Here’s a guide to help you to hire a professional photographer for your special occasion, whether it be a wedding photographer, a photographer for engagement photos, a family portrait photographer, a photographer for maternity photos, a newborn photographer, or a senior portrait photographer.
These are all monumental moments in a lifetime that many desire to hold onto forever and to pass down to generations. Our goal is to help you choose the best photographer for your most cherished events.
Preparing to Hire a Professional Photographer
Determine Your Budget
Before you do anything else, it is essential to have a clear idea of what your budget is. This narrows down the list of possible candidates. Giving yourself some flexibility with it is a good idea. There can often be unexpected costs with printing, hair and makeup, retouching, consultation fees, and digital rights.
Some photographers will charge by the hour or even by the image. Getting a clear understanding of the final costs and all that are involved will make for a realistic price tag to set your budget on.
The Internet Is Your Best Friend
Unless you already have a specific photographer in mind that you want, researching is vital. Your special occasion should be captured by someone who can bring to life what you are imagining. Check out websites and Instagram pages to get a feel both for the artist’s style and their price options before contacting them.
Reviews are everything. If the artist has a good handful of reviews, you can gauge their professionalism and their interactions with previous clients. While you can’t base your final choice on one bad review, spending some time reading feedback can narrow down your list. Doing a simple search like “the best local photographers near me” will bring up a list that can get you started and scope out the review of each that pop up.
Pick Your Top Three Photographers
Depending on the occasion and the specific style that you are after, you might have a few options at your disposal. We recommend putting your top three choices on paper. Listing their package prices, style, and reviews to get a full picture.
Getting in Touch with Professional Photographers
Contact Your Top 3 Choice Photographers
Reaching out to your top choice photographers, making a good connection is crucial at this point in the game. A picture is worth a thousand words, and if you are uncomfortable or not in sync with the photographer, there is a risk that the photos won’t come out as desired.
Get to Know the Artist Behind the Camera
Getting to look at a photographer’s portfolio and coming into the meeting with a clear vision is great, but it is also important to listen to what he or she has to say. Experienced photographers will have been working in the industry for some time, they probably have a few tricks up their sleeve and some great ideas to help push your concept one step further.
Have Your Questions Ready
The photographer might be very thorough and answer all your questions without you needing to ask them. However, before meeting, make sure to write down any queries you might have. Some questions we recommend are:
- What is included in each package? Is the price negotiable?
- How soon after can the finished product be expected?
- Does the photographer have experience with similar events or photoshoots? Could he or she provide examples?
- Depending on the occasion being photographed, ask if they know of any venders that they could recommend.
What to Expect
Photoshoots can vary in length, coordination, set up, and workflow. The best thing we recommend is arriving to the photoshoot at least 15 minutes early in order to avoid any stress. This also provides time for all parties to be clear on what is going to happen on the day.
Coordination for Big Events
If you have multiple people involved in the shoot (e.g., makeup artist, family or friends, art director), make sure everyone is given the same information and that they are all on the same page, meaning clear and concise communication. And, if it is a wedding or engagement photoshoot, find out who has the most flexible schedule for your needs as big events can be more stressful.
Final Words of Advice for Hiring a Professional Photographer
Be Sure to Connect
You don’t want your photos to be generic. Otherwise, you might as well ask your aunt to take them. Make sure you have seen the photographer’s portfolio, had a chance to get to know the photographer and that he or she can accommodate to the style you are trying to bring forth with your photo shoot. The photographer should be able to bring you at ease, especially if it is for a special occasion such as your engagement or wedding.
Iron Out the Details
It can be easy to get carried away once you find the photographer who can create the style you’re after, but there are certain things that should not be overlooked. Before signing the contract, be sure to have an explicit agreement on delivery time, that the correct package has been purchased, and that the photographer is clear on the date and time of the photoshoot. The photographer also needs to be clear on what your desired outcome is so that time is not wasted.
What Are Your Options?
Photographer for Engagement Photos
The location depends on each couple and the emotion they want to bring to the photos. Working together with the photographer guarantees priceless images to last a lifetime.
The wedding photographer will take photos at the wedding, capturing all the special moments of one of the happiest days of many people’s lives. Additionally, you can get pictures taken before the wedding, showcasing the outfits, similar to engagement photos.
Family Portrait Photographer
Family portraits are often taken in a studio or on location, family portraits are usually hassle-free as they can be taken in one quick sitting.
Photographer for Maternity Photos
Capturing that precious pregnant glow on camera for the most magical maternity photos are priceless. Photos can be taken in many creative ways; with partners, props, or at different locations.
To cherish those first few months of life, you can get newborn photos taken in a studio to share with friends and family.
Senior Portrait Photographer
Hired to take the senior photos separately from the rest of the school’s yearbook photos, senior portrait photographers take pictures that mark the start of the next stage in a young adult’s life.
To Sum it Up
Now that you have gotten to the end of our guide, we hope you feel well prepared to hire a professional photographer no matter the occasion. Remember to have an estimate of your desired budget, know what style you are after, and to have a good connection with the artist. If you establish excellent communication, you’ll be able to work together to create the perfect set of photos.