Great Photographer

How to Choose a Great Photographer

Whenever you have a special occasion or company event, you want to have amazing photographs to help you preserve the memory of your amazing experience. However, choosing a great photographer can be a daunting experience. What qualities are you looking for in a photographer? How do you choose which one to capture your special day? Does the photographer have the skills and equipment that you need?
It’s not a quick or easy task for anyone, which is why I’ve decided to write this blog so that I can help you choose the right photographer for you. Based on my experience working as a professional photographer since 2015, I’ve worked with clients from different industries and I’ve collected a valuable amount of experience that my clients can benefit from. My client portfolio includes well-known names such as Amsterdam KMPG, Arla, Ferrari, and Sir Jackpot, to name a few, and I know that my experience and knowledge can help guide you towards choosing the right photographer for you.

six qualities

There are six qualities that you need to look for in a professional photographer.

1. Technical Experience

Let’s face it: in today’s world, anyone with enough money can buy high-end photography equipment. However, even if someone has the best camera, lens, and lighting equipment in the world, it doesn’t amount to anything if that person doesn’t know how to use it!
I’ve seen and worked with enough amateur photographers in my time to know that merely having the equipment isn’t enough; it’s knowing how and when to use the equipment that will separate the true professionals from the wannabe photographers with money.
There are only two ways to become a professional photographer: experience and the willingness to invest time and money to learn how to use photography equipment in a professional setting.

Let me tell you a story: I once had to work with a photographer (let’s call him Jim) who clearly had no idea how to use his lighting equipment properly. To make matters worse, we were shooting an evening event! I tried to give my input and help because I felt sorry for the client who spent all that money to hire professional photographers, but I guess Jim’s pride wouldn’t let him accept my help.
The end result? The client ended up with some okay pictures and a whole bunch of pictures where the lighting was shot. Shadows were everywhere, the focus was all over the place, and you couldn’t even really see the faces of the people in the images! Afterward, I had to take the client aside and offer a second session at half the price just to make up for that horrible experience.

Don’t even get me started on the post-production editing portion of that job. Every photographer uses post-production to highlight and finetune their photos but if the base photos are bad, you’ve basically got nothing to work with. For that particular occasion, I tried my best to work with the picture in post-production and I was able to get an acceptable batch of photos to give to the client. However, it’s really not something I was proud of, to tell you the truth.
At the end of the day, high-end photography equipment are great tools to have, but they need to be in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing in order to get your money’s worth.

2. Creativity and Resourcefulness

Photoshoots are demanding, stressful, and dynamic affairs. The perfect photo can only be captured by someone who has both the creativity to find them and the resourcefulness to capture them at exactly the right time and place. It takes both these attributes in equal measure in order to capture those images, and they can make the difference between a good photo and a great photo.
Based on my experience, there are three things that will determine whether your photographer has creativity and resourcefulness: experience, knowledge, and passion! Does your photographer have enough experience to capture these fleeting moments on camera? Does your photographer have enough knowledge to use their equipment in the right way during these moments? Finally, does your photographer have enough passion in their craft to push the boundaries and produce photos that really stand out?
One good way to gauge a potential photographer’s creativity and resourcefulness is to ask to see their portfolio. Remember, a photograph is supposed to inspire emotions. Do these photos make you feel the emotions that the photographer wanted to capture? Do they transport you, even for a moment, to the event?

3. Time Management

Ask any photographer what they find difficult with any photoshoot and they’ll probably say one thing: time management. There are so many things to do and worry about in any professional shoot, and only so much time! From pre-shooting to post-production, there’s always a whole laundry list of tasks running through a photographer’s mind that they need to do. Not to mention, they’re working on a deadline!
I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen professional photographers cram their shoots because they were unable to manage their time properly. I was even guilty of this myself during my earlier years! It took me quite some time to learn how to manage my time properly.
A great professional photographer not only knows how to use time efficiently; they also know what to do in case something goes wrong. And believe me, something almost always does! People show up late, an event doesn’t start on time, and equipment can malfunction. All of these things can eat up time and cut into a set schedule.

4. Reliability

When you hire a photographer for a special event, you’re basically entrusting this person with a huge responsibility to memorialize your emotional day. Whether it’s a wedding, a company event, or a birthday, you’re handing over the reins for something very important to you. Thus, you want to make sure that your photographer will see you through.
Of course, any photographer will make a million promises in order to secure a job but that’s no guarantee that they’ll give you 100%. If you want to get an idea of how a photographer will handle your particular job, you can ask for referrals. Try talking to past clients to get an idea of how the photographer acted on these last jobs. Were they on time? Did they have the proper equipment and ample manpower? How did they handle any unexpected problems that came along? Were they happy and satisfied with the work produced?
The answers to these questions will give you an idea of how the photographer will handle your contract.

5. Sociability

For any event, it’s reasonable to want a photographer who is good at dealing with people, especially if the event is becoming stressful and hectic for them. Remember, the photographer is here to do a job but the people are there to enjoy themselves! For many of your guests and attendees, they’re not there for a photoshoot so they won’t want to stand around and look pretty. They want to mingle, have fun, and enjoy themselves, and these situations don’t always match up with a photographer’s goal to get good images.

photographer

Even if the photographer is stressed and frustrated, it’s critical that they know how to handle the situation and the people around them in the nicest way possible. A great photographer will know how to talk to people and work with them or around them. That way, the photographer will still be able to get the photos that they need without intruding into the event!

skills

As with reliability, the real test of a photographer’s people skills will come on the day itself. It will already be too late to book another photographer by then so you need to find out as early as possible whether they have the temperament and patience for an event like yours.

referrals

Aside from referrals, you can also ask them questions about possible frustrating scenarios that they are likely to run into your event. What will they do if some guests become too boisterous and rowdy for a good picture? What happens if children become too tired and grumpy to stand still? These questions might seem nitpicky, but they’re good possibilities of what might happen during an event and you want a photographer who can handle these situations in a calm and professional manner.

6. Professional Appearance

Whenever I go to any event, I make sure that I blend in as much as possible and this means dressing up just like any guest would. If it’s a formal event, I try to come in a tux, while an outdoor party calls for something casual but smart. I found that dressing up just like the guests makes them feel at ease with me walking around and they act more casual, which makes for the best pictures! Nothing is forced and guests can truly enjoy themselves.
Ask your photographer what they plan to wear to your event. For me, the right answer would be another question: “What do you want me to wear?” When your photographer asks this question, it means that they care about your event enough to want to fit in!

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