Choosing Your Photographer
When it comes to documenting your precious moments, whether they be frequent or once in a lifetime events , choosing your photographer can sometimes be challenging. The first thing many people do is zero in on price, without looking at anything else. Unfortunately, and especially with weddings, this leaves a lot of people open to scams and disasters. If you’re only looking at the price of a potential photographer, you’re not seeing their quality of work, their reliability, or even if they’re real.
There are a lot of scams out there right now, targeting unknowing clients. Sometimes they’ll steal another photographer’s work and claim it as their own so that you find their portfolio impressive. Sometimes they’ll charge an obscenely low price with no explanation, leaving you either feeling uneasy or like it's too good to be true (which, honestly, isn't good for me!). The trouble is many of us, myself included, are just trying to find the best option that works within our budget and we are willing to forgo quality just as long as the affordability factor was worth it.
So, without further adieu, here are Ali’s tips for finding the right photographer for your photography needs without getting taken advantage of:
Do your research. So you’ve found a photographer you like, and whether or not their pricing is in your range isn't the subject for this point. Some scams I’ve personally seen, they were charging the average for high end photography and then disappear--never to be heard from again. So how do you avoid this? Check and see where all you can find them, i.e. facebook, google, instagram, etc. Do they have an online presence? Are there reviews that seem trustworthy? Can you find any reviews or public complaints that may question their credibility? If you save an image of theirs, can you reverse search it to the same person, or does it come back to someone else? All else fails, ask for a consultation meeting. Every photographer I know doesn't charge for this meeting (this may not be true for them all, so don't completely take me at this) and they’ll be more than happy to meet you in person to answer any questions you have. However, if you get a bad vibe at any point, I’d suggest getting out while you can. I’m not saying they’re a scam, though they could still be, but if you don’t have a good feeling about your potential photographer then odds are they aren't the photographer for you.
Same goes the other way, fellow ‘togs. If you have a bad vibe about a client, find a polite way to let them know that you don’t think that you’re a good match for them and perhaps suggest some people you think might work better. This life can be stressful enough; clashing with your client is the last thing you need!
In the same vein, look at their work. Decide if you really like their style and if their style is consistent from one photo session to the next. If you prefer a certain type of look to your picture (dark and moody or light and airy or bold and colorful etc) see if their work matches what you want. If they dont have the style you are looking for, odds are you wont love your pictures as much as you want to. Even if the price is right, they may not be right for you and you will most likely be able to find someone who does provide the type of pictures that will truly express your style and personality. Rule of thumb, never settle as you will be able to find someone with your preferred style. You may have to ask someone for referrals, but honestly that usually works out well.
If you feel like their prices are too good to be true, ask. A lot of people think that we run Dragon and the Butterfly Studios too cheaply, that there's some sort of catch that’s gonna pop up later (like not showing up), but that isn’t the case. I am never offended when customers question the low nature of my pricing and I always gladly explain why we charge what we do. I even offer to meet in public and explain everything personally so they can decide for themselves, based off their gut feelings, if they like what I’m offering or not. Like I said above, do your research and always feel free to ask for references.
If you are self conscious about something, especially body weight, see if they’ve shot someone with your body type before and make sure to ask them. If it's not body weight, see how your potential photographer addresses your concerns and whether or not either of you are comfortable with proceeding. Your photos should reflect you ultimately, so make sure you’re going to be happy with the work you’re going to be receiving before committing monetarily.
Above all else, always feel comfortable asking questions and expressing your concerns. These pictures will be lasting memories for you and yours and they should represent you. Every photographer I know is more than happy to answer your questions and build your session to your needs and desires. And, if there is an issue, as long as you are respectful and calm, most photographers will bend over backwards to make your session as positively memorable as possible.
And remember, your photographer should be someone you can get along with easily, someone who you could see yourself hanging out with possibly. Why is this? So you are your most natural self in front of the camera. Absolutely no body enjoys those tense, uncomfortable and often awkward pictures, so why endure those just for the price? Find someone who will make you comfortable so you can enjoy your pictures for a lifetime.
Keywords: affordable photography, budget, choosing a photographer, dragon and the butterfly, kansas city, photo shoot, photography
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