At first this might seem a little bias, as I have just come from shooting my first season of weddings with Black Robin Photography but my fiance and I have been on the other side of the lens a few times before, so after getting a maternity photo shoot recently with Ruth Gilmour Photographer I thought about some tips that might help some of you picking a photographer. Which ever style/type of photography you are after whether its for a wedding, maternity shoot, family portraits, commercial business or product work the choice of who takes the photos is really important. Photography often comes off as an over-rated industry but nothing quite compares to quality, high resolution pictures to look back on.
Someone you 'Click' with:
- Punny huh? But really for photos of yourself (or others) you need everyone to be as comfortable and relaxed as they can be. You need to be able to understand, laugh/joke and trust the photographer and their direction. Your photos will look more 'natural' and the fact a photographer was there with you becomes less obvious. The whole process can be a little scary if you haven't had professional pictures taken of you before so just another reason why you want a photographer that understands and can work with you on this.
Look at a recent portfolio or have a good Facebook stalk:
- Websites are great but it often isn't the first thing a photographer updates with new images so asking them for their current portfolio or a link to some of their recent work is a great way to see their current style and direction. Another great way to see the best of their current work is through Facebook. So have a little stalk and see their most recent posts. Photographers generally stick to a 'style' (eg. rustic or natural feel, loads of colour/contrast or less, lots of post production editing or only a few touch ups, lots of posing or candid images) so unless you really specify you want something different you will pretty much get something that is on par with their current work.
Dont focus on the Facebook likes:
-Facebook is a tricky website for people who run business pages through them. Although it sounds like a good way to market a business for free in reality its not quite like that. Popping up in your news feed often costs money for a business as they have to "promote" = pay to make a post show up, even if you like that page! So if a really great photo taken by a photographer only has say 5 likes it doesn't mean the photo isn't any good, it just means that Facebook only chose to show it to about 5 people. Along with this is the total number of page likes a business has. There are plenty of ways businesses can gain likes (one being buying them) but this isn't always a true reflection of their fan base so most photographers choose not to focus on this aspect.
You get what you pay for:
-Like most things in life! Cheep doesn't always mean better. A lot of the time when purchasing professional photography, budget is what drives people in their choices. Rather than just finding a photographer that you can afford try find one that you like then asking them about price and see what they can do for you. Most photographers are prepared to work around budgets if you are open with them about it. This may mean a 45 minute shoot instead of an hour or 10 photos instead of 20 but the end result will be something you are happier with. Its an industry where the word "free" is too good to be true so be wary about scammers or ask about what you will end up paying for.
Gear used doesn't always reflect the images they can capture:
- Amazing photos don't have to be taken on the latest or most expensive camera. Pieces like lenses last a really long time and variations between older and newer models aren't huge so if something looks a little old school it doesn't mean its not very good, it just means its a well loved and trusted piece of equipment. Some of the best photographers still use film cameras for this reason!
Processing takes a while:
-I know it sucks super bad waiting for photos!! But taking the photos is usually only half of the job for a photographer so keep in mind that post production can take a while. This is the time where an average image can be transformed into perfection so let that magic take place! Editing is time consuming and can involve a photo being run through multiple editing programs but trust that your photographer is just trying to give you the best quality versions of the pictures they can. It is an art form after all & you cant rush perfection!
I really hope this helps a few people when making this choice. Photos are so important and can sometimes be the only way you can reflect on a certain time in life. In celebration of picking the right photographer here are a couple more images taken by Ruth Gilmour Photographer to remember the special time being pregnant with our first child. She was nothing short of amazing and ticked all these boxes and so many more! 10/10 would highly recommend!