11 Feb 2016
A long exposure image capturing movement of a bustling hot tub party on a roof top in Birmingham at sunset.

Finding the right photographer

In recent years, cameras have become more affordable, simpler to use, and picture quality has improved dramatically. So why do you need the services of a professional photographer? Frankly, to send a photo to your ‘friends’ on social media, you don’t.
On the other hand if you are a commercial organisation and need to impress clients, or an individual who needs to record a special occasion for posterity, then you really do need the services of a professional.

So what makes a good professional photographer? Firstly, professional photographers will be using cameras costing perhaps 50 times the price of a ‘high street’ camera or iPhone. The difference in picture quality is dramatic. Anybody with enough money can buy an expensive camera. More importantly, the professional, if they are any good, will have ‘an eye’ for a good photo – the composition, lighting, capturing the moment… Let’s face it, the professional may be shooting a thousand photos a week, and has to earn a living, so they aught to know what they’re doing.

Professional photographers tend to specialise. For example in: landscape, consumer products, fashion, food, portraiture, event photography… The starting point for you, the client, is to narrow the choice by looking for photographers who specialise in your particular need.

The search

The best professional photographers may not be at the top of the search engine list. Search engines count key words, and are not influenced by the quality or otherwise of the photographer’s portfolio. Don’t just look at portfolios on the first page of search results, look at several pages.

Portfolio appraisal

Professional photographers shoot thousands of pictures. He or she will only include the very best in their portfolio. You – the client, will have an idea of how you want your product to be portrayed, or if it’s an event, the sort of impression you want the photos to give. You should be able to tell from the portfolio if the photographer has done similar work. Look at the overall impact of the subject matter, lighting, and composition… Are you looking for one or two product photos, or a series of photos to convey a corporate image or tell a story?

Meet the photographer

The question is: Can you work productively with the photographer? What does he or she have to offer you? You need to talk to the photographer face to face. You will be looking for good communication and a useful interchange of ideas.  The photographer will/should be on their best behaviour, but can they deliver? Personal recommendation is ideal, otherwise look on their website for testimonials and phone one or two people, just to check! You need to discuss fees. Make sure you both have a clear understanding (required in writing) regarding the work requirement, times scales, copyright etc. And when the photographer’s work is done, don’t forget to pay them!

Both sides of the fence

I am a professional photographer and also responsible for hiring photographers for specific projects. In my experience and that of fellow professionals, this systematic approach goes a long way to make clients and their photographers happy – and that’s what we aim for.

If you have any queries or questions regarding this article, or you or your business is looking for a professional photographer please get in touch via the link below.

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Please fill out the form on this page and I will be happy to help.


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