PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER -VS- HOBBYIST
Are you looking for a professional photographer for your business or event? is good enough okay with you? or do you want great images for your money?
Remeber my number one saying "Cheap Is Not Always Good and Good Is Not Always Cheap".
How do you know if the person you are hiring is a professional or a hobbyist?
Truth is you can't tell unless you know the person you are dealing with. With today's technology hobbyist are able to produce some great photographs.
Digital cameras have become much more affordable and everyone has one now. The cameras have instant feedback on the screen on the back of the camera which allows someone how isn't formally trained to "Fake It Until They Make It". What I mean by that is they are able to keep shooting until they get something they think will work for your project.
Back when film ruled the photography world you had to have some basic camera knowledge because you didn't have the luxury of seeing the image instantly on the back of your camera like today. Sound photographic principles were needed for a photographer to be able to consistently produce good images.
Back then Professional photographers were needed and companies who used them trusted that they would do a great job. If not they didn't last in the business very long.
And that is exactly the difference between a professional and a hobbyist. Professionals run this as a business. We pay rent, utilities, pay taxes, support our communities, have commercial insurance, maintain our training through professional photography organizations and guilds, have the best professional level equipment, cameras, lighting, backup equipment, wear uniforms and dress professionally, reliable vehicles, hire trained professionals as employees and produce consistent professional photographs from our work that you deserve.
What Should You Always Ask Before You Hire A Professional Photographer?
The folks at Professional Photographers of America (PPA) have been around for 145 years and can tell you how to sort out good photographers from the not so good…faux-tographers. Here are the 10 most important questions they recommend you ask prospective photographers:
1. Are you insured?
If the answer is "yes," ask as many questions as you like to determine if the relationship is right for you. If the answer is "no," however, do not pass GO! Simply find another photographer. What happens if you hire a friend of a friend and he trips, injuring himself or breaking his brand new camera? When facing large medical bills, people sue easily! You need to be protected.
2. What's your background and credentials?
Pretend that you're on a job interview, but this time you're the one doing the hiring. Don't be shy about asking your photographer these questions:
1. How long have you been a professional photographer?
2. Where did you get your photography training?
3. What professional photographic associations do you belong to?
The pros have standards to uphold and membership in professional associations. When you choose someone who belongs to a professional photography organization and has agreed to follow strict ethics, you're starting with quality. Pros have unique skills and training in artistry and technology, so they know how to create beautiful images that reflect exactly the image you want to portray.
3. Can you provide references and may I see your portfolio?
A true professional will have no problem offering as many references as you need from previous clients, partners and even fellow photographers. Be sure to call the references and find out their take on the photographer. Here are some questions to ask:
1) What made you decide to hire this photographer?
2) Did the photographer capture the mood of your event in his or her photos?
3) Did the photographer give you photos that met your expectations?
4) How did you find this particular photographer?
Ask to see samples from an entire photography session or a collection of photographs from many different sessions to get a sense of the depth of a photographer's work. This will show you how creative the photographer is and tell you if he or she is consistently good…or just lucky every now and then. Make sure these are samples of the particular type of work you are needing. If you are hiring a photographer to produce business portraits then don't let them send you wedding photos. It is not the same style of work.
4. What is your photographic style?
A photographer's style is reflected in their portfolio and asking them to shoot a radically different style is a recipe for disaster. Look for images that you can see yourself in. Tell the photographer why you're having images created and the image you want your photographs to tell. Think of three words that describe you and share those with your photographer. You're counting on their knowledge of art, lighting, posing and more to create images that fit your vision. The more comfortable you are with the person behind the camera, the more comfortable you'll be in front of it, allowing your photographer to capture more authentic, intimate and emotional images.
5. How many events like this do you photograph in a year?
While it's okay to hire a generalist rather than a specialist, make sure the photographer has experience with your type of event. If it's a large event like a corporate event or conference, you want to know how much experience your photographer has. Why? Amateurs may become frustrated or anxious when dealing with the unknown or demanding pace. They might also get caught in the moment instead of capturing it on camera or they might be unprepared for your type of ebent. A professional photographer will stay calm and help you remain calm, no matter what situation pops up! They know they can give you the images you want no matter what happens.
6. Do you have an assistant and what does she/he do? How about a second photographer (for larger events)?
An assistant's job is to ensure that every shoot runs smoothly. He or she helps create a list of "must-haves" so that you don't have to think about what comes next. It is their job to prepare and check the set or location and make sure all equipment is available, clean and working. An assistant can also help with poses, change lenses, hold a reflector to create the best possible light during photo sessions.
Having a second photographer means you'll get twice as many photos and get those unpredictable shots that the main photographer doesn't have time to get. A second photographer may also see something the main photographer missed. He or she can also continue to take fabulous shoots if the main photographer is needed in other areas.
