We have established that you generally get what you pay for when it comes to selecting a photographer and how that photographer prepares your final images.
The next consideration when picking the photographer for your project is to find the one who fill give you the images you want at an acceptable price.
For instance, you have decided to update your business card image. The Yellow Pages are filled with listings for photographers. Some may state on their specialties on their ad; other ads will direct to websites filled with fantastically creative underwater portraits or barely-clothed pin-up models or stunning scenics. These photographers may or may not be what you need unless you contact them.
Would you contract Annie Leibovitz for a business card image? Even if you have the finances to cover her fees, you probably wouldn’t go that route. If you needed an image for your author’s profile for your next best-seller, perhaps your publicist would pony up for that kind of extravagance.
Would you ask my friend who takes beautiful pictures of birds and landscapes to capture your portrait? Perhaps if you worked outdoors and didn’t mind be part of a photo instead of being the photo.
Let’s consider the other influences: Are you looking for a glamorous image that will require hours of hair and make-up? That you are doing yourself? Or do you want to be pampered and have someone dress you up? What about wardrobe? Will you purchase a new suit from Tom’s Place? Or maybe you just can’t decide between your favourite pairs of shoes or favourite ties?
These are all considerations you can discuss with potential photographers. Some photographers may work from or own a studio that has dressing rooms, on-site hair and make-up artists, a resident stylist and enough lighting gear for a movie shoot. There will be a substantial fee for this, as you are covering studio rent, equipment usage and the wages of the staff and photographer.
There are also a good number of professional portrait photographers who have a vast selection of resources to meet every need. If you prepare yourself and only want the portrait, it may be as simple as setting a mutually agreeable appointment time. If you would like a little assistance, let your photographer know what you would like ahead of time. Many photographers’ address books contain lists of hair and make-up artists and stylists who will come on an “as needed” basis. Your photographer may also know of some stylists who may do the work for free if they can use your image in their portfolio. These sessions are generally far more affordable and can be customized exactly to your needs.
Discuss with your photographer what you expect from your session and let them work with you and your budget. There is no right or wrong way and no method is preferable. The important part is that you feel good during your session and are happy with the results.
© Will Prentice, 2012. All rights reserved.
Will is owner and chief photographer at Captura Photography and Imaging, a photography and design company in Whitby, Ontario, Canada. Click his picture in the upper right for more details.