Whether you are getting married, having a baby, celebrating your birthday, or just wanting to have those long overdue family portraits taken- you'll need to book the perfect photographer for the job. In such a vast industry, trying to sort out the right photographer can be quite the daunting task. Allow me to share with you the steps I take when booking a photographer for myself or any of my clients.
Define what you're looking for in a photographer. What characteristics are most important to you for the specific event you are hosting? How do you want to be captured? What are you envisioning your images will look like? Consider your environment- is your event taking place indoors or outdoors, is it a daytime or nighttime affair? Having a clear picture of what you are looking for and what your needs are is half the battle. It's important to remember that most photographers have a signature style which they carry across their various clients. It doesn't mean that every client is photographed exactly the same, but you can definitely see the photographer's heartbeat reflected across their work. There is nothing worse than hiring a photographer whose style doesn't reflect your own, and sadly enough this is something you might not realize until it's too late to do something about it.
Do your research. Browse for local professionals. Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Once you've compiled a list of potential photographers, research each vendor individually. Visit their websites, social media sites, blogs, etc. Read their reviews. Were there any negative remarks? If so, how did the photographer address the complaints? Study their portfolio. Does their style appeal to you? Can you spot a trend, pattern, or niche in their work? This is key- remember when I said to consider your environment? If your event is taking place in a dark venue or your style is dark and dramatic, then you probably won't want to hire a photographer whose entire portfolio reflects light and airy photos. The images you'll find online will more than likely reflect that photographer's strong suit. Be sensitive to those details.
Is there chemistry between you? This part is not something you'll pick up from online researching. Schedule a consultation. If you are hiring a wedding photographer, include your other half in the process. It is crucial that you are both equally comfortable with the person you'll choose to capture your big day. This initial consultation will act as an interview for both parties (your potential photographer and yourself). During this time you'll both have a chance to get to know eachother. Be sure to communicate your vision, style, and ask questions regarding pricing and package details. Most photographers will bring with them one or more sample client books. Books usually have a larger image sampling than what you'll find online, so this is something you'll definitely want to take a look at, especially if you are hiring for a big event or if you are considering to purchase a photo book for yourself. Always, always, always see and feel the quality of a photo print product before committing to purchase it for they are not all created equal!!!
Ensure all paperwork is in order. Review the contract thoroughly. Take the time to go over every line. Does everything make sense? Each photographer tailors their contract slighly different, and that's ok. Look for key elements like event details (date, time, venue, etc), scope of service/agreed upon coverage or package, rescheduling clause, cancellation clause, pricing, discounts (if applicable), payment schedule, and acceptable methods of payment. Don't get lost in long, legal termonology and clauses. A good, solid contract contains the main components needed to ensure both parties are in mutual understanding of every aspect regarding the transaction that is about to take place. A lot of photographers require a 2 party signature from their clients (usually for weddings and engagments). This is something I personally prefer because it adds an added layer of accountability and ensures my clients and their significant others are both aware of the service agreement prior to finalizing the deal. Keep in mind that service agreements are put in place to protect you as much as the vendor you are getting ready to hire.
I hope these tips prove helpful to you in the future. Thank you for stopping by. Happy planning, and good luck with your search!
Looking for photographer recommendations in the DFW area? Contact me for a list of tried and true industry pros!