A record of time, or something more?
There are a seemingly endless number of photographers advertising a wide range of services online. It’s often difficult to determine the differences between varying photographers and why they charge such different rates. Some photographers charge a cheap rate for a two-hour sitting and a large number of images on a flash drive. Other photographers charge a sitting fee and sell each image individually as professional prints. So how do we go about choosing a photographer?
The majority of portrait photographers fall into one of two categories. The first category of photographers wants to shoot hundreds, or even thousands, of images, and then hand the client a CD full of images. The second category of photographers wants to shoot a smaller quantity of images and then edit just a handful of these photos to produce a stunning portfolio for the client. The first category of photographers is more focused on time and creating lots of images, and the second category is more focused on creating brilliant images quickly and efficiently and then finishing them properly.
The type of images you’re looking for will help you narrow down the photographer you hire for your upcoming portrait session. How often do you have professional portraits taken? Do you take hundreds of shots on your smartphone or do you reserve picture taking for special occasions? Some people may be satisfied with hundreds of snapshots of their loved ones. Other people are looking to come away with a small selection of gorgeous, posed portraits of their loved ones that they’ll enjoy displaying on their walls for generations to come.
When choosing a photographer, begin with the end in mind
Professional photographers with several decades of experience know how to create ten or less stunning images of a couple or family in a short period of time. You’ll get the shots you want without spending hours posing in a studio or on location. Your photographer will assist you in selecting a location and clothing and will prepare his gear (i.e. lenses, flashes) ahead of time so the session goes as quickly as possible. During the session, the photographer will pose the group quickly to get his shots with minimal trial and error, again reducing the length of the shoot. This process keeps everyone relaxed and happy, ensuring natural poses in the shots.
Once the session is over, he’ll post-process the images to create stunning portraits, unlike anything you take with your smartphone. Most likely you’ll pay more for these professional images, but it will be well worth the money. Instead of sorting through hundreds of shots, the photographer will choose the dozen or so best images and do all the editing work to take the photos up a notch from casual snapshots to professional portraits.
An expert eye for image selection
Some people think their money is better spent on the photographer who will give them a CD full of hundreds of images. From there, they can narrow down the best images themselves. First, most people will never take the time to narrow down their images. Second, most people don’t have the skill set to pull out the few excellent images, much less edit them professionally. Paying for a professional to narrow down and edit the images saves you hours of work and ultimately ensures you’ll end up with beautiful images to display around your home.
Even if you don’t plan to display your photos or use them for holiday cards or another specific purpose, you still may find it’s beneficial to pay for the professional photography services. Having a few snapshots may be just fine for a scrapbook, but if you never narrow down the images you want from your CD with hundreds of images, you won’t use any of the images in your scrapbook. In comparison, when you have a few wonderful images right at your fingertips, you’re more likely to use them right away.
Give your images the best chance at being enjoyed
The more time goes by, the less chance there is you’ll actually go through your images that have piled up over the years and print and display them. Don’t put off making prints of your children or grandchildren until you reach retirement. The sooner you have professional portraits taken, the sooner you’ll have them printed and up on the wall in frames for everyone to enjoy.
For busy families with lots of commitments outside the home, typically professional portraits make the most sense. You’ll benefit from an efficient photographer who gets brilliant portraits taken in a short period of time, narrowed down quickly, and printed professionally. Some photographers will even assist you with framing and offer tips on the best places to display your new photos in your home. I hope this has helped you in the process of choosing a photographer.
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