It’s a jungle out there!
There are a lot of professional photographers around who do amazing work and it can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. So let me help you. Before hiring someone, ask yourself these five questions.
5. Does their style feel like ‘me’?
Go searching online and see what kind of photos make you want to stop and look at a little longer. Which ones make you want to get to know the person in them? Which ones make your heart beat a little faster?
Is it the highly polished, studio work that you love? Do you prefer natural light images with a lifestyle feel to them? Or documentary-style photos of people doing their thing? Does dark and moody feel more like you? Perhaps a more pastel palette? Do you like landscape images and think that they represent your personal brand? There are so many different styles and I truly believe that there is a photographer for everyone.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. If you have an idea of what style you want, but don’t know if you’ve found the right photographer – just ask. A professional photographer who genuinely takes their clients’ needs seriously won’t be afraid to recommend another photographer if they don’t think they are the best match for you.
4. Do they understand the type of photography I want?
Just because someone does beautiful newborn photography or maybe you even have a friend with a fancy camera, it doesn’t mean they are the right person for your personal brand photography.
Find someone who gets you and does what you are searching for really well.
3. Are they within my budget?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I don’t like spending money.
I rarely go shopping and usually have to really want something to spend money on it. There are a few things, though, that I won’t bat an eyelid at (or barely anyway). A good latte – I’ll pay anything for it if it tastes good and the staff who make it for me are friendly (yeah, that’s a thing for me), a good moisturiser and a good haircut. I’ll choose good service over a low price and quality over quantity any day. If it’s a hassle and is going to waste my time or not leave me feeling good, I’m not going to bother.
The truth is that professional photography isn’t cheap.
It can be really tempting to go with the lowest price, but as entrepreneurs, we need to work with other entrepreneurs who are running their business as just that – a business, and not a hobby. If you find a photographer with solid pricing, you should be able to feel comfortable knowing that they are investing in quality equipment, education, and good business practices that will ensure they deliver the best quality images.
These days, personal brand photography is an essential business expense, rather than a luxury, which means that it should be included in your budget for the year. This type of photography is going to add value to businesses and if the images are used in the right way, they should pay for themselves.
Having said that, you need to make sure you get great value for your hard-earned money.
Check the photographer’s prices and what they are offering. Does the service they are offering suit your needs? How many photos are included? Do you have exclusive rights to use the photos for an unlimited time or is there a time limit?
2. Do they care?
Personal brand photography is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Is your photographer interested in your business and the message you want to send to your audience? Do they ask the right questions in their communication with you to make sure they can address all of your needs? Do they seem like they want to get to know who you are as a person and find out why you love doing what you do?
1. Do you click?
Is this someone you actually want to spend time with?
For me, this is absolutely number one. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m really uncomfortable in front of the camera. I’m naturally quite bubbly and smiley, but as soon as I’m supposed to smile for the camera I honestly can’t work out what to do with my face. I feel awkward, unnatural and totally self-conscious.
So if I’m going to put myself in front of the camera – and especially if I want authentic expressions where I look and feel my best – I need to find someone I totally click with and who can make me relax. I need someone who can distract me and actually bring out genuine reactions – because faking it is just not my thing.
I think this explains why I photograph the way I do. We chat and just kind of hang out and get to know each other. I give prompts to elicit particular looks or reactions. Most often it’s the in-between moments that I’m looking to capture and it’s these that are usually the most beautiful and genuine.
I’m not a ‘drop-in for a quick five minute photo and then get out’ kind of photographer. My whole process from first inquiry to session to delivery is personal – all with the aim of capturing a genuine personality in the photos and really serving the needs of my clients.
If you think you’ve found the photographer for you, think about the personality they show through their website and in social media and in any communication you have with them. Do they feel like the kind of person you would like and want to hang out with?
I really hope these help. If you think I might be the right photographer for you (and I really hope you do), click on the button below and get in touch.