First and foremost, understand that photography is a luxury, not a necessity. Photography will be expensive. Photography is art, not snapshots. This post is for those who want quality over quantity, but aren't sure what to look for.
+ Find a few photographers who specialize in the genre (the type of session) you are wanting to book in your surrounding areas.
Obviously, you can use Google, but you can also use Instagram hashtags! Simply type in area + photographer or area + genre + photography.
Example: austintexasphotographer or austintxseniorphotography.
+ You want a photographer who does well in the type of session you want. You do not want a photographer who only half-asses what they do.
Of course, this doesn't go for people who are just starting out. They are still learning their craft & what they love.
~ Do not expect a photographer who specializes in family portraits to shoot your wedding.
~ Do not expect a photographer who specializes in weddings to shoot your newborn photos.
Most photographers are well-educated in specific genres. Meaning they have spent a lot of time perfecting their craft in their chosen specialties, especially with newborns; Professional newborn photographers take classes to learn how to safely pose babies in those unique poses.
+ Pick a photographer whose style/look you love.
Do you love the dark & moody feel or the bright & airy photos? Do you love the indoors/in-studio look or do you love the natural light in the middle of the field look? Do you want your photos to be full of smiles or do you want to go for the serious expressions with interesting poses? There are a lot of different aspects of a photographer's work that will stand out to you. There are many different photographers out there & there is one for everyone. You can't go wrong choosing the photographer whose style you love.
Personally, I am a dark & moody/weird vibe type of photographer. I occasionally dabble in bright & airy photos depending on the session. Here are some examples of my own work that is considered having weird vibes, dark & moody, and bright & airy. I have even mixed them all up in one photo shoot.
Dark & Moody
Bright & Airy
well, bright & airy for me. to some people, these photos might still be considered moody.
+ MAKE SURE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER'S WORK IS CONSISTENT
The three main places to check are their Facbeook pages, Instagram, & website. There is a possibilty a photographer's Instagram account will not look consistent if they share personal photos along with their professional photos.
+ FIGURE OUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S CONTACT INFORMATION
If they have a website, they will more than likely have a contact form for you to fill out. They may have an email on their Facebook page, in the bio section of Instagram, or somewhere on their website. If you email them, provide as much information as possible, such as: what type of session you want, how many people are involved, what types of products you are wanting, what you are expecting from your photo shoot, etc. If you are contacting a wedding photographer, let them know how many hours you need, where the wedding will be, the date & time of the wedding, how many people will be in the wedding, etc. This helps the photographer figure out if they are the right photographer for you. If they aren't, they may give you names of photographers who best suit your needs.
+ ALWAYS CONTACT A PHOTOGRAPHER & BOOK A SESSION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Most photographers are booked weeks or even months in advance. Booking in advance gives the photographer time to prepare for your photo shoot, especially if there is location scouting or fashion styling involved. Sometimes a photographer will even have a hair & make up artist available; So depending on the type of session you are booking, the hair & make up artist also need to be available as well.
Also, keep in mind: Unless you have put down a deposit, do not assume the photographer is showing up to the photo session because, the date is not yours. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people make that mistake.
+ AVOID SENDING A MILLION PINTEREST PHOTOS AS "IDEAS".
Unless your photographer asks you for examples of poses, ideas, etc., do not bombard them with Pinterest images. Pinterest is an amazing tool, but most photographers already have a style & cannot really imitate other photography styles. If your photographer does ask for examples, first check their website & see if anything jumps out. This will be so much more helpful than sharing other people's work.
+ DURING THE PHOTO SHOOT:
Have fun & trust your photographer's vision. Afterall, their vision is what you hired them for.
+ AFTER THE PHOTO SHOOT:
Give the photographer time to carefully edit your photos. If you aren't
sure how long this should take, look over your contract.
Do not edit the photos in any way. Do not put Instagram filters on them. Do not crop them. Do not run the photos through those "fun" apps to make them look all funky. This is considered rude. Photographers work very hard on those lovely pictures & seeing them re-edited is always heartbreaking.
Order the photos through your photographer! Your photographer has carefully chosen a professional printing lab that prints their work to look the best possible. If your photographer does not offer prints & products, ask for their recommendation!
Enjoy your beautiful photos & hire your photographer again!