now faster, easier to navigate, and the checkout process is smoother for the customer. As an added bonus, it’s easier for us to use on the backend (even though we spent about 200 hours building and designing it ourselves).
You can tell, as a paying client when someone puts time and pride into something – this is no different than the time and pride they put into their photos.
Price compared to quality
When choosing your next photographer, it’s important to consider the price versus quality.
The question is: what are you paying for? And does that make sense in relation to how much time and work they put into their photos?
A very talented photographer might charge a higher fee because of the amount of time spent on editing each photo or putting together an album for you but at least they’re not charging by volume (i.e., taking 100s of pictures with minimal attention paid to every individual one).
You want to make sure you’re getting what you pay for.
Related article: Choosing the right props for your next photo session
The best way to figure out the quality of photographer is by checking their portfolio, reviewing testimonials on social media or reviews on websites like Yelp and also asking friends who have used them in the past.
Do they offer prints and other products?
This is something to think about for every photographer you’re considering because not all photographers offer the same products.
Some might only do digital files, some might only take your photos and others may be able to do both but charge more for their time or expertise in photo editing. It’s best if a photographer is upfront with what they can provide so that there are no surprises later on when it comes to costs.
If you choose an affordable option and then decide at a later date that you want prints of your favorite pictures, this could turn into quite an expensive purchase!
Their contract and how it affects your photos
Photographers can differ in what they require from clients when it comes to contracts. Some might want a signed contract, some may ask for the copyright of your photos and others won’t even have one at all!
It’s important to choose a photographer who has a contract that you feel comfortable signing because this gives them authority over your images. It also protects you from someone taking or using these pictures without permission (especially if there is no agreement).
However, it isn’t always practical to sign an exclusive deal with one person so be sure to weigh up both sides before agreeing on anything too binding.
Furthermore, photographers will often request different things as part of their clause such as exclusivity or rights over certain creative uses which could affect how you’re able to use them. So be careful!
How open are they to creativity?
When choosing your photographer, are they open to your ideas and creativity? Can you work with them to produce the images you want, or are they going to do it their way regardless of what your opinion is on the matter.
This is something you REALLY need to think about when making your decision. If you’re a creative thinker and have ideas in mind – you do not want to be around or work with someone who isn’t (esp considering you’re paying)
Do they offer a variety of packages?
Are these photographers able to accommodate different budgets needs For example, some people don’t have much spare cash but still want great photos for social media which means that mid-priced photography might be perfect (and affordable). Whereas other people will need professionals who can create high quality professional shots quickly. So make sure there’s something in every price range!
If not, consider someone else who does because this makes choosing easier. It saves time – so choose wisely!
Do they offer discounts to subscribers or VIP members
Find out if the photographer has a VIP list. If they do, you should get on it if prices are similar. VIP members can gain access to deals and discounts without having to ask for them. We offer this – and couldn’t be happier that we do!
It gives our customers an upper hand on pricing and booking slots (early booking for seasonal sessions). They also receive a monthly “snapshot” where they could be featured in our newsletter.
Your photographer should have something similar.
Can you add-on to packages
Add-ons are specific items/needs that you would like to have without buying anything else with it.
Example – a regular package includes 10 photos. Are you able to add on 5 additional without having to pay for an entire (or half) of another session?
This is something that should be spelled out very clear when choosing a photographer – especially a family photographer (where more photos matter even more).
That’s about it folks!
We will continue to add to this blog post as we find more things to think about when choosing a photographer.
Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave any feedback or questions in the comments!
Until next time, be safe and take care!