Local family and newborn photographer Christy Whitehead stopped by the blog to talk about the questions you SHOULD be asking before you hire your next photographer.
Her studio specializes in newborn, family and head shot portraits.
1.How long have you been a photographer? The longer a photographer has been in business, the more likely it is that it’s not just a hobby for them. I’d also follow this up with are they licensed and insured. This is ESPECIALLY true if they are a wedding photographer, you wouldn’t want them skipping town with your deposit or having someone trip on their equipment at your event.
2.Which types of photography do you specialize in? Some photographers “specialize” in everything under the sun. That’s not really specializing in anything, that’s taking whatever job comes their way. If you are looking for a specific type of photography that requires special skills like a newborn photographer or someone who does boudoir, you need to find someone who specializes in that. They usually have more experience in posing, lighting, etc that would come with that genre.
Something else to keep in mind, a birth photographer usually is not a wedding photographer. Why? Because, what happens if their client goes into labor while they are at a wedding or they are at a birth for 20 hours the day before your big day?
3.Do you have many repeat clients? This is a great litmus test of not only the quality of a photographer’s work but of their customer service skills. Sometimes, their online reviews will answer this question, as a repeat customer is more likely to go on and leave a review and will say what sessions they have had done.
4.Do they have any online reviews? Check Yelp, Facebook and Google+ to see what kind of reviews they have. If they are a wedding vendor, also check Wedding Wire and the Knot.
5.What is your policy on rescheduling a session? An experienced photographer will definitely have a policy in place when it comes to a customer cancelling or rescheduling a photography session. A photographer with policies indicates that they have experience with different types of customers and situations and have created policies accordingly.
6.Have you had any experience with (name your specific concern)? If you have any specific concerns regarding your photo session such as the photographer’s ability to work with a special needs child for example, find out if they have ever handled that type of situation before. Do not dismiss a photographer and their abilities based on their answers to your concerns. If given adequate notice, an experienced photographer should be able to deal with any situation you present them. This is the hallmark of a true pro. If they seem flustered by the question or get really nervous, follow your gut.
7.What is their editing policy? What happens if your kid shows up on photo day with a scratch on their face? Does it cost extra to edit that out?
8.Silent Question: Speaking of gut, your gut to judge their personality and rapport. A photographer’s main job is to capture emotions and moments. If your photographer doesn’t mesh well with you on the phone or in person, chances are you and your family will not mesh well with them at your session and this will show in your photos.
Christy Whitehead has been a photographer in Jacksonville for about 20 years. She started off as a freelancer reporter and photographer for newspapers and magazines, including The Florida Times Union and Folio Weekly before turning her focus to photography full time.
She is licensed and insured and enjoys photographing newborns and families and watching them grow and come back over the years. She also did about 1,000 head shot portraits last year. If you are in the market for a photographer, contact her at www.Jaxphotographer.com 904-891-0359