Choosing a Photographer {my 2nd photo-less post}

       "You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” - Ansel Adams

     I recently wrote a blog post about how the camera doesn't make the photographer and a little of my own photographic journey. So who should you choose as your photographer then? Pick me! Pick me! No seriously though, with so many photographers out there (professional and aspiring alike), how do you know the right one? My personal view is that you should look at potential photographers (get referrals if you can) and then see how they do in these categories:

Style: Which photographer's images are you drawn to? There are many photographic styles out there and you don't need to necessarily understand each one, just that the photographer's images draw you in some way. Also, are those photos relevant to the type of photos you are looking for? For example, someone who takes really incredible nature photos might not be well-equipped or experienced in weddings. Or if you prefer photos with bright colors and clean lines, you may not want to hire a photographer whose images are all vintage inspired black and whites. Our own photographic style, combines multiple approaches to photography in a way that we'd like to think is all our own and we hope to attract clients who appreciate the way we see and capture what is beautiful. Ultimately, you need to look at each photographer's work to see what's right for you.

Personality: If you can, meet the photographer in advance (we, and many other photographers, are happy to meet you for a consultation in advance). Is this photographer someone you can feel comfortable with? This is important because if you're not comfortable, it tends to show in the photos.  Reading a photographer's blog or Facebook are also great ways to get a little preview of what they might be like in real life. Unfortunately, getting to know your photographer in advance or even guaranteeing the photographer you will be working with is the same one whose work you admired on the website is not possible with many big name studios. We never sub-contract our work, so you are guaranteed that your photographer is either Rachael or I (or both) and the work you see on our website is ours. 
 It's important to understand the studio's policy in advance.

Budget: While I'd like to say you can't put a price on beautiful memories, the fact is that is not the world most of us live in. So review investment costs and what they include. What is it that you ultimately want to get out of your photos? Check your potential photographer's packages to make sure they include what you're looking for or find out what the cost is to add it. Our own investment options are in the low-mid range for what we provide. We are very open to questions about investment options and what's included and we encourage our clients to shop around. 
You don't want to make an investment big or small and have it leaving you disappointed.
Experience: I think the benefits of experience should be obvious to most of us, however I am very grateful for those who took a chance on us when we had very little experience. You will probably pay very little for a less experienced photographer, but you have to be careful about how much you are willing to potentially sacrifice in the quality of those images. How much is the right amount of experience will depend on both you and the photographer. To help you determine how experienced a photographer is, look at their body of work. Find out how long they've been doing the type of photography you're interested in. If they only have a few images on the website in the style you're interested in, ask to see more. Try to determine whether the photographer's quality is consistent or whether those were just a few "lucky shots". 

Finding the balance between style, personality, buget and experience can be delicate and is not going to be the same for everyone. I hope that if you actually took the time to read all of that, you found something in there that was helpful to you in your own photographic journey. And if your journey leads you to us, we promise to handle your stories with all the care we would use to tell our own.

XOXO
Heather

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“Through photography and image I have been afforded the privilege of sharing the stories and myths of people's lives with others. The process for me became self-revelatory. It was a process of soul-making, something all humans are engaged in, no matter their endeavor. I saw a part of myself in each person I photographed. I came to realize, through the alchemical process of living, that each life is important, no matter how little that life seems to offer.”  ― J. Don Cook,

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