Choosing a Photographer: Part III

Part III of a Three Part Series

<– Read Part II Here

Previously, I discussed the importance of choosing a photographer based on the photographer’s style. This time, I want to talk about two other factors: presentation and price. I think these two factors are less important than the previously discussed personality and style, but they certainly can’t be overlooked.

Presentation

Presentation is the way a photographer shows his or her work to potential clients. This can include everything from prints and sample albums to brochures, but the most common method is the photographer’s website. I don’t expect the average couple to be choosing a photographer based on their ability to design a website, but I do want to make couples aware of the following red flags that should make you wary:

  • Generic domain names: Domains like weebly.com/PHOTOGRAPHERS_NAME, are generally free websites used by photographers who are just starting out, or who do not have the income to pay the $10 per month to host their own website.  Either way, steer clear.  Look for names like www.photographersname.com or www.studioname.com.
  • Portfolios without variety: One of the biggest red flags out there, is seeing a website that seems to only have two or three weddings on it. Again, this is a sign of a lack of experience.
  • [pull_quote_right] All prints are not created equal.  There is a big difference for retouched prints created at a professional lab, and what you might see coming from the drugstore. [/pull_quote_right]

  • Do it All Photographers: This might be one of the biggest red flags when choosing a photographer. When you go to a website and see a photographer that not only does weddings, but also commercial work senior pictures, baby portraits, and real estate photography, you should be asking yourself how dedicated the photographer is to weddings. There are some photographers who actually can do it all, but they are few and far between.  Your best bet is to find a photographer who specializes in the type of photography you are looking for.


 
In addition, you should look at the actual print products that a photographer has. All prints are not created equal.  There is a big difference for retouched prints created at a professional lab, and what you might see coming from the drugstore. This is even more true for albums. You might see vastly different prices on albums from one photographer to the next, but again, there are incredible differences between one of a kind leather bound albums laid out by professional graphic designers, and the type of albums you can order through websites like Shutterfly. Find out what your photographer uses.  If your photographer is not local, he or she can still send out sample albums via FedEx.

[one_third] [single_lightbox url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/MG_8547.jpg” image_url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/MG_8547.jpg” image_width=”150″ image_height=”150″ title=””] [/one_third] [one_third] [single_lightbox url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/0468-Rose.jpg” image_url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/0468-Rose.jpg” image_width=”150″ image_height=”150″ title=””] [/one_third] [one_third_last] [single_lightbox url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/0525-Koster.jpg” image_url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/0525-Koster.jpg” image_width=”150″ image_height=”150″ title=””] [/one_third_last]
 

Price

[pull_quote_left] I know wedding photographers who charge as little as $300 per day, and I know other photographers whose packages start at $100,000. [/pull_quote_left]This is where most people can get really hung up when it comes to choosing a photographer for their weddings. Prices vary wildly. I know wedding photographers who charge as little as $300 per day, and I know other photographers whose packages start at $100,000. That is an incredible variation, and I think it leaves most potential clients scratching their heads at what a photographer is “supposed” to cost. I wish I had an easy answer and could just say a photographer is supposed to cost this much, but that isn’t the case.
Instead, I will try to use an analogy that might help explain the concept of price for photography. Instead of talking about wedding photography, let’s discuss beef. That’s right, beef, particularly buying beef at a restaurant. I will apologize to my fellow vegetarians out there and ask that you bare with me. You can buy beef at a restaurant like MacDonald’s for about $1 for a small burger. For $4 you can get the same quality of beef, just more of it. If you are in the mood for something more sophisticated, you can get a nicer burger at a restaurant like Fridays. If you want better still, you can go to a really nice steak house. You can get the same amount of beef found in that $4 hamburger, but it will be better prepared and can cost you $50 or more. You can also go to a place like the French Laundry restaurant and easily spend $500 on a beef dinner. Same size portion, but you pay more because of the chef that is preparing it.

[pull_quote_right] A good photographer is going to show up with $20,000 worth of equipment that needs to be replaced every two years. Ask yourself how a photographer can afford that much gear on what they charge. [/pull_quote_right]It is the same with photography. Similar sized portions, or amount of time and prints, can result in vastly different prices. But all photography is not the same. There are huge differences in both skill and artistry. Generally speaking, photographers charge what they can. The more in demand a photographer is, the more he or she is able to charge. Also, keep in mind that a good photographer is going to show up with $20,000 worth of equipment that needs to be replaced every two years. Ask yourself how a photographer can afford that much gear on what they charge, because there is a good chance that some of them will not have the appropriate back up gear for a wedding.

That isn’t to say that the more you pay, the better your photographer will be, but when you see someone in the area that charges less than half of their competition, you might want to ask why. And just like when you go out to eat, have an idea of your budget before hand, understanding what things you might be willing to splurge on and what things you are not.

Bringing it all Together

I hope what you have taken from this is that how well you get along with your photographer should be your most important priority. Next, you need to be in love with the photographer’s work. Find a photographer whose style really appeals to you. Once you have those two things down, you can move on to some of the more technical aspects of choosing a photographer like presentation and price. Look for red flags like a free website that might indicate a lack of experience. And lastly, understand that money does not always buy quality, but there is a correlation to it.

Timothy

Timothy Faust is an award winning wedding photographer from Breckenridge, Colorado. He specializes in destination wedding photography in Colorado and all across the world.

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