Whether you’re planning a wedding, hosting an event, getting new corporate headshots, preparing a fashion shoot or rebranding your business imagery, doing a little groundwork on your photographer can not only make the process smoother but ensure ‘muchos’ happiness with the resulting photos.
1. Know your aesthetic
Before even beginning to look for a photographer it’s important to know what kind of look you’re trying to achieve. Like any artist, different photographers have different styles and knowing what images you’re drawn to most will help you sort out which photographers are going to be best suited to your project. Setting up a Pinterest board to save any favourite images you come across is a good way to create a visual reference and can also come in handy when discussing your vision with photographers.
2. Not all photographers are created equal
As well as having different styles, photographers will often specialise in different areas. For instance, someone who specialises in architectural photography may not be the best choice to shoot your wedding and vice versa. There are always exceptions to the rule of course and someone’s style in a different area of photography might be exactly what you’re looking for but in general, photography isn’t just about pressing a button and different areas will often require different skill sets, equipment and personalities. So look towards photographers who have experience in what it is you’re trying to capture.
Gone are the days when you set up an appointment to see a photographer’s portfolio. Any photographer worth their salt is going to have a website and the images they showcase should be their best. So if the images you’re seeing aren’t up to scratch, the images they’ll deliver probably won’t be either. Spend time checking out the websites of photographers you’re looking in to as you’ll not only get an idea of the images they’re capable of producing but also an insight into their personalities with many running their own blogs through their sites.
Sometimes finding photographers through a google search can be difficult as you wade through a sea of endless listings. This is where industry blogs come in handy as they will only showcase work they find interesting. In the case of finding wedding photographers, blogs like Polka Dot Bride, Nouba, Hello May and Rock ‘n’ Roll Bride are an endless source of great talent. Also, only those that are good enough will make it onto their directory listings.
4. With photography, you get what you pay for
Hopefully by this stage you’ll have narrowed down your photographers based on the quality of their work. However, if you’re still thinking of running a gumtree search for cheap photographers in your area, remember that you get what you pay for. The reason established photographers charge what they charge is because they have the experience to know how to deliver and what goes into a job. In other words you’re not paying for them to learn on the job.
5. Meet them
Whether by phone, email or in person, it’s important to get to know who you’re working with. Having good communication with your photographer is essential in making sure you get the images you’re after. This is especially important in wedding photography as you’ll be spending the entire day and night together and the relationship you have with them can be the difference between having an incredible day or an average one. Go with your gut. If they give you good vibes, chances are you’ll have a good time working together.
Trust trust trust!
Now that you’ve done all your research, narrowed down your shortlist and ultimately decided on who’s going to help you realise your vision, it’s important to trust your photographer to do the job they’ve been hired to do. Nothing stifles creativity and good work faster than someone telling you how you should do your job.
Good luck. Go forth and make beautiful images!
Condtributed by John Joseph Possemato