how to choose a photographer:
Today, I want to talk you about the process of choosing a photographer. Seriously, choosing a photographer isn’t easy. People make it seem like it’s as simple as the click of a button, but there’s a lot to consider during the decision process. You’re not just finding someone local with a good camera and a drive to take some photos, you’re inviting a stranger into your intimate world to capture moments important to you; moments that you want to remember for the rest of your life. This person will be interacting with the people you love most- that can be pretty uncomfortable when you have no idea who they are or what to expect from the experience. I hear you, trust me.
If you ask me, I think there are three main things to focus on when you’re searching for the right photographer: editing style, contract, and personality- in no particular order, of course. And you know what? These are definitely not the only important things, but they came to mind and they carry some serious weight, so let’s get into it.
We’re all human and we all have preferences whether they be loves, hates, likes, dislikes, you name it. Make sure you take a deep dive into a photographer’s work to get a good idea of their editing style before making any final decisions. Wonder what the heck an editing style is? Grrreat question! Photographers take photos a certain way (think camera angles, lenses, etc.) which adds to their style, sure, but a lot more work goes into the final image than how the original photo was taken.
Photographers often refer to different editing styles including, but certainly not limited to: “light and airy,” “warm & emotional,” “dark & moody,” & “bright & colorful.” They’re exactly what they sound like if you ask me. Let me give you some examples of these editing styles using the work of some of my favorite photographers that I’ve met through the Instagram world thus far:
Once a photo is taken, the photographer uploads it into their computer and edits each individual photo to transform it to fit their overall style. This might include cropping the image, shifting the colors, changing the light, adjusting the shadows, photoshop tricks, and more! The above examples may help you differentiate these four common styles, but we all know that most beautiful things don’t fit into a perfect little box. Not one of the photographers above is limited to just the style I categorized them in for the purpose of today’s blog. As artists we evolve, change, and vary- so take a good look at your photographer’s style via their website galleries, Instagram pages, etc. (I mean really creep through it all) to make sure you LOVE what they do before making any big decisions!
Pretty pretty please (with like 35 cherries on top) take contracts seriously. Contracts have so many purposes- especially keeping you and your photographer accountable and legally bound!
If a photographer isn’t using a contract, that’s an immediate red flag. Period. If you pay them and there’s no contract in place, they could just ghost you and keep the money. I don’t think that’s a common occurrence, but hey-please don’t pay a photographer before a contract is signed!
A photography contract should include the essentials, i.e: editing time (how long will it take to get your photos?), back up plan (what if your photographer gets sick? then what?), payments/price (what do you owe in total? when is it due?), image rights (can you sell your photos? post them? print them? what can you legally do with the images you paid for?), and so much more.
Most importantly, read a contract in its entirety and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Documents shouldn’t be signed unless you really truly read them fully and feel comfortable doing so. Your contract is legally binding, so please go ahead and be picky- very picky!
As I said earlier, we’re all human- even your photographer! People say “business is business,” but that doesn’t really apply here. Hiring a photographer who owns a small business is definitely a business arrangement, sure, but you’re trusting an individual to be around yourself and your loved ones to capture intimate moments. Take the time to get to know your photographer and make sure they’re a good personality fit!
Do you get along with people who make you laugh and feel silly or would you rather work with someone who can manifest romantic moments? How about both? Or would you like to work with someone who brings out the serene and calm vibes? Your photographer will be there for all of the moments you hope to freeze in time- get to know them, read about them on their websites/public reviews, and take their online presence into consideration.
If you ask me, I think you should pick a photographer who feels like a new friend, or even better, an old one; someone who you actually would invite to your wedding or family reunion- somebody you just click with! Whether you feel the need to interview them, take them out for coffee or drinks, meet them for dinner, have them over for a night of charades, you name it- be sure to do what you believe is necessary to feel confident that the photographer you’re hiring will be the best fit for your crew. If you feel awkward or uncomfortable during your photo session because you aren’t vibing with the person behind the lens, I guarantee it’ll show in your final gallery… just saying!
-Emily W of EEW Photography-