7. What does your fee include and what's the delivery timeline?
You'll want to understand what you're getting for your money: how much time, type of images, the format for delivering proofs, what's included in your package. How much editing can be done? How long after your session will you have to wait to see something? How much time will you have to to wait to see the proofs? Will you get images that you can quickly share on social media? Seriously, ask all these questions, because you would not believe how often people assume that they are getting something and end up in an icky situation because the expectations were mismatched.
8. Do you have a backup photographer?
It's the big day. Everything is on schedule, and then your photographer gets in an accident or doesn't show up for any reason. You've spent months planning your event and now this once-in-a-lifetime moment may be gone forever because your photographer's pickle is putting you in an even worse situation. What do you do? If you've hired a pro, he or she will have a list of trusted and experienced colleagues they will call to ensure your photo expectations are met regardless and that your event is photographed properly. That's why it's so important to ask prospective photographers what their backup plan is in case "something happens". Better yet, if the photographer is a PPA member, he or she will quickly find another talented photographer for your event.
9. Do you have backup equipment?
While it may be cheaper to hire an amateur or someone who does this on the side ,you risk not getting any guarantee of the quality of images and risk losing your day or event forever should their equipment fail. Because memory cards do fail. Lenses do break and batteries do, unfortunately die. All at the wrong time! A professional photographer will always show up early with one or two backup cameras, lenses or flashes and additional lighting equipment. Well-connected and experienced PPA photographers will always have contingency plans and backup equipment. Most of the time, things actually do happen in the background that photographers handle without anyone noticing, things like camera swaps, flash changes and extra lights. That's peace of mind you want to ensure your photographer will bring you.
10. Do you require a written contract?
A contract protects both you and the photographer and it's a must have for larger events. It should spell out the expectations of you and the photographer so that everyone knows what to expect. How will the photographer ensure your satisfaction, what are their backup plans in the event they're late or called away by an emergency? What happens if there's equipment failure or some other unforeseen issue? While it is common practice for smaller photography projects to take place without the signature of a contract, it should be your first big red flag for a larger event like a wedding, corporate event or company holiday party.
Perhaps the most important thing to look for when hiring a photographer is to find one that you both trust professionally and like personally. If you don't, you risk losing those precious moments forever, won't have as much fun the day of, will waste money and all that will reflect in your photos. This is even more important for large events since you are going to spend practically the whole day with your photographer.
The more at ease you are with your photographer, the better your pictures will be. So, pay close attention to your rapport with the photographer as you move through this list of questions. A skilled professional will ask you additional questions and offer creative ideas that an amateur would never think of.
Entrusting your photography to a professional means you'll get what you pay for! For example, PPA photographers abide to a strict code of ethics and have unique skills and training in the artistry and technology of creating beautiful images that reflect exactly the images you want to portray. A professional photographer will be an even greater assurance that you are in good professional hands and will get the images you are looking for, and most likely, love!
Remember, anyone can take a good picture every now and then. But when you've only got one chance to capture life's biggest moments, you better make sure the person behind the camera is a pro. See even more differences it can make and find the right photographer for you at:
Insurance is generally always needed in today's world to be on-site of just about any venue or commercial building. We carry $2,000,000.00 in general liability and are often asked for higher limits for some venues. I always tell potential clients to always ask for and demand proof of insurance before dealing with any person who claims to be a professional. I bet you have insurance for your company. Shouldn't anyone claiming to be a business or working for you have to have insurance, have a business license, sales tax certificate and the basic licenses to run a business?
Now I am not saying that an amateur hobbyist can't produce good photos but if something were to happen are you protected?
I always tell my clients that "Cheap is not always good and good is not always cheap".
Many times I have people call and want quotes on projects and when I tell them the price they may say things like "I know someone who only charges "XYZ" for that". I always tell them to make sure they are comparing the same end product. You can't compare apples to bananas and pay the same. Many times those prices are not the same quality of a product. This happens alot. I have clients who hired cheap first and then later hired us to get the job done the right way later.
I always try and produce a great quality product for an affordable price. I will always try to suggest a way to help my client save money.
Houston Event Photography has all of the above items I mentioned a professional photographer and business should have. Why? Because we are a professional full time photography business and have been since 1978.
Experience and Equipment:
We have the experience of over 40 yearsas a professional photography company and the equipment needed to get your job done. Trust that you are hiring a professional. Houston Event Photography has all the backup equipment on hand to get our jobs completed. We have multiple cameras, computers, photo printers, lights batteries, memory cards, we oke that we have backups for our backups. Our inventory of equipment is massive.
We can produce the professional and affordable images you are needing for your business or event.
Here is a photo of one of our company vans. It is fully stocked and can handle any type of job that we perform. When we arrive we are ready to get to work and have everything we need.
If yuo have any questions or need to hire a photographer for you business or event please give us a call. We would love to talk with you about our services.