Without a doubt, there will be several instances in your life that you feel the need to hire a professional photographer. Clearly, there are no rules out there on what to look for. Unlike purchasing something like a new phone, a new appliance or even a house, you surely can’t surf Amazon for the best price. However, price shopping is what appears to be what most people do for services these days. Sadly, the market is saturated with “photographers” of all types, skills… some educated and yes, some not so educated.
You, the consumer, of course are a bit clueless other than you have a budget to go by. So, you scour the Internet and start out with the phone calling. Here is basically how it goes:
You: “Hi, I need to get a price for my parent’s 40th anniversary party. I want to get some really nice pictures of everyone there.”
Photographer: “Okay, what have you budgeted?”
You: “Two hundred dollars”
Photographer: “I can do that, just let me know when and where.”
The price sounds good to you and you are happy to tell your brothers and sisters that your only task for the party is completed. Then, the day of the party, the photographer is a no show. What happened you wonder?
What happened is basically you did not do your homework. You were price shopping and like most things, you get what you pay for. In this case, you did not follow the right steps to hiring a qualified person. If you hired someone to do a roofing job, would you have asked more questions? Of course! Having a nice camera does not make you a photographer. Nor, does it stop even the least qualified to advertise as a photographer.
So, how do you find out how to hire the right photographer for your special event?
First and foremost, you must find someone that combines their style with your budget. Don’t be afraid to ask the photographer that whose style you absolutely love if they could maybe done an hour less of coverage to fit into your budget. You never know unless you ask!
Don’t hire the photographer you like and then tell him/her that you want this photograph shot like this or that because you saw it on Pinterest. You hire them for THEIR style, not someone else.
Define exactly how many hours you need coverage for. Get something in writing. Do they have insurance? Will there be an online gallery for viewing? How long will reprints take onceyou order? How much more will retouching be?
A professional photographer will gladly explain how everything works regarding capturing your event. Even with a smaller budget, you can get a professional photographer. Would you rather have great photographs for two hours or crappy out of focus photographs for four hours? For the ladies…. It’s the equivalent of having a small Chanel handbag than a large glimmer bag from J.C. Penney.
Like everything, you have to shop wisely and realize that an educated photographer comes with a price. Your neighbor’s new camera may be beautiful, but it’s not the camera that pushes the button.