CHOOSING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
These days almost anyone who can hold a smartphone thinks he or she is a photographer. But if you’re looking for a pro, what do you need to know?
Ask, “How long have you been a photographer?” And look for experience in your genre. A seasoned photojournalist might not be best for your wedding. A superb fashion photographer might grow impatient with squirming babies. So hire someone who takes the kind of pictures you want. Examine a portfolio and specify, “I want shots like these.”
We mean the chemistry between the photographer, the subject, and you. To photograph your vintage Chevy, look for someone who loves classic cars. Find a puppy photographer who adores dogs. How will this cameraman or -woman manage uncooperative guests at your event? Arrange an in-person meeting in advance to make sure the two of you “click”!
Ask about timing and quality. For a wedding or other event, will some photos be done in a studio in advance of the big day? How long is the wait to see proofs? How long for final delivery? Does the photographer do the printing herself? Use a professional lab? Or use the local drugstore? Are there any warranties? For example, are the prints guaranteed not to fade?
You don’t want everyone kept waiting at the Bar Mitzvah for a photographer who never shows up. Ask to speak with former clients who vouch for the person’s reliability. What if the camera doesn’t work? Does the photographer have back-up equipment in the event of a malfunction? Putting your requirements in a written contract can help ensure reliability.
Last but not least, consider price. Sometimes you get what you pay for, but sometimes not. The most expensive professional isn’t necessarily the best choice. Have a budget. And make sure you’re not buying a package deal that includes things you don’t want. Fifty wallet-sized photos for X dollars may sound like a great buy, but not if you don’t know fifty people who want them.
Use these criteria, and then relax—you’ve made an informed choice, and you can look forward to great pictures!