While choosing the perfect outfit for your photo shoot is top of mind for many people, the most important choice you make comes beforehand; that is, selecting a photographer. One thing Michael Broyles Photography has learned over time is that choosing a photographer is a very personal decision. The more you trust a photographer professionally and personally, the better your session and resulting photos will be. I advise treating your initial consultation just like a job interview, where you are the interviewer and the photographer is the potential “job candidate.” As with any interview, you should come prepared with a list of questions to ask. Here, I offer 6 questions you should pose at your next consultation. These questions will help you identify the best photographer for your style and needs.
What is your background and credentials?
The phrase “you get what you pay for” could never be more true than in the field of photography. You never want to settle for just anyone to take a family portrait or your child’s senior photos. Be prepared to ask the photographer about their training, degrees, whether they belong to any associations, and if they have won any contests. Above all, find out if the photographer is a certified professional photographer (CPP). CPPs have certain standards to uphold and must possess a certain level of skill and training to attain and keep that certification.
What type of photography do you specialize in? Do you have a style preference?
Knowing your photographer’s genre and style is important to ensure that he or she can meet your photographic needs. For example, a photographer whose sole focus is on weddings and engagement photos would not be a good fit for someone looking to capture a family portrait. Likewise, a photographer with a more artistic flair would not be a good match for someone who prefers a traditional portrait shoot. You may choose to bring in a sample photograph that depicts the genre and style you prefer to share with the photographer to see if he or she is a good match. This is also a good time to inquire if the photographer shoots on location or solely in his or her studio.
Can I see your portfolio and/or samples of your recent work?
Ask to see a photographer’s portfolio and/or samples from a recent session or series of sessions to gain better insight into a photographer’s previous work. Does he or she produce consistently great photos? If only a few of the photos are worth framing, then you may want to look elsewhere. Another great place find samples is on the photographer’s website.
Can you provide me with a list of references?
Professional photographers are more than happy to provide you with a list of references from previous clients, partners, and fellow photographers. When you call up references, but sure to ask what made them choose their photographer, did he or she capture the mood of the portrait as desired, and did the final prints meet your expectations. You should also check out a photographer’s website and social media pages to read client testimonials and reviews.
What do your fees/packages include?
Sure a $200 portrait package might sound affordable, but what does it really include? Before you commit to a photographer or sign a contract, be sure to find out the following information: how long will the session last; how many images will you get; is an album part of the package, and if so, are there different types available; what is the format for delivering proofs; how much editing does the package include; how much time do you have to view proofs; and does the package include images you can share on social media? And don’t be afraid to ask the photographer to see a copy of the contract. A professional photographer will happily oblige.
How will I receive my photos and when can I expect them?
Every photographer has a preferred format for delivering photographs to their clients, from uploading onto a private, online portal or social media site to hand delivering in-person. If you have a particular preference for how you receive your photos, make it known now. A professional photographer will try his or her best to meet your needs.
Just as important as how you get your photos is when you can expect to receive them. Ask the photographer for a delivery timeline. If you need your photographs by a particular date, it is best to know ahead of time whether the photographer can meet your deadline instead of finding out too late.
Have a consultation coming up for your next photo session? Why not have your photos shot in black and white? Through the month of March, Michael Broyles Photography is offering a special Black and White Sale. Schedule a black and white photo shoot and you will receive 50% off all black and white prints. Call to set up a consultation with Michael Broyles Photography to learn more.