Choosing a photographer to capture your once-in-a-lifetime memories can be challenging. It is important to spend time selecting the best photographer for you for a variety of reasons. Photographers are not cheap, and you want to select someone that makes you feel comfortable and produces a product that you can enjoy for years to come.
Research your options
There are oodles of photographers in every market for every occasion. Your first step should be to compile a list of photographers to check out. One of the best and easiest ways to do this is to post on your social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, etc.) that you are looking for a photographer for your specific event (wedding, family pictures, party). Friends and family will have suggestions; people they have worked with or people whose work they have seen that will give you a great start. The nice part about polling friends and family first is that you can ideally see some examples of each photographer's work on their pages. This will give you an idea of the type of work each photographer produces and you can make your list from there. If your social media search does not give you five to ten options, check out local community pages as well. A quick post about your needs and event will likely turn up some great candidates right in your community.
Check out portfolios
Once you have a list of potential photographers, you need to spend time on their web pages and social media pages checking out their body of work. It is important to find a photographer whose style matches the pictures you ultimately want of your event. If you want a photojournalistic style, then look for those types of shots on each potential photographer's page. If you do not see pictures that you would like to have in your home on their sites, cross them off your list. Each photographer has their unique style and area of specialization, and you want to be sure what you envision for your own prints is something that they can produce.
Have a conversation
Photo sessions are not cheap. It is important that you speak to or meet with each of your remaining candidates before your event. This is a fairly typical practice for wedding photographers, but it is just as important for a party, an event or a family session. Your photographer will be behind the scenes during your entire event or session and you want to be sure he or she is someone you trust and can spend time with to produce quality shots. If you are hiring a photographer for a family session or party, is this person someone who can make people in your family comfortable enough to relax and enjoy the session? If you are hiring a photographer for a social or business event, is this person someone who can capture shots without being intrusive to your guests? Go with your gut and your impression of the photographers you meet. If you feel at ease, chances are your family, friends or guests will too.
Be honest and open
Remember you are hiring a photographer because they are talented at their craft. Part of the process of finding and hiring someone to photograph your important events is that you trust they will produce the types of shots you want to enjoy for years to come. That being said, it is important to be up front with your photographer about what you want. Do you want to be sure they capture a picture of certain guests or groups? Give them that information and a list of names. Is there a must-have pose or shot you are pining for? Let them know that too. However, do not go overboard. They are the professional and they see things that you do not about the lighting, the setting, and the subjects. Trust them to do the job you hired them for. You will be more relaxed, and they will capture some outstanding shots.
With some time and research, finding the perfect photographer for your event or occasion can be relatively painless. Remember to relax, enjoy and let your photographer create images that will capture your occasion or family in a way that you will be proud to frame. When you find someone you really click with, the results can be precious memories.