We all carry cameras in our purses or pockets and can apply a sweet filter before uploading our images to a website or social media to showcase our inherent creativity. But that doesn’t make us all professional photographers. Albeit there are quite a few pro-sumer DSLR toting people out there touting themselves as photographers. But what really is a professional photographer and what factors into hiring a professional photographer versus an amateur photographer?
A professional photographer earns the majority of his or her income from photography. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they work full-time at photography – business owners can set their own schedule and work as many or as few hours as they like. It also doesn’t mean that their work is guaranteed to be better than a weekend photographer or hobbyist. It does mean, however that the photographer uses his or her ability to create beautiful, consistent photographs with the ability to run a profitable, sustainable business.
So what should you look for when hiring a professional? Here’s a quick list of what to expect:
- Expect to pay for a professional service and professional products.
- Expect them to use professional equipment. A professional will use their acquired technical knowledge of the camera, lighting and post production software to generate the desired results. That expensive camera will not do the work for him/her.
- You’re hiring someone who can communicate with you about your needs. The photographer should deliver the agreed upon result, on time and in a manner that shows your needs are understood.
- Professionals should respond to your communication in a timely manner. Professional businesses will have posted business hours.
- A professional will know how to make you look your best and put you at ease.
- The photographer will provide you with information to make your session as easy for you as possible.
- Expect a professional to provide a photography agreement or contract and request a deposit to reserve your date(s).
- The photographer should have business liability insurance to protect themselves (and you), as well as a current business license.
- View their portfolio, social media sites and read their testimonials.
The biggest compliment I ever received from a client sums it up: Have full trust that the photographer you hire will understand what you want, make suggestions, do it right the first time and will deliver it in a timely manner. That’s something you simply can’t put a price on.