This article was written by Marianne Drenthe of Marmalade Photography http://www.marmaladephotography.com and can be found at the Professional Child Photography site at http://www.professionalchildphotographer.com
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR POTENTIAL PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER:
We took the time to create this q&a for you to use when interviewing potential photographers. Too many times clients get caught up in the financial aspects of a purchase such as photography when often the cheapest options are the lesser quality options, making the choices confusing. Here are some questions that will help get you the best photographer for your family (not necessarily the cheapest).
- How long have you been in business? A good indicator, the more business experience a photographer has the less likelihood that photographer is a hobbyist.
- Do you specialize in any one type of photography? Photographers often specialize in one genre vs. another. For example a photographer who specializes in newborn photography is not a good candidate to do group photography of a family of 20 unless they have had experience doing so.
- Do you have many repeat clients? A great litmus test of quality of not only photography but of customer service as well.
- Are there policies for rescheduling a session? A photographer with their fair share of experience will have a policy set in place for almost any type of situation, rescheduling being one of the primary circumstances that necessitate a policy. A photographer with policies isn’t a turn off, in fact this photographer has seen “it all” and is prepared and well thought out for almost any client situation.
- Have you had any experience with (name your specific concern)? If the subject being photographed is a special needs child or if you have any other concern(s) regarding your child or family it is good to be aware if your photographer is adept at handling this sort of situation. Do not rule out a photographer simply based on this question, many times the photographer who is experienced will be able to deal with any situation you hand them with adequate notice (the hallmark of a true pro!)
- Not so much a question but a simple gut feeling: personality and rapport matters. A photographer’s main job is to capture emotions and moments, if your photographer doesn’t mesh well with you on the phone chances are you and your family will not mesh well with that photographer at the session and your images will look it.
If your photographer seems “off”, hesitates to answer any of these questions or has a personality that doesn’t seem to mesh well with yours: these are red flags. Even if that photographer is cut throat cheap no amount of money is worth throwing at an opportunity to capture memories that will disappoint. We have but one opportunity to capture THIS moment and there is nothing as disappointing as a horrible photography experience.
THINGS YOU SHOULD LET YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER KNOW WHEN BOOKING A SESSION:
- If anyone has a disability that could affect interaction with the photographer/camera: doing so allows your photographer to have a leg up and research strategies for interacting with the subject pre-session and also allows you to open up a conversation with the photographer about potential issues when photographing this subject.
- Ages of subjects being photographed (if under 18). A good professional photographer will ask you this information
- Names of subjects (again a good pro photographer will ask you themselves)
- Any times when the littlest of subjects will be getting cranky (getting hungry or needing a nap): it’s in everyone’s best interest is to avoid those times
- Can you bring a snack? IF so please make sure the snacks you bring aren’t sticky, gooey or messy (will melt, will discolor skin).
- Any scheduling conflicts (husband has to return to work after 12 noon…) so the photographer can work around those time constraints