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Tips to Select the Right Portrait Photographer for You

"Do I have to do everything myself?"

What does a good portrait photographer do (besides take great pictures)?

  •  They guide you through the entire process, from planning to final image selection

  •  They make sure all the little details come together smoothly

  • They assist with location, wardrobe, props, and more

  • They ask questions about you, to make sure your personality shines through 

  • They help you select your images

  • They offer samples of their products so you know what you’re ordering

When everyone has a camera, how - and why - should you choose a professional portrait photographer?

  • Ask to see their work - specifically portraits - and make sure you like their style and aesthetic

  • Visit the photographer’s social media and website 

  • Like many other professions, photographers usually specialize. A sports or event photographer might not have the skillset that a portrait photographer has (and vice versa)

  • All the little details come together with the right professional photographer, from posing to locations to backgrounds to editing

  • When your friends and family share portraits you like, ask for the photographer’s contact information

Edited images - what does that really mean, and how much editing is right?

  • Edit can mean a lot of things to different people:

    • The photographer applies a preset making the same changes to every photo

    • The photographer edits each image individually for color, tone, clarity, and more

    • The photographer does retouching, such as removing blemishes, fixing flyaway hair, and more

    •  The photographer can do advanced edits such as combining two or more photos into one final image where everyone is smiling and has their eyes open at the same time (even if that didn’t happen during the session)

  •  Some photographers can overdo editing, removing all wrinkles and traces of humanity - make sure you see examples of how a photographer edits their portraits

  • Ask your photographer what their editing includes

  • Ask if they charge an additional fee for some edits

  • Find out how long they expect it to take before you can see your photos

Should you meet your photographer before the session?

  • Email and messages are good, but phone / video-chat / in person is better

  • Do they communicate well and answer your question

  • Are they prompt to reply? You might not get an immediate response if you ask a question Saturday night at 10pm, but it shouldn’t take days - or weeks - to get a reply

  • Do they seem knowledgable about portrait photography? You want to feel comfortable and understood to get the best results from your session

How much does a portrait session cost?

  • Prices can run a wide range 

  • It can be tempting to go with the lowest price, but low prices can sometimes indicate lack of experience or skill level

  • Make sure the fee includes individual time to consult about the session and plan your photo shoot

  • When you pay for the session, that also includes consultation time, editing time, and more

  • Some photographers send a digital gallery, others meet in person to guide you in reviewing and selecting your finished products

  • Like all small businesses, there are many expenses - including camera and editing equipment - which should be updated and reliable

  • Find out what the session fee includes. Are any digitals or prints included in the price? Is editing and retouching included?

  • Make sure you understand any deposits required and cancellation fees

Let's Work Together

You should feel comfortable, and confident, in your choice of photographer. My goal is to make sure that everyone in front of my camera feels relaxed and has fun. Photography is an adventure we'll go on together, and when it comes time for your photo shoot, I'll be your guide through every step of it, so there's no stress or confusion. Let's work together!

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