What to look for in hiring a photographer | League City Texas Photographer

April 14, 2014  •  Leave a Comment


What to look for in hiring a photographer.

So you want to hire a photographer. But you have no idea where to start or what to even ask. There are literally hundreds of photographers in my area, and out of those hundreds there are dozens that specialize in child photography. How do you choose? What qualities do you look for? 

Well I am here to try and answer some of those questions for you. I have literally been on both sides of the coin. I have searched for photographers for me personally and I am a photographer, and I get to listen what is important to a client. 

These opinions are solely my own, based on my experience. ;-)

Finding a photographer:

Google is a great place, but asking friends who they have used is even better! The reason I say this is because Google or really any search engine bases your website on how you rank. And the better metadata you have or original content you create means your website ranks higher. So your top searches may not be your best photographers, just your best metadata writers and original blog posters. 

Facebook is a GREAT social media tool, but you should never base hiring a photographer on how many "likes" they have. Seriously. Likes can be traded and given based on contests and "businesses helping others".

This is not something I like to admit but I have participated in some "likes" trading  myself, there is something about "seeing" a big number of likes on my facebook page, it's a psychological thing. Larger numbers makes me feel more loved. Yes, I have a problem...I am dealing with it.

I know a ton of photographers who have under 500 likes and they are FANTASTIC in their trade. I would hire them in a heart beat. That said, I follow a few photographers who have thousands of "likes" and are eh. 

So ask your friends. Multiple friends. Go in their houses, look at their family photos, ask how their experience was and you just narrowed down the field. 


I have a few I like, now what?

Now that you have a few good, well respected photographers picked out. GO LOOK AT THEIR WEBSITE. This is a HUGE must!!! Look NOT only at their work from last week, but look at last months. Do you like their style? Are they consistent? Did you stop and stare in awe? If the answer is no..to any of these...move on. If you can answer yes, then let's look a bit further and see if you can answer these questions.

Do they own a website? Not a free blogger website, but an actual website? This is important because having a Facebook or Instagram account, does not make a business owner. Taking the time to open your "storefront" a.k.a. website means that photographer (or insert any type of trade here) is going to be serious. They are taking the time to grow their business, they are taking the time to showcase their work. If they are willing to go through the pain of starting up a website (and yes, it is a PAIN to start up) that person will be willing to go the extra mile for you. I would not have spent hundreds of dollars on my site, if I was going to diddle-daddle my way through a shoot. Not gonna happen.

Do they have the wording "licensed" anywhere on their website? If not, walk away. If they are not licensed or paying taxes on their business, they are not a legal business, meaning they are not paying Uncle Sam his portion and they are not adhering to city/state laws when it comes owning a business. (This is a pet peeve of mine. Business owners should be licensed and pay their taxes on their business. They should have a DBA or an LLC to be running a legal business. Stepping off my soapbox now. )

 Do they showcase everything including wildlife, flora, children, babies, cars, pets, seniors, homecoming, grandparents, their kids artwork? If so, think real hard if that's what you want representing you, your family or your children. I personally stay away from photographer's who post a lot of wildlife/floral/fauna type stuff if I am looking for a portrait photographer. But, thats me. I like those who specialize in a certain area, because personally, it shows that they have a love for one thing, and they are not spreading that love around to everything under the sun. I am not saying that if you are looking for a children's photographer, that they should ONLY photograph children. I am saying if there are photographs of children next to photographs of landscapes. I am turned off. 


I found one I like!! What's the first step?

Since we have discussed that you should be looking at photographers who have a website, there should be a "Contact Me" button/link on their website. Go ahead and contact them that way. I get most of my communication via my website, but I do get the occasional FB private message as well. I am ok with either way.

You and your photographer will talk about what you are wanting to capture, he/she may want to sit down with you and discuss locations or props or whatever that photographer's thing is. He or she will want to talk about dates and of course payment. Most photographer's have a session fee, this usually pays for time and talent, sometimes this fee is used to hold the date and sometimes that fee can be carried over to actual print buying. All photographers have their own way of working out their fee. 

Second, you will look at your package options. There are many ways you can go from here. I personally offer 5 packages with my digital package being my most expensive. I will explain why:

I am not a shoot & burn photographer, but I use to be when I was portfolio building, so I understand the ease of burning a disc, but I also understand that when I do that, that disc will sit in your desk drawer and do nothing. The hard work I did and you did will be wasted. You say, you will print, and if by small chance you actually do print something from your disc, I can promise you that your print will not look like what you saw on my computer screen. I say this because, you will go to Walgreens, Walmart or some other kiosk and print, that is all good and great except that their printers are not set to mine, so your print colors will look like crap. Harsh reality but true. If a photographer is offering ONLY a disc, they are a shoot and burn and they are wanting to make a quick buck or they may be portfolio building. Personally, I would walk away. My goal is to give you something your will cherish so much it will be hung in your office or your living room with pride not sit in a desk drawer or worse yet, be uploaded to Facebook where it will be seen for about 15 mins, because that is how long a Facebook post actually last on someones wall. Yes, I understand that I am being hypocritical here, but I am trying to save you time and money in the long run. Take my experience and run with it.

Third, sign your contract. This is important for me and for you. It protects the both of us. Read it. Sign it. You will thank me later.

Now, that you have made a great educated decision and you have done all the necessary paperwork and you have set your date and paid your fees. 

Enjoy your session, I can promise you that it will be worth the extra time you put in and the money you put towards it.





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