Searching for the right family, senior or event photographer?
There are several ways to go about selecting the person to capture your next set of memories. To get you started, here are a few ideas to think about while you gather information to narrow down your options.
First, you want to search and browse local and regional photographers. Google, Bing and or other search engines will help you navigate to potential professionals. Use online portfolios and photographers websites to get an idea of what they offer, discover their specialties and anything else you can gather about their offerings. You should be able to get a good feel about a photographers style from any images they post in their portfolios or galleries.
Style – Make sure the photographer offers the style you are looking for. This can range depending on the type of shoot. Style of a photograph is personal to the photographer depending on their style of shooting, experience and the tools or camera gear they have available. After browsing a few different photographers, you will see the different styles come out.
- Senior Portraits – Both parents and student should be able to appreciate the types of images that will be created. Not all photographers capture the same senior picture that once was common in schools; usually set up in the cafeteria. If your school offers this sitting type for the yearbook photo, that is great. However, many families are choosing to hire a photographer for a personal sitting or outdoor photo shoot. This type of shoot is usually set up in a outdoor location (maybe the students favorite location) and truly amazing memories are created at this special time in the students life. Each shoot should be discussed in depth with your photographer so that the students personality and charm is brought out in the photographs.
- Family Portraits – Do you like photojournalistic images? Or is your style more adventurous, romantic or whimsical? Outdoor with natural sunlight, or at sunset with flash to light the subject? You may have an idea in mind. Discuss these ideas with the photographer to see what type of experience they can bring to your shoot. In the end, you may want a specific style captured of you and your family.
- Event Photography – Whether it be your engagement, fundraising event or corporate party, the photographer should be able to tailor details to your needs. Are you looking for traditional, candid photojournalism style or posed portraits – even a combination thereof?
It is time to make contact with the photographer depending on this initial research and who has stood out to you so far. This may be through a phone call to the number on their site or by making an initial contact via email or contact form they have provided on their website. You should present the type of shoot you are interested in, anticipated timeframe/dates and any initial questions you have. The conversation will develop from there.
- Comfort – After initial contact, discuss your interests and goals for your desired photo shoot. You will be able to tell a lot from the ideas they return and their interest in the project. This conversation will leave you with a comfort level on how you may want to proceed when you finish your search. Take notes while on the call and let them know you will follow-up with them with more details. If you have any additional questions for them after the call or meet, write them down for that follow-up.
- Communication – Make sure the photographer has a clear understanding of your expectations. Take the time to discuss the services and fees involved. This helps avoid any future misunderstandings. Also, judge for yourself if you prefer their communication with you. If the communication is clear in return, professional, courteous and you both seem like you are on the same page; this is a good sign. They should be willing to listen to what you want and ask questions about you and/or your family.
- Flexibility – Judge whether the photographer is flexible with your time. Changing dates, locations or other items that are important to you. In turn, work with the photographer on their suggestions or ideas about shoot locations and posing. There are so many beautiful locations here in Ventura County for the shoot!
- Additional Services – Some photographers are able to offer additional services such as retouching images to remove blemishes, etc. Some offer post-shoot print options where they assist you ordering enlargements from professional print labs. This is a good option if you plan on hanging your prints or distributing them to friends and family. After hiring a photographer, printing your photos with Costco or a lab that the photographer works with makes a big difference in the final outcome. Simply sending the photos to a digital printer does not allow for special cropping of the image, exporting the image with matching printer profiles. These are all things that an experienced photographer is there for. It is a relationship after the shoot.
Remember, you are hiring someone to create memories and photographs to display in your home and to share with family and friends, not to simply take a picture. Put all the items together and by now you should have an itch to who you prefer. Move forward. Schedule a date to go over details and planning. This ensures that details are discussed prior to arriving with camera in hand and everyone dressed for the day. The photographer will and should guide you through this process.
The entire process is fun. From selecting a photographer to the day of the shoot, you will remember these times. When you look at these photographs in the present and future, you will smile!
– Photographer Jeff Landis – Landis Photo