As a business owner, one of the things that makes my heart SOAR is when a potential client reaches out to me with a specific vision for their photography experience and that vision is completely in line with what I offer! I put a lot of effort into perfecting my process and shooting style so that I offer a consistent experience to every client that comes to me. I love when I know exactly what I'm getting from a store or service provider, so I try to create that for my clients! So when I get that email from a potential client that has heard about my work and wants that experience, I get so excited that my hard work is paying off! With these types of clients, we create MAGIC because we're all on the same page about what we're creating, and those are the most successful sessions.
So how do you make sure you hire a photographer who will create that kind of magic with you? Here is my three step system to make sure you connect with the PERFECT photographer!
1) Go beyond price
The BIGGEST thing you can do for yourself is to look past price! Of course, that's always a consideration, and having a general budget in mind is essential. But that definitely shouldn't be the ONLY thing you should consider as you search for a photographer. I see many people search only as long as it takes to find someone who can photograph them within their budget, and then they hire the first person who fits that budget. Well, what if that person fits the budget, but the style of photos you get back isn't what you were envisioning? That's why step two is SO important!
2) Think about style BEFORE you search
It's easy to get lost down the rabbit hole of Google searching for photographers! Next time, before you even open up your computer to search, spend some time brainstorming what words you'd use to describe the look you'd like your photos to have. Which of these phrases appeals most to you? More than one is totally fine, and absolutely feel free to add your own!
Light, bright, and airy / Film-inspired / Soft and romantic
Dark and moody / Emotional / Edgy
Bold and colorful / Free-spirited / Boho
Classic and timeless / Posed / Traditional
Once you have a solid list, use those keyphrases in your search to narrow down the options. Photographers who specialize in these types of styles will have made sure these words appear on their website to make themselves easy to find to their perfect clients!
3) Think about your ideal experience
I think this is MOST important for wedding and birth photographers, where you're spending 8+ hours of the most important day of your life with your photographer, but really it applies to anyone! When you look back at your photos, you'll remember what your experience making those photos felt like, so it's really important that you choose a photographer that you vibe well with. For larger projects, you'll want to have a consultation before you hire a photographer to get a sense of their personality and see if you mesh well together. Pay attention to how your conversation goes: do you like this person? Did you enjoy chatting with them? Did they put you at ease and make you feel like you could be yourself? These are all really important things to think about before inviting a photographer to spend a day with you.
For sessions, think about how you'd like to feel during your session. Do you want to travel somewhere exciting and have an adventure-inspired session? Look for photographers that feature large landscape-focused portraits and focus on adventure and travel. Or maybe you'd like to hang out at your home--look for a photographer who advertises in-home sessions. Do you like to be encouraged and take the guesswork out of how to pose with direction from the photographer? Do you like the poses to be traditional or more lifestyle? Are you looking for a free-spirited session with funny prompts instead of poses for a session where real life is most important?
The last part of the experience is how you'll receive your photos. What kind of guidance would you like in making your final choices for photos to print? Some photographers will guide you through the selection process so that you can choose the best photo to fit your final art piece. They'll take care of ordering prints for you and do album design. Are you only looking for digital files? Check that the photographer offers those. Would you rather make choices from your home? See if your photographer offers Skype sales sessions or consultations.
Phew! That seems like a lot to think about, but I promise, when you're making an investment in to your photos, these are ALL important things to consider to make sure that your investment is WORTH IT! By taking a few minutes to brainstorm how you'd like your photos to look and how you'd like to feel during the entire process, you can easily narrow down your potential photographers to quickly find the perfect one for you! As you click in to each photographer's website that you're considering, you'll be able to quickly see if they're a good fit by comparing their photographic style to your wish list. As you browse their website further, you can see what type of experience they offer and, if you've done the work to think about what you want beforehand, you'll know right away if they are a good fit for you! And last, make sure you get a good sense of their personality through a consultation or at least through following their Instagram! With all of these connection points in line, you'll be sure to have the best photography experience yet!