What Should I Look for When I Hire a Photographer?

This is a very important question to ask when you’re considering a photographer for any type of portraits: baby or children, senior, engagement, family or weddings. Most people put a lot of research into what photographer to choose for their wedding but the same amount of research is just as important for your baby, senior or family. After all, the photographer you choose has an incredible responsibility to carry out. You are entrusting them with your most treasured memories and people in your life.

The first thing you need to decide is what is your budget. Whether it’s a wedding or Senior portraits, it’s important to know this before you ever call or e-mail a photographer. The general rule of thumb for wedding photography is dedicate 15-20% of your total budget to photography. This may sound like a lot especially if you’re having a big wedding but photography will be one of the most important decisions you make for your wedding. While flowers or your dress may seem important that day, chances are you will only wear your dress that day and your bouquet will dry soon after your day. In the end, your portraits from your wedding will be the only things you have to remember your wedding day by through the years. If you’re looking for a portrait photographer, budget also needs to be considered before you call a photographer. Generally the rule of thumb with portrait photography is either your studio is a high-volume studio with cheaper prices or a low-volume studio that has higher prices but better quality.

Another important consideration is do you love the work of the photographer you’re considering. It’s important to LOVE the work of this photographer, not just like it. A good photographer has been trained not just in how to compose a great photograph but also how to create a compelling fine art portrait that speaks to your emotions or has some other clear message to it. If you feel confused by an image of a photographer, like “how did they pose that family like that? It doesn’t seem like people bend that way!” then this photographer may not be the right one for you. Does the photographer show the emotions and love of the people involved in the portraits? Do you feel like the portraits are a glimpse into these people’s lives? Do you feel like you know the people better in the portraits after viewing them? These are all wonderful things to consider when viewing various photographers work online or in person.

The most important thing to consider next to budget is do you get along well with the photographer and trust them. Kevin and I believe that as photographers we want to be a calming influence on you and use our expertise and knowledge of photography and graphic design to make the best products to display your portraits in your home. We hope to make treasured heirlooms our clients will treasure for years to come. The cheapest photographer in the world is not going to be great if their personality is annoying you on your wedding day. A great photographer should ask you about your ideas for your session in advance so they can take portraits that depict your personality in the way you want to be remembered. If you have a fun-loving family who enjoys playing in the park then your photographer should be able to depict these emotions and all the important relationships in your family.

Another thing you may want to consider is: am I supporting local business? While this is usually not a consideration with wedding photographer, it is a consideration with family and baby photographers. Would you rather have your money helping out your city and state or go to some chain photographer out of the East or West Coast? Kevin and I have been trying to make a habit lately of supporting our local restaurants. We try to eat at new places and have found there are a lot of great local restaurants in our area with wonderful service. Our preference is to help out the small businesses around Des Moines as much as we can.

If you have any other questions about this subject, I’d love to talk to you further.

So while a lot of people call us and ask us “how much do you charge for an 8×10?”, what they really want to know is “are you the right photographer for me?”. So before you hire any photographer, consider all these things and you’re sure to have some treasured heirlooms you’ll treasure for years to come.