WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I BE ASKING WHEN HIRING A PHOTOGRAPHER?
Of course, I would LOVE to be the photographer for your portraits! But if you choose to go elsewhere, or don’t live near me in Northern Utah, I have made a list of questions you should be asking before you hire:
1. How long before you’ll have my pictures edited and back to me?
Generally you should be getting your edited pictures back before two weeks, three weeks at the MOST during busier seasons.
2. What settings do you use on your camera when you are taking pics?
If they don’t know the answer to that or say ‘auto’ or the ‘P’ setting you need to RUN! If they answer raw and manual... that’s a good sign. If they use a light reflector and are making sure to schedule pictures when outdoor lighting is the best, that is also a good sign. Also, the best of the best photographers use Nikon or Canon cameras and FOR SURE a digital SLR camera… NOT a POINT-AND-SHOOT camera!
3. Can I see samples of your work?
Hopefully they have a website where you can see samples. But if they don’t, make sure they send you some samples. Zoom way in and see if they are blurry at all. Look at the teeth… do they look like a natural white? Too white or too yellow is a concern. Look at the coloring of the people. Is it under or over exposed? Look at the posing… do you like the way they are standing and sitting? If there are concerns with the pictures, either look elsewhere, or ask specific questions about your concerns with the photographer.
4. Am I going to get all the pictures or just edited ones?
Honestly, if they are going to give you all the pictures, that is a sign of an unprofessional photographer. When your name is associated with those pictures, you have only to put out your best.
5. Tell me how you feel about lighting and the time of day the shoot takes place?
If they tell you ‘anytime’ is good for lighting… run! Lighting is CRITICAL outdoors. In the summer, morning and evenings are best for light. At the brightest time of the summer, unless it is a location that is VERY shaded, 7 or 8 pm is typical for start times. In the winter there is some more flexibility as the sun is low on the horizon. They should be using a reflector device that either blocks or adds light as needed. You should not be seeing flecks of light on any faces. If you are standing beneath a tree that is shaded and flecks of light come through the tree, the photographer should have an assistant, or a spectator, holding a reflector to block that.
6. What is your repoire like with children and people overall?
In my opinion, you want a photographer who is really outgoing and willing to make a lot of noise to get attention if necessary. If you have a really shy photographer who isn’t willing to make big funny noises to get a child to look forward, you will likely have children who aren’t looking ahead. Also, if they are too shy to gather groups together in a large setting, or speak up when they feel the setting isn’t quite right, it’s going to be difficult to get the pictures as excellent as they can be. If they are really soft-spoken and timid, I would be somewhat concerned. In my opinion, a good photographer needs to be able to speak up and have the confidence to do that.
7. How many edits will you provide?
If you are only going to get five pictures back compared to a photographer that will offer twenty-five… there is a big difference!
8. Can you do head swaps?
I personally have an employee who does the head swaps, and there is a small additional charge if that is necessary, although I try to avoid that at all costs and get the shot right the first time. However, if your photographer isn’t capable of doing that and you have a HUGE group... you may be really disappointed.
9. Do you guarantee the success of the shoot?
If they stumble through this answer, don’t choose them. They should be willing to re-edit and even meet up again if necessary. Customer satisfaction with Jen Hanni Photo is very important to me. If in doubt, get it all in writing.
10. What editing software do you use?
I personally use Photoshop, Portrait Pro, and for creative stuff I occasionally use PicMonkey. If they answer PicMonkey for all of the pictures, walk away because that software should be used for creative shots only. Those pictures cannot be enlarged larger than 11x14.
11. What do you edit exactly?
If they only change the lighting, then you truly aren’t getting the most out a photographer. Slight enhancement in wrinkles, teeth whitening and enhanced expression are all important. Look at their samples... do they edit too little, or too much? Have an open discussion with them on how you both feel about editing. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What you think is TOO much may not be enough to someone else.
12. What is all included in the price?
There are still a few photographers out there who charge a sitting fee and then show you a preview of the shots and you only get to order the prints at their fee. This can get REALLY expensive. My recommendation is to find a photographer that provides your edited pictures on a disk or in a digital format on a delivery system like dropbox, and then ask them where the best place is to get them printed.
13. Where should I print my images?
That is an excellent question. Printing is so very important. Recently I saw a customer’s pictures displayed that had just had the pictures I edited printed at Costco and they were SO dark! They looked AWFUL! You want to make sure that they are calibrating their printers frequently. I would personally recommend Snelson’s in Utah County, Utah. They print and ship for you all online and they are the best I’ve seen.
If you have any further questions, feel free to call or text me at 801-725-8555. Also, visit jenhanniphoto.com for samples of my photography work.