Today’s blog post is all about how to choose the best photographer for YOU! I’m sharing THREE things to consider when finding a photographer that will work best for your needs + wants. You want to make sure to find the perfect fit for you when paying someone to take photos of the biggest day of your life, your family, your child’s senior photos, or any other occasion that is important to you. I’m going to go over three things to consider when finding the photographer of your dreams: shooting style, editing style, and pricing.
1. Shooting Style
When I first started my photography business, I wanted to shoot anything + everything. Families, birthday parties, real estate, weddings, etc. I wasn’t sure of what my photography style was, or even what I loved shooting the most. Fast forward a few years later and I have found my niche in this business. What I didn’t realize in 2012 when I did my first session was that there are SO many types of photography, and I needed to find what made me happiest and what I was best at in order to serve my clients the best.
There are three types of photography you’ll run across when searching for someone for your wedding or family photos.
Studio photography is pretty self-explanatory. Whether it’s the old-school Olan Mills studios (anyone else have a ton of photos from their childhood from this studio?) or a more current studio servicing families with newborns, senior photos, etc., studio photography is based indoors with backdrops, some props, and (usually) artificial lighting. Studio photography is also a great place to get headshots for a business, such as real estate agents or hair stylists.
Portrait photography is similar to studio photography, but a lot of portrait photographers do their sessions outdoors. Most photos are still (no movement) poses, and portrait photographers sometimes use artificial lighting outdoors as well!
This is the category that I will go deepest in, because I am a lifestyle photographer! Lifestyle photography is something that I fell in love with early on because it is full of motion, fun posing prompts, and tons of natural light. In lifestyle photography, there is less structure and more emotion-driven posing. For example, lots of my prompts in engagement sessions include running, spinning, laughter, dancing, etc. While I still get plenty of still poses, most of the shots I take follow a prompt that I’ve given clients/families/seniors to allow for movement in the photo. Lifestyle photography is also where you’ll find a lot of in-home sessions (which I LOVE!), where you’ll see families/couples interacting in their own home or an Air B&B.
2. Editing Style
The next thing to consider when finding a photographer for you is their editing style. Are they a light and airy fine art photographer that also shoots film? Are their photos dark and moody? Or are they somewhere in between? Do they deliver mostly black + white images, or only color? Photographers have a signature style that they’ve developed over time, and they probably (AKA definitely) won’t change that just for you. So if you don’t like the editing style of their past sessions, you most likely won’t like their editing style for yours! Make sure to choose someone whose images you absolutely love.
3. What You’re Paying For
This is often the most sensitive part of choosing a photographer – price. While I TOTALLY understand that life revolves around money + budgets, you should always take into consideration what you are paying for. As a licensed + insured wedding and lifestyle photographer, there are many expenses that I have to account for when I’m formulating my pricing each year. Here are just a few expenses that I have that affect my pricing:
-Insurance (liability + to cover my gear)
-Permits + venue memberships
-Equipment (camera bodies, lenses, backups, memory cards, batteries, camera bags, speed lights, reflectors, and all of the other gadgets that fit into the FIVE bags that I bring to weddings full of equipment.)
-Software + Subscriptions (Lightroom, Photoshop, my online gallery service, Planoly, Stripe, my website, domain name, etc.)
-Shipping + Stamps
-Computer equipment (desktop, laptop, external hard drives, mouse, etc.)
-Equipment cleaning + calibration (I do this at least twice a year)
-Advertising + business cards
-Continuing education (courses, styled shoots, etc.)
-Paying second shooters + assistants
These are just a FEW things that came to me in just a couple of minutes, but there are SO many other things that your photographer has to pay for each year just to run their business! I understand that sometimes people just want to hire someone that is extremely inexpensive, but look at it this way. If your air conditioning went out in your home in the middle of August (which ours just did, by the way) would you want to hire the absolute cheapest person you could find, or would you be willing to hire someone that was more experienced and more experienced to get the job done right the first time? (As someone who just dealt with my air being out on a 100 degree day, I know exactly which I would choose haha!) So make sure to take this into consideration when hiring your photographer. Licensing + insurance is SO important, ESPECIALLY when it comes to wedding photography!!
I hope this blog post has been informative for you, whether you’re looking for a wedding photographer or someone to take photos for your Christmas card!
I’m a wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Knoxville, Tennessee but available anywhere. If you have questions about booking me for a session or wedding, click here! To follow me on social media, check out my Facebook and Instagram.