7 Things To Look For In A Portrait Photographer

26th November 2017
In: Blog
Finding a good photographer can be a minefield if you don’t know where to look. Particularly if photography is a complete mystery to you. There are a number of things you can do to lessen the strain, and increase your chances of getting a great photographer to help you out. Here are my seven things to consider before you book….

One - Images and Portfolio
What you’re looking for here is quality and consistency of the images they have taken. Most photographers will have a website or social media platforms where they showcase their work.
Things to look for:
Are the shots in focus? Is there a variety of different photo sessions on show? Is the image colouring natural and appealing?
If you’re unsure, ask to see all the final images from one photo shoot, this will show the consistency of quality that can be expected.

Two - Style, Niche & Specialisation
Most good photographers will specialise in one or two genres, and this will be reflected in their portfolio. For example there will be ones that specialise in genres such as wedding, newborn, family, boudoir etc. Some will even niche down further with specialising in natural light/outdoor sessions versus indoor or studio shoots.
This is important to consider, as it may not be within the skillset (or the interest) of that photographer to deliver what you are after.
A newborn photographer may not be the best choice for your wedding, for example.
Portfolios that show a wide variety of images subjects (wildlife, people, nature, landscapes, objects, still life…) may indicate the photographer isn’t a specialist, and whilst this may not affect final quality of the photos delivered, they might not have the in-depth experience in the niche you require.

Three - Experience
Having a qualification in photography is not a guarantee of quality, but experience and a strong portfolio is.
How long has the photographer been operating? How many clients have they worked with? Have they been in business a long time, or are they still learning?
If it’s a family portrait photographer, do they have experience working with children, babies, families of all sizes?
What locations have they worked at previously?
What equipment do they use, how long have they been using it, and are they comfortable with it?
All valid questions, which your prospective photographer should be able to answer satisfactorily.

Four - Feedback and Word Of Mouth
What do previous clients say about this photographer? There will be many places to find comment about their work on social media and their website. A great place to start is by asking friends and family about photographers they (or their friends) have used. Look for happy clients and ask what was it about the experience that delighted them.
Read reviews on social media platforms, or if you’re friends with clients have appeared in their portfolios, ask them too.

Five - Personality and Client Relationships.
Capturing great portrait photos is very much about the connection between the photographer and the subjects. So using a photographer that you don’t get on with or can’t warm to isn’t going to help.
Do they have a reputation for putting their clients at ease? Are they easy to converse with?
Speak with them on the phone if you’re thinking of using their services. You should get a feel for their personality and whether you could work with them, and they’d love to talk to you about how they can help.

Six - Investment
Great portrait photography is something worth investing in. Ask what you could expect to pay for your session and products? Can payments be spread or broken down into instalments?
Although there may be such a thing as too expensive and out of your budget, equally too cheap isn’t always beneficial either.
What products are available? What products do you want?
Does the photographer have an understanding of what they are selling?

Seven - Business & Organisation
Is the photographer professional (part or full-time) with a legitimate business? It’s not essential, but they will be correctly insured, and have an established workflow when dealing with customers and clients. Not to mention the knowledge of the important legal stuff such as; copyright, image release (for your protection), image licensing, and a robust privacy policy too.
They should be professional in deed as well as name. After all, they have a business to run and an income to protect. It’s not in their interest to be sloppy, but on point, all the time.

Bonus Tip
Talk to your prospective photographer before making a decision about whether to use their services. Don’t just judge them by a price list alone. The amount you invest is only part of the experience. They will be able to explain what is involved in detail so you can understand the value you will (or won’t) get from them.

To see more of my work please follow me on Facebook and Instagram

If you are interested in my portrait work, please download my Portrait Introductory Brochure, if you like what you see, please contact me to organise a chat about how I may be able to help.

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