Photographers are a dime a dozen. What should you look for when selecting one? Here are three things to consider.

Quality

Quality is the most important aspect in selecting a photographer for most people. The reason is simple: your photos – whatever they’re of – are important. They’re valuable to you and to your family. And they’ll be passed down through generations. So whether it’s a family photo hanging on your wall, or whether it’s the perfect wedding day – they have to look good.

What does it take to make great photos?

First, the photographer’s knowledge of photography is key. Knowledge of lighting, apertures, focusing, shutter speed, retouching and editing, posing – all critical. Without these, the most expensive camera in the world will still take a subpar photo.

With a knowledgeable photographer, the right equipment will make all the difference. I will always bring two cameras in case of equipment malfunction. And one of those cameras, thanks to an extremely generous friend, is a top-of-the-line device (a Sony A7Rii for any photographers out there). And my ever-growing collection of lenses and lighting equipment make the perfect match for such a camera.

Price

Nearly equally important as quality is price, for “the rest of us” who are not just rolling in extra money. But the average photographer costs between $200 and $500 per hour, according to a March 2017 article from EventBrite.

That’s ridiculous.

As someone who values his work yet values things like honesty and integrity, I can’t really say that many photographers’ work is worth $500 per hour or more. For an all-day event, that would be $4,000 – and when it comes to major events like weddings, some parties are prepared to shell out even more for the perfect photos.

But I know of photographers who will do a full-day wedding for $2,000, you might say.

And while it’s true that many photographers will offer to devote an entire day to your event for a lower price, it usually isn’t a good deal. That’s because they will hook you with a lower price like this to take the photos, but then mark up prints for you to order (and usually make you sign a minimum purchase contract – who needs that hassle?), or charge you hundreds of extra dollars to receive the image files to do with as you see fit.

So, do your research on pricing. Find a photographer who offers Straightforward Pricing without any tricks, minimum purchase requirements, or overpriced print prices.

Personality

So you’ve found a photographer whose work is fantastic and prices are honest. Do you know how he or she interacts with people?

You need a photographer who is customer-focused – they’re your photos, after all. And how willing will he or she be to answer your questions and help you with managing your photos once the session is over? As someone who has a background in technical support, I’m ready to help you with your images after the fact (and I’ll be friendly and encouraging, which is a customer service rarity these days).

You also need your photographer to be upbeat and positive – can they get your kids to smile? My wife, Maggie, is pretty great at that – and she joins me for most of my photo sessions. But I also love kids, and love to make them laugh, too.

Gilbert, Arizona photographer also serving Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Chandler

If you’re still on the hunt for a photographer who fits the bill and is knowledgeable, honest, personable, and has the right equipment and pricing, contact me now to book your portrait session or event!