There are so many wonderful and great photographers out in the world now. It’s amazing to see so much being created on a daily basis, especially through Instagram. Lots of inspiring work and even more self expression than ever before.
It’s important to note what separates a professional portrait photographer from someone who isn’t. There is a lot of great stuff out there and equally great people, but it’s a good idea to really know what they are best photographing.
There are photographers who specialize in only newborn and maternity. Others who specialize in only weddings and engagements. And others who only do commercial work.
Then there are photographers like me who do both weddings and portraits and will also take on a special project, only if it truly aligns with my style and business goals.
So what can you expect from a professional photographer?
This is not an all encompassing list because each photographer does business differently and has different ways of doing things, however, I’m sure most would agree that they are basic expectations a professional photographer should meet.
They can match their experience with their passion. You want someone who has taken at least 100 high quality portraits because that experience will guarantee you have a great session as well.
Website or portfolio of some kind. Let’s include social media in this because sometimes that works best as a portfolio rather than an official website. However, a website will tell you much more about a photographer than social media.
They offer options and can answer all of your questions, no matter the question. They are the professional, not you so your questions must be answered with kindness and expertise.
They send out official contracts with terms and make sure to let you know of any policies they or their studio has.
They can clearly outline the experience they will give you and how you portrait session will be like. You can only expect this from a photographer that knows what they are doing and has enough experience to guide you through the process.
They know lighting and can suggest the best times for your session. If they are a studio photographer, they’ll know what lighting is best in order to create the best portrait for you.
They will be a little higher priced than the Craigslist photographer, Facebook photographer, or the photographer just starting out. This is because of their years of experience and many, many, years perfecting their craft.
Each photographer is different and has a different business, however, it’s important to know what to expect from a professional because they can make all the difference between having photos you absolutely love rather than absolutely cringe looking at.
When you’re looking for someone to photograph you, if they don’t check most of these off, then I would suggest moving along. If you really love their photos, then ask them directly and go with your gut feeling.
Have you had any great photographers take your portraits? Let me know in the comments below!