It can be difficult choosing your ideal photographer. Pricing can vary considerably and to be honest quality can too. Photographers have their own style and if you are uncertain about what suits you best it can be hard to know where to start.
Choosing a Photographer can be Like Choosing a Restaurant
In some ways choosing a photographer is similar to choosing a restaurant. There are cheap and cheerful restaurants, a wider range of mid priced restaurants and then those that cater for the higher end of the market. If you have not eaten at a particular restaurant before you don't know what the quality of food is like or even if it will suit your own personal taste.
Sometimes you can find a cheaper restaurant that offers great value for money, but the majority will leave you with a "you get what you pay for" feeling. As a rule, if you pay more you will get better, more creative food and usually better service. Occasionally though you will feel let down and find it difficult to see any difference between a more expensive restaurant and a cheaper one.
At the top end of the market you will usually find a great all round experience. The food tastes fantastic, service is top drawer and the general ambiance of the restaurant makes the whole experience a delight. But there is always the chance the restaurant will not measure up to your expectations and you will be left feeling it was not money well spent.
Cheap and Cheerful Photographers
Choosing a photographer can be very similar to that. If your budget is low there are plenty of "cheap and cheerful" photographers to choose from. Quality is definitely harder to find, although if you have the luxury of time to search you may find someone offering better quality than you might expect. You might also just strike lucky.
The more you pay the greater the chance you have of finding true quality. There are a great number of talented photographers around. But be prepared to take enough time to look around to find your ideal match. Photography style can vary considerably. Personal taste plays a big part, so keep looking if you haven't found what you are looking for.
Why Experience Counts
Experience counts. This is not just for photo quality, but handling the pressure that goes with the job. Commercial photography jobs, weddings and portrait sittings usually all have some sort of time constraints. The last thing you want is an inexperienced, flustered photographer on your hands. Going cheap can cost you a whole lot more that you might expect.
Why Does Good Photography Cost What it Does?
One of the questions I get from someone looking for a photographer is "How come it costs so much? I only wanted him / her for a couple of hours". The reason why the price may appear high is because you are not really paying for those two hours. In the same way you are not paying for the 30 minutes it took the chef and his team to prepare and cook your meal that night. Photography at its best is an art. You are paying for the skill and expertise the photographer has built up over a number of years.
Depending on your requirements there may be a surprising amount of time spent in preparation and after the photographs have been taken. For example if you are hiring a wedding photographer then they may well take time before the wedding to visit your locations. This gives them an opportunity to work out the best places to take photographs. Without doing this you are unlikely to get the best results and your photographer may also disrupt the wedding timetable by searching for the best spots on your big day. If your wedding is at a location the photographer has worked at before, you are paying part of the price for that experience.
What Happens After the Pictures Have Been Taken
Countless hours can be spent after the event perfecting your photographs with image enhancement software such as Photoshop. Even if you leave aside enhancing photographs there are plenty of other small tasks to be done. If the photographer is dealing with a large number of photos it can take a fair amount of time just to download them from memory cards and burn them to CDs for storage.
Is There a Real Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Photographers?
Possibly the most important question I get asked is "Is there really much difference between a cheap photographer and a much more expensive one?". This is a difficult question to answer, because photography is such a subjective subject. You may not like what I like and vice versa. You may even find a friend recommends you a photographer they think is brilliant, but you think their photographs are poor.
It is fair to say that in general you get what you pay for. But be warned. There are photographers that charge a lot for very little and have low levels of skill.
How Important is Photography to You?
In many ways the quality of photography you end up with will depend on how important photography is to you. Perhaps you want wedding photos that when you look at them recall vivid memories of a great day. Or you would like to capture the magic of your young family. Or maybe you want photographs that will play a decisive role in selling your products. If this is the case then you will pay more than someone who just wants a record of their day, or some shots of the kids before they get too big, or something to stick on the website so people can see what you sell. In most instances paying more means better quality.
Time Spent Meeting Photographers is Time Well Spent
When you select a photographer you have one big advantage over choosing a restaurant. You can meet the photographer beforehand and also get to see as many samples of their work as you want to.
The best thing you can do when selecting a photographer is to meet more than one. Sure if you have a small job that needs doing then a quick check on their website may well be enough. In those cases your risk is fairly small. For anything bigger take the time to shop around. Check out websites first. Make your shortlist and then meet at least two or three photographers.
In many cases you can even try the photographer out on a smaller piece of work before you commit for a special occasion or some mission critical business photographs.
Personality Makes a Difference Too
When you meet a photographer it is not only about the quality of their work. It is also about getting to know them. You don't want a photographer who is too timid to organise people in order to get the best shots. Also you don't want a photographer who is going to boss everyone around and make people feel uncomfortable.
Some Tips About Equipment
Check out the equipment they use too. The big question is do they have spares. A cheap photographer may not have invested in a back up camera, but without one you may not have any photos at all. I received a complaint recently from someone who had been let down at the last minute. They had received a text message on the afternoon before a party. The photographer said they could not attend, because they couldn't get their camera to work. It was too late to arrange an alternative.
This total lack of professionalism is very unlikely to happen away from the cheaper end of the market, but ask the question anyway. If you are on a tight budget you should still ask the question. It is too big a gamble to book a photographer who only has one camera and there is also no need to do it.
Photographer.co.uk and Quality
I care a lot about quality and service. In 2012 I received two complaints about photographers. One was for poor quality photographs. The other was about poor service. Both photographers are no longer permitted to advertise on the site. If you are dissatisfied with any of the photographers advertising please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This helps to keep quality high.
How to Find Your Photographer
There are two ways to find your photographer on Photographers.co.uk
- 1. You can ask me to help by arranging quotes for you
- 2. You can view the directory to create your shortlist
If you would like to receive quotes please click on one of the pictures below:
To use the directory please select your area and the type of photographer you are looking for here:
Do You Have Further Questions?
If after reading this article you have some questions about finding a photographer please email me at: email@example.com.