Whether it’s the birth of a child, family portraits, or a wedding, having a photographer for the best moments in life can be a rewarding experience. These are memories that will be treasured for years to come. So how do you go about selecting the best person for the job? What kind of photographer are you looking for? What style does that photographer have? Does his or her style match your style, and if so how can they best incorporate you idea in mind? So let’s think about it. What are you getting a photographer for first and foremost, and why do you need a photographer? Let’s consider the aspects potential clients should take in consideration when choosing a photographer.
Generalist vs Specialist
For the most part, there are two types of photographers: the generalist and the specialist. Again, identifying why you need a photographer is step one. Most often times, once you’ve already have decided that you need a photographer, the next choice will likely be to search “x town baby photographer” or “best wedding photographer in y town”. That’s good. Maybe even, you’ll just ask a few family members and friends for recommendations if you’ve recently seen their own family portraits. Alright, stop right there. Now it’s time to decide if you want a generalist or a specialist. A generalist is going to be your "one all" photographer. He or she is going to provide a variety of photographic services. A generalist may have a very broad range of skills that vary from subject to subject. The pro of selecting a generalist is that, a generalist can not only provide multiple types of services for multiple occasions with a wide range of skills, but once you’ve found a general photographer that you like, it’s unlikely that you will have to hire another photographer later for a different occasion. The downside of having a generalist is that the generalist specializes in several genres and is possibly master of none. On the other hand, if you choose a specialist, that specialist is dedicated to that particular genre of photography and has likely refined their craft and skill. You’re not going to be able to contact a senior photographer and ask if he or she can hook you up on children’s portraits. You’d be surprised how often it happens and that’s the downside. If you connect with your wedding photographer and you love her so much that you want her to do your maternity portraits a year later, she’s probably not going to be willing to do that as specialists, like the name suggests, tend to stick to their particular genre of photography. There is also the price point to factor in. If budget is a concern, a specialist probably not going to be as cost effective as a generalist. However, with that being said, don’t allow your budget to be the only or main thing that should determine your choice in photographer.
What Style of Photography Do You Like?
When you read that title above, what’s the likelihood that you even considered a style of photography? Bright and bold (that’s me!), dark and moody, light and airy. These are just a handful of styles to choose from. Even that can be broken down further. Maybe you’d like a photographer who has more of a lifestyle portfolio or someone whose portfolio is more posed and focused. If you have kids, are you more interested in a photographer who’s going to capture the imagination and essence of the wild child that you love, or do you want a photographer who’s going to get the really cute smiles that you’d be happy to share with a long list of family and friends? All of this matters because ultimately, when you receive your final product, the goal is to have images you not only cherish, but that you can hang up on your walls and enjoy seeing everyday. If your chosen photographer’s photos are going to sit in a box on a shelf or in a desk after your session, that’s not your photographer!
Are We a Good Fit?
Something that is rarely considered is how good of a fit is your personality to your photographer. When a couple selects their wedding photographer, they’re trusting this individual to capture one of the best moments of there life and they clearly want someone who “gets them”. For an event such as a wedding, there are no do overs, no we can try again at a later date, no room for mistakes. This is someone that the couple is counting on to let their love and affection shine through in images that will be had for a long time. If your photographer has a dark and moody theme going on with a personality to match and you’re full of sunshine and rainbows hoping for a splash of whimsical in your final images, can you truly expect your photographer to capture your moment in the best way if your views and personalities go in opposite directions? I’m not saying your photographer should be your best friend - I mean they could be! - but you do want someone that you feel comfortable around with a personality and style that meshes with your own. It's just good for both you. Happy client is a happy photographer is happy images. That’s the ultimate goal!
What Level of Service Am I Expecting?
Do I have to ask? Yes I do. Potential clients, when choosing a photographer, should consider whether they desire a full service photographer or not. What do I mean by full service? Think about how much you want to be involved with the final process. Are you a DIYer who wants to print your own images and order your own gifts, or do you prefer a photographer who will handle every thing from A to B? Consider the challenges that come with printing quality images and/or utilizing the appropriate software required to handle those images, but also the relative on demand availability of printing your own images. Some clients would prefer to let their photographer handle all of the details of the final image and delivery in hopes of creating a stress free experience. Always consider the advantages of both. Potential client should also consider how much hands on experience do you seek to have with your photographer. Some photographers are very hands on with clients from the initial consultation, to the delivery of the final product. Other photographers may choose to have minimal contact with their client before and after the session. Further still are photographers who are even mix of both being as readily available as the client needs them as situation or circumstance permits. The amount of communication you have with your photographer can directly impact not only level of expected service, but could also be a reflection of with how well you and your photographer are a good fit for each as well.
What’s your price range?
Finally there’s the thing that everyone wants to know, pricing. The old saying goes, you get what you pay for, and sometimes in photography, this is true. While pricing is important, it should not be the definitive reason for choosing your photographer. When you choose your photographer, you’re choosing someone to capture lasting memories. Ask yourself, what will you cherish the most: the price you paid for a photographer based on price or the cherished memories in your photos? Which one will be most important to you? If budget is a concern, consider a family friend starting new in the business over more established photographers. It’s not uncommon for clients to save for the opportunity to work with their favorite photographer. Other clients opt to having their images redone at a later date with their preferred photographer if the option is available. Again, you have to identify what’s most important to you in selecting a photographer.
For more details, download our Choosing your Photographer guide. Still have more questions? Contact Alicia Anir Photography and let us show you why we should be your next family photographer!