Hi there. Me again. I don't write much, but hey, I figure while I'm at it, let's write something. Let's start with why you should hire a professional photographer for your photos. Countless times, I've had people say to me, "Kevin, I really wish I hired a professional for my wedding/family portraits/events. I'm not saying you needed to hire me, but at least an accredited, seasoned photographer. Then they would proceed to show me the photographers work and I will sit there and question why they chose 12pm as their start time, or why they chose a background that looks like a bed sheet. Some even went as far as to add vignetting to the point where half of their photos are incredibly dark, or even brighter than the photo itself. (Sidetone, Vignetting is no longer cool.. Same goes with choosing one color, and making the rest black and white.. just. stop.)
We are now in a time where anyone can go to a brick and mortar store and purchase a camera. Trust me, I see it at every wedding I shoot (see post about unplugged weddings here) but more importantly, a lot of the camera owners look at their photos, and post to Facebook of a friends event and they see the comment (OMG! You should totally become a photographer!). Hey. I'm all for it, that's fine. As long as you are doing it the right way, and not ruining a name for the industry. So here's a few good tips on why you should hire a professional photographer:
- Are they paying their business taxes? Too many times you hear of a photographer saying that they need to pay their taxes. Do you pay taxes when you get a paycheck? So do we. Unfortunately, we don't have the paychecks to automatically do this for us. We rely on the old accountant who we have to pay to see, just to do our taxes each quarter. It's not fun. But hey, we do it to make sure we'r not getting our asses hauled to jail for tax evasion.
- Are they using professional grade cameras? I'm not discounting the cameras you can buy for $400, of course, we all started somewhere. When I switched to digital, I started with a Nikon D80. It was hands down one of the best cameras out there. Long gone are the days of spending time in a dark room and smelling the awesome smell of sulfur. But when you go and buy a Canon T5 with a 18-55 lens, or a Nikon 3300 with the kit lens, you're not automatically a photographer. Do they shoot in Raw? Do they shoot with off camera flash? These are things to consider when looking into a photographer.
- Where is their portfolio? Wait, they don't have a website? What? They only rely on Facebook likes and then have their friends like their page, and then post all of their photos there? That's cool and all, but here's a tip.. Get a website. They're cheap. Ask them to see a full wedding gallery. Do they offer an album? Ask them to see a full wedding album.
- What's their editing style and delivery time? Half of the time I hear "What do you mean editing style? What's that? I just take the photos, and give them to the client for $50 bucks and send them via CD." True story, if you're a photographer charging $50 for digital photos, and only shooting without retouching any photos, then you're in for a world of hurt, and you will burn yourself out.
- Stay away from yard sale sites on Facebook. This to me has been the kick in the crotch sometimes. This is where you'll see the new "photographer" post that they have a "special" going on. Example. I saw a photographer post that she would do a 5 hour wedding for $300. If my math is correct, she'll take your money, shoot your event, then not go through them whatsoever, burn your CD, give you under exposed and blurry photos, and then walk away; with your money. Sure it's $300 that you paid for, but your memories? There's no price tag on them. You get what you pay for. Same goes with clients looking for portraits of their families. Don't fall for the $50 photos. Just don't. Invest in your memories.
- Do they have a contract? Most photographer have a contract with their clients. Contracts state: "I am meeting you here at this time and this location and I am giving you this product. Sign Here: _________________: Except for the one time that I heard a client tell me that her "photographer didn't show up, and doesn't have an active number anymore, and took off with their money." How does that make you feel?
You don't have to hire me. This isn't a plea for that. It's a plea to do your research. You can find reviews on WeddingWire and The Knot for great photographers.