A good photographer can shoot anyone in any lighting, any weather, any location, and when it comes to finding the right photographer, it can be challenging to make a decision. So much of it is based on personal style, and a lot of it can also be based on cost. We've asked one of our favorite local photographers, Marcy Rolerson, for her top tips in what to look out for when evaluating a photographer for your next event:
Variety in the photos
Beyond whether or not you’re initially drawn to their work, do they take a lot of the same shots or do they look for interesting angles and capture fun moments?
It’s helpful to understand the approach to different situations...will they be posing people or will they be strictly documentary?
Ask for links to full galleries
This will help give you a sense of their overall style (and the final product you will receive!) as the blog may only show the best work. I have also heard from a lot of people lately that some of the pictures they most look forward to seeing from their event are the pictures from once the sun goes down and everyone lets loose. Unfortunately these are the pictures that you may not see lots of in a blog post. Be sure to ask for more if you’re not seeing any or many – it will let you see their approach to lighting and interacting with your guests. Another interesting point that a client recently brought up to me is that if you just see pictures of pretty centerpieces, it doesn’t really tell you that much about the photographer – so look for pictures of people and what they are able to capture.
Look for recent work
If they haven't done an event in the past 6 months, it’s worth raising a flag. There may be a great reason so if you like their work it doesn’t hurt to ask. It could just be they took some time off or haven't updated their website!
Determine what you’re comfortable with. If we take a look at wedding events, for example, the average price is $3,500, but make sure to understand what that includes. For some, that package includes a complimentary engagement session to get to know each other and/or an album post-wedding. If it’s important to you to receive the edited files, double check if this is included in the price. It would not be fun to find out after the event that you had to pay an additional fee if you thought it was included! Travel and lodging expenses may be required for certain locations or holiday weekends for an out of town photographer, so it’s always worthwhile to ask.
Once you have a shortlist, don’t forget to interview and go with your gut!
This is a big investment and you want to make sure you're hiring someone who knows what they're doing and is professional. Bios are helpful, but a quick call can help you figure this out pretty quickly. Is this someone you would look forward to having around? In my mind, it’s about as important as whether you like their work. Depending on the event, they may be with you for hours and they may be playing the part of life coach/hem fixer/family counselor! I always tell potential clients that even if they don’t hire me, please pick someone they click with.
A HUGE thank you to Marcy for her insight and time! If you have an event coming up and need some help coming up with a photographer shortlist, shoot us a note. We’d love to help connect you!