We’ve all seen ‘em. Probably even read ‘em. Blog posts or articles entitled How to Choose a Photographer or Comparing Wedding Photographers. Even I have read one or two and just in case you haven’t, I have provided links to a couple in the text above.
Most of these articles are written from the clients prospective. That’s what we learn in Business school – write from “the other shoe.” However, I thought that maybe, just maybe, someone might like to hear it from inside the photographer’s shoe.
Reasons why comparing photographers is like comparing apples with oranges:
1.) We are all DIFFERENT. And I mean that in the broadest way imaginable. Just like our clients, we have different personalities, different perspectives, different creative processes, different preferences, different creative styles, different technical abilities, and different opinions on the best way to compose and expose a shot – you get the picture.
2.) We do DIFFERENT things. Some photographers like Photoshop, others don’t. Some photographers use Lightroom, others don’t. Some don’t even use a digital camera! No, my fine friends. There are still some photographers out there shooting their hearts out on film! Still others prefer offering clients DVDs/CDs/USB drives with their sessions, while others prefer to profit from selling prints. Some incur tons of overhead expenses by renting commercial buildings for studio use while others prefer to shoot in their home or in their clients’ homes. Some specialize in newborn portraiture, and others would rather take a portrait of the family pet. Again, you get the picture.
That’s pretty much it. So while the above mentioned articles can provide helpful tips for choosing a photographer that best suits your needs and/or budget, I have one more tip for you: go into your session with realistic expectations. If you have chosen a photographer that uses only film, don’t expect a lot of digital enhancements that will make your images look like something out of a fantasy movie. If fantasy images are your thing, choose a photographer that will provide them.
Ok. So I lied. I have one more tip: trust your photographer. If he/she suggests taking a photo in front of a brick wall covered in graffiti, chances are he/she has a particular vision for that image. You don’t have to like the idea, but wait until you see the finished product before you make the final judgment call.
Don’t be afraid to speak up, but be gentle. If you know what you want, then ask for it, but respect the photographer’s right to say no. For instance, I will refuse to hang a baby wrapped in a piece of fabric in the name of art. No matter how “safely” it’s done, there is no way to get that image without actually dangling the baby off the floor. There are a million and one things that can go wrong here. I refuse to be known as the photographer who paralyzed (or worse) an infant during a photo session.
So if you or someone you love is an aspiring professional stunt man and you want a picture in which you’re standing on the roof of a house with the rest of the family crowded together on the ground, holding a net, don’t be surprised if the photographer refuses your request.
Last, but not least, if you’re reading this article for “funzies” because you have your own DSLR and think that professional photography is dead, and that your pictures are just as good as a pro’s, you’re absolutely kidding yourself. You should check out this article: Why We Still Need Professional Photographers.
• A side note about the image used in this article: Normally, I prefer to take my own photos and shun using another’s work in my posts. However, at the time this article was written – and for sometime thereafter – I did not have any apples or oranges available. So…the image used in conjunction with this article is courtesy of Google image search results for “apples and oranges.”