What to look for in a Portrait Photographer

What to look for in a Portrait Photographer.

  • Don’t be afraid to interview the photographer. And interview more than one. Email is convenient but a phone call is even better. You want to hire someone you click with personality wise. But personality isn’t everything.
  • Make sure they have samples. Ask to see some of the photographer’s work. This will give you an idea of both the style and quality of each photographer.
  • Communicate. Make sure the photographer has a clear understanding of your expectations. Take the time to discuss the services and fees involved. This helps avoid any future misunderstandings.
  • Check their references. A friend’s recommendation or the Better Business Bureau is a great resource. In the case of a wedding photographer, they should also have a list of at least two people you can contact via e-mail.
  • Do they have insurance? This is an easy tell to see if a photographer is really a registered business or not. Liability insurance. We get it to protect us from lawsuit, from damage to our equipment. In fact, some wedding venues won’t let you hire a photographer that cannot show proof of liability insurance.


Red Flags.


There are few things “professional” photographers say that should cause you to proceed with caution. I want to be honest that not all of these red flags are necessarily bad but…Oh who am I kidding. They are always bad.


I’m a natural light photographer! This usually means they either don’t know how to use professional equipment properly or they do not have a good business plan to pay for professional equipment. This doesn’t necessarily mean external lighting like flashes or large studio lights. Light modifiers such as reflectors are used to manipulate the light. We can’t always count on Mother Nature putting clouds on the right places for us. There are some very talented photographers that just use the sun as their light source but they also use tools to direct it.


I don’t pose, I just let my clients be natural. This means they have no idea about posing, how to accentuate the human body or know what looks best for different body types.


No need for contracts, I trust you! This means if anything goes wrong you are out of luck getting a refund, discount, or even your final product. There should always be a contract and don’t be afraid to ask for changes in the contract. Most contracts come with a built in model release. If you don’t want your pictures on the internet then ask to opt out of internet posting.


I can always fix things in Photoshop. This can be bad or good. If it is a matter of some snotty noses or a stray hair then OK. But if the photographer won’t let you see at least a few images on the back of the camera during or after the shoot then you know that they are not doing things right and they are relying on the computer to fix it. A bad photo cannot be made good photo in Photoshop. Period. End of story.


I will probably think of more things as soon as I publish this blog. Feel free to leave comments with your tips and experiences!