Here are the steps you should take when choosing a photographer:
1. Search for prospects online and ask friends for referrals.
Doing a simple Google search is usually a reliable way to look for a photographer, but you can also try asking people in your circle if they know of any photographers you can hire—preferably someone they have previously worked with and would highly recommend.
You can also use a helpful tool by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) called Find-a-Photographer. It allows you to search the PPA’s database of over 28,000 photographers (by location or by name)—all of whom are subject to the PPA’s standards of excellence in photography.
2. Do initial interviews.
Find out everything you need to know about your prospective photographers by asking them questions.
What questions should you ask photographers before hiring one?
Generally, you want to ask questions that will help you determine if the photographer meets your criteria. Here are the main questions you need to ask:
What is your level of experience?
Do you have any professional certifications?
Are you properly insured?
What is your general photography style?
What services are included in your packages?
What kind of equipment do you use?
Will there be a contract?
3. Review portfolios or samples.
Apart from being insured and highly experienced, two things are non-negotiable when hiring professional photographers: the quality of their work and their service. After doing the initial interviews, take the time to check reviews and testimonials about them. If possible, go the extra mile and look them up on social media (or online review sites like Yelp) to see what people are saying about each photographer. You want to ensure that you’ll have a good experience with the photographer you choose, so find out what past clients’ experiences were like.
Also, make sure to review their portfolios or samples to see whose work you like best. Check websites, online portfolios, and any printed samples they may have, as some photographers also offer photo album printing for certain events such as weddings.
4.Discuss the specifics.
Assuming that you have your top picks out of the bunch, it’s time to get down to the essentials. To help you decide, get to know more about each photographer’s services. Now, these questions will vary depending on the event you’re booking your photographer for and the kind of services you expect to get. For example, if you’re hiring a wedding photographer and you want one who offers drone services, make sure to ask questions like, “How many people do you have on your team to operate the drone?” or “Do you adhere to FAA rules and regulations?”
Here are some questions you should always ask before choosing a photographer to book:
How many photographers are on your team? Do you have a backup photographer?
How many hours of coverage will we get?
Is overtime an option (in case your event runs late) and if so, how much do you charge per hour?
How many other events do you have on the day of my event?
What happens if you get sick?
Will you be editing all the photos or just the photos we approve of?
What’s the delivery timeline?
What will you wear to the event?
5. Get to know the photographer.
Once you’ve narrowed the list down to your final pick, take the time to get to know your photographer before signing the dotted line. You can invite him out for coffee to discuss your event, and maybe to get to know more about your prospective photographer’s background in photography.
It’s important that you feel comfortable with the photographer you choose, so taking the extra step to get to know this person is always a good idea.