How to choose your wedding or portrait photographer.
I don’t see anyone as a competitor – a strange but by any means not an arrogant sentence to start a blog with. But it’s true. Photography is a very personal service.
You wouldn’t take anyone for your bridesmaid or best man, would you? Or you wouldn’t let Joe blogs randomly pick the kids up from school?
With the growth of social media, particularly Facebook, your choice has increased a hundred-fold. Anyone can start a business page. Is down to you the prospective client to decide whether you have the confidence and feel comfortable with whoever your looking at, to capture your wedding or precious family portrait.
The choice has become hard now Facebook has launched their new “recommend” function. Discovery Photography gets recommended a lot in these types of post. From a perspective client point of view how could you ever choose?
Take the last status we were tagged in, there were 120 comments from all over the county. Although some of the more commonly known photographers like ourselves were tagged a few times, most were individual recommendations. Making for an almost impossible choice for the person putting the status out.
So, what are the things you should be looking for?
A CRB or DBS (criminal records check) is a good start especially if there are children involved, and although this doesn’t safeguard them by any means, it shows the photographer is open and not trying to hide anything.
Another good thing to look at is the insurance level or if the photographer is insured at all. This may seem a little irrelevant but if the photographers light falls on you and injures you would you make a claim? Or if the photographer loses your wedding images from the day, would you make a claim?
I make sure we have full liability and indemnity insurance and data loss insurance to £100,000. In ten years of wedding photography I have never claimed once, but it’s still there.
I have always been a great believer in giving Clients, prospective or not, as much confidence as possible and have always had a studio and never worked from home.
Now don’t get me wrong this probably means nothing to a client. But I can be clearly contacted at the studio during my opening hours, unless I’m at wedding, or on location, then I leave a clear sign stating when I will be back and why I’m closed.
I’m not saying that a photographer shouldn’t work from home, but when your chasing your wedding images and you must drop by their home, call their phone number and they aren’t answering. Then I would say a proper studio shows a proper business.
Most of the horror stories I hear involve wedding photographers who have captured a wedding, taken the money and have become un-contactable. Therefore, you as a client find it hard to simply obtain your images you have paid good money for. Saying that, I also know studios that have done the same, taken large payments, captured weddings, closed and disappeared.
So, on that note, look for a photographer that’s been around a while and the studio has been open for a while, chances are they to stay and have a passion for what they are doing. This should give you enough confidence to book them.
How to choose your wedding or portrait photographer, might not be just about money, quality, creativity but how about the photographer themselves? There must be a connection between couple, family and photographer.
If you feel uneasy with them then this will show through your images. I have heard of several instances of photographers who come across a little creepy, even to a point where I heard of an instance while a photographer was working a wedding and the groom punched him because of his leary ways.
When you look into a camera lens it’s got to be with conviction, with a smile, there has to be a connection between you (the bride, the groom, the child, the family), you have to feel at ease and relaxed.
Next time you see a friend’s wedding images or family portrait shoot in your Facebook news feed, look deeply into the faces on the image, do they look like they want to be there? If they have an awkward look upon their face they’ve maybe, just maybe they made the wrong choice for their photographer.
I’m not saying book me for every photo shoot or wedding, by any means I’m relaxed, unobtrusive and listen to every clients need, they are your images, your living room wall not mine. But you might find you want someone a little more strict and forceful to make sure those images are done.
Each client has a different perception about what you expect from a photographer so there is no such thing as competition.
Yes, you may be governed by the financial aspect of affording a photographer. Yes the photographer might be DBS checked with all the relevant insurances and work from a studio, but if he or she is not right for you still won’t get the perfect image you want for the living room wall.
So next time you’re looking for a photographer take a little time to get to know them. If they don’t have the time to sit with a cuppa and chat to you, are they really right for you? Are they wanting your business for the right reasons? Do they want you as a client or do they want your money and you out the door?
Got Questions? Contact Stuart.