Finding The Right Local Photographer Near You
in Decatur, Champaign, Bloomington or anywhere in Central Illinois can be a daunting task. Recommendations from family and friends are always a great starting point. Other resources such as the photographer’s Facebook, Google+, Instagram, or business websites are also helpful in identifying photographic styles that fit your personality, expectations, and budget.
Photographers often have one or two areas of specialty such as wedding and engagement photography, high school sports and senior portraits, or maternity and newborns. It’s been my experience that those who specialize in a particular area tend to be the most affordable and offer the best quality.
Once you have narrowed it down to a few local photographers, the next step is to make contact to set up a consultation. I would suggest a face-to-face meeting to discuss the details and a timeline of your event. It’s a good idea to talk to the photographer about jobs he or she has done that are similar to yours. Do not hesitate to ask questions.
• How long have you been in the business?
• How many weddings have you shot?
• Where is your favorite wedding venue to shoot?
• What was your favorite shoot in the last year?
Typically asking a question in which they have to give a longer answer will reveal more about the style and experience they have in a particular area. It’s important to view the photographer’s body of work so have them show you recent albums or portfolios. When reviewing, pay close attention to focus, composition, feeling, mood and lighting. These are key factors when distinguishing between an average photographer and a great photographer.
Ask yourself if your personalities mesh well? The ability to effectively communicate and perform well in social situations cannot be underestimated when choosing a photographer. Other important questions to ask is how they process the images and the timetable in which they deliver your images.
I have heard horror stories of photographers who took up to six months to process and deliver or show the images. It’s been my experience that the typical photographer on average will take two to six weeks to process and deliver the final images or meet in person to show the images to the clients.
Price is another important factor that should be discussed. The fees of each photographer is a subject of its own, and I won’t cover it in detail in this article. It’s important when looking for an affordable photographer to understand you usually get what you pay for with a few exceptions. Besides ensuring that the cost fits your budget, be sure to ask:
• What type of packages are offered?
• Can they customize a package to suit your needs?
• Are engagement photos included in a package price?
• Are digital images included?
• How long for the proofs to be delivered?
• Do they do the image processing or send them out to a third party?
These are just a few factors that determine price. I will discuss more in future articles.
Contract for Services
The final thing you want to discuss with your local photographer before hiring them is the contract for services. Both parties need to agree on what parts of your event will be covered. For example, if discussing a wedding, determine how many hours of shooting are included. Does it include a free engagement session? Do you need a second shooter? What happens if the weather doesn’t cooperate? If necessary, can the event be rescheduled and under what circumstances?
It’s key that both parties have a clear understanding of the details of the services provided. The contract is an important document that can be referred to if any clarification is needed both before and after the ceremony. Therefore, it should clearly outline the expectations of both parties.
Making a Successful Match
In summary, doing research about local photographers will increase your chances of a successful match between you and your photographer and photographing your event in such a way that provides wonderful images to last a lifetime.
Tips to remember:
• Ask friends and family who they recommend for your event
• Do your research. Check out the photographer’s Facebook, Google+, and Instagram accounts.
• Do they have good reviews online? If so, how many reviews?
• What’s their specialty: wedding, high school senior portraits, or something else?
• Narrow your list down to 2 or 3; then drill deeper into the details.
• Make initial contact with the photographer.
• Meet for a face-to-face consultation.
• Make a list before the meeting of question you want to ask.
• Determine the best fit both personality, schedule, and budget-wise.
• Discuss packages, pricing, and contracts in detail.
• Understand your contract for services.
A history tidbit about wedding photography
In 1826 wedding photography was introduced and since practiced as a discipline of photographic art. It has evolved through a long way of experiments in technical, structural and artistic content shifts. Selection of a right wedding photographer in Decatur, Champaign, Bloomington or somewhere in Central Illinois won’t be a hard job if you focus on certain points in photographer’s portfolio, photographic styles suits your personality, expectations and budget.
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