Five tips for photography customers
5 tips to ensure you get the most for your money
During the past several months I have seen countless photography customers and clients who have paid for and appeared to settle for poor to, at best, mediocre photographs that they could have taken themselves with most any camera including their own cell phones. I won't openly pick on these others photographers
I certainly expect that this blog entry will offend a number of my photography friends and other photographers, but this is intended to help ensure you don't waste your money on bad photographs.
1. Check your photographers website.
If your photographer only has a Facebook page or has their portfolio on Facebook, Flickr or other "free web hosting" service be very careful. Of course this doesn't mean that they are bad, however, they have put little to no work in creating a professional site. I do believe a social media presence is a good thing, especially for professional photographer. Look through their galleries and portfolio (which should be only their best work and 10 to 20 photographs).
I know I have heard photographers claim that they would rather spend more time taking photographs than building and maintaining a website. The flaw to this thinking is the reality of running a business. There is more to running a photography business than just pushing a button. Maintaining a professional looking online presence is one of those because it demonstrates a true professional.
2. Inquire about what programs they use for post processing.
Ok, I can hear some photographers now, "I don't do post processing, I get it right in the camera". To this I say, that is a load of malarkey. True professional photographers always strive to "get it right in the camera". In all my years in photography I have yet to hear anyone say, leave in that blemish, etc. When we are paying for portraits we want to look our best. There is a reason that even the best photographers in the world use programs like Photoshop even after spending tens of thousands of dollars on equipment, lighting, and software. If your photographer is using those "free" online programs this may be a clue about the quality of the product you will receive because, again, they have not made an investment into quality gear, which includes software.
3. Ask about their experience and how long they have been a photographer.
I certainly don't intend to imply that many years of experience makes for a better photographer or that someone who is only a couple of years into photography is not good. The photographer should be able to give you an idea as to their experience, education, training and background. Be wary of someone charging a significant amount of money with only a short amount of experience. While I do advise photographers to charge what they are worth and to not work for free it is important to not overpay as well. Compare their work to their prices and experience.
4. Closely view the work they have done for others.
When reviewing their website or portfolio view the work they have done previously for other clients. It is easy to become emotionally excited about photographs of your family and loved ones which can skew your opinion of the work. Ensure the photograph is focused well lit, no off colored tints or hues.
5. Be wary of photographers who don't use lighting, ever.
Even in the daytime, it is often essential to use fill lighting to ensure the subject is well lit. Photographers who never use supplemental lighting often don't have the necessary skills to provide quality products. While it is possible to get great photos without supplemental lighting each shooting situation is different and one must be prepared for most any circumstance to properly light a subject.
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