How to find the right photographer for yourself or for your family, by award-winning portrait photographer, Pamira Bezmen, New Jersey
This is one of the most popular questions when it's time to hire a professional photographer. Whether you need amazing photos for personal branding, sexy ones to wow your man, or heart-warming ones to celebrate the birth of your brand new baby, you must first figure out who will be the right photographer for your project. Just like buying furniture or a lovely piece of jewelry, you will have alternatives, and sometimes choosing can be hard.
I want to help simplify the process for you and give tips about what to look for, and how to deal with the emotional side of this decision. I'll tell you what most photographers won't tell you and here is your step-by-step check list.
Finding Your Photographer
1. Define your project.
Are you looking to photograph yourself, your whole family, newborn baby, maternity, boudoir, pets, business or something else? Figure out what is the main focus of your project, and seek someone who has exactly that in their portfolio.
2. Search within your geography.
Do an internet search with keywords like "Newborn photographer, New Jersey", "best photographers in Verona", "award winning photographer, Essex Fells, New Jersey", "maternity portraits, New Jersey". The more focused your keywords, the more focused will be your results. If your search does not return sufficient relevant finds, then you can use more general terms and expand your search, like "New Jersey Photographer", "Essex County photographers", "Photographers Morris County".
3. Use your network.
Ask friends and family. Photography is a highly personal and private experience. If your best friend had a great experience with someone, you are likely to have a similar experience with the same photographer. If a good friend has a gorgeous family photo on her Facebook page, ask her who photographed them.
4. Use internet resources.
Make sure you visit the business web sites and Facebook pages of the photographers on your short list. Look at their portfolios and galleries. Read about them. See if you feel a connection with their style and the photographer. Chances are, one of them will speak to your heart.
5. Get personal.
Call the top 2-3 photographers on your list and speak with them live. Ask them questions. Feel out the way they treat you on the phone. Are they confident with their answers and do they make you feel comfortable?
If you feel a click, you have a match. If not, keep on looking.
Technical Details - What to Look for
Ask questions to your prospective photographers on the phone to gauge where they are with regards to each of the items below. Look at their web sites and decide if their skill level meets your expectations.
With many DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras available for sale to the general public and the general appeal of photography, I completely understand that many people can be drawn to photography. However, a passion for photography and the ability to purchase an expensive camera don't equate to experience and know-how. Look for someone who has the experience, not for someone who will experiment with you.
When you view the portfolio of your prospective photographers, be critical, and expect to be wowed. If you see images in their galleries and feel like "I want that for myself", that is great. If the images are so-so, and you feel not so impressed, keep on shopping.
A true professional must be able to produce great images, not by luck, but by choice, over and over again, for every single client. Sharpness, lighting, mood, color harmony, framing, posing, overall feel and composition must all come together. If a photographer's portfolio has some good images and some amateur looking ones, they may not yet be at the professional level you need.
A professional must be able to create great results in various situations, not only indoors or in nature, or only with daylight. Any age, any skin color, any location should be a piece of cake for a pro.
Look for clarity, honesty, and information. A professional must have a proper business sense and be able to provide clear and straight forward answers and explanations to all of your questions. There should be no hidden facts or surprises.
Read what others have said about the photographer. People usually provide feedback passionately when they have a great experience or a terrible experience. If the reviews are passionately positive, it's for a reason.
(Not to brag, but we are pretty proud of our client feedback record. Time after time, we get raving reviews from all our clients, and we are in heaven with our 5-star rating! I want to take a pause to thank all our clients for loving on us constantly! Thank you!)
Products and Services.
Ask your photographers what they can do for you. What products do they offer? What services do they offer? Ask them to walk you through the whole process from the shoot until the delivery of products. This conversation will help you gauge the level of their professionalism and expertise, as well as what level of service you can expect if you hire them. Do they provide wardrobe, styling consultation, hair and make-up services? Do they make albums or canvas gallery wraps? Identify things that are important for you and see if they have it.
Look for a photographer who is a member of a reputable organization like PPA, Professional Photographers of America. This ensures that you are dealing with a professional who is aware of and committed to delivering the industry standards of excellence and has the backing of a nationwide network.
Photography is an investment. It is a highly technical skill that requires years of education and training, a passion for the arts, a heart to capture the best of you, and the courage to collect very expensive equipment and tools to do this with. Accordingly, the best photographers will not be cheap. When choosing your photographer, go with quality and the right photographer, and not the price of an 8x10" print. Chances are, the photographer who offers you a session and everything on a CD for $250 has not been in business very long and also will not be in business much longer - at least not at that price level.
If someone is trying to lure you in with cheap prices, it's probably because they can't compete on quality, product or service. And there may be hidden fees.
For an album that will warm your heart for the next 50 years, or for a canvas wrap that will hang on the wall for the next 3 generations, for the portraits that will represent you and your business all over the internet, make sure you choose a photographer who can deliver.
Pamira Bezmen Photography is an award-winning, full service portrait studio, located in Essex County, New Jersey, servicing the Tri-State area. Pamira's specialty is creating warm and romantic portraits that capture the love in your family and bring out the beauty of each subject. She is a member of PPA (Professional Photographers of America), and has been awarded The Seal of Approval and Merit degrees at district and international photographic competitions consistently since 2014. Pamira photographs maternity, newborn, family, glamour, and professional portraiture for all ages and genders. In order to see some of her work, you can visit her web site. In order to inquire about a photo shoot, you can send her an e-mail.