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Your Guide to Finding the Perfect Local Photographer

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If you’re looking to find the best local photographer for you and you’re not sure where to start, this is your guide to get started.

Have you quickly become plagued by the thousands of photographers in your area and you’re not sure how to choose the right one to take your photos? Worry less, this article will help you identify the most important aspects to consider when hiring a photography service provider so you can feel empowered to invest in the perfect photographer for you! Continue reading for helpful tips and save hours of time on by using this guide.

Tip #1 Hire A Photographer Who Has Experience With The Type Service You’re Looking For

Get familiar with the different types of photography services out there, and the standard rates for the service you’re looking for. Then, do a Google search search on photography service providers in your area.

There are different needs and budgets in all service industries, from budget friendly, to luxury markets.

It is a good idea to do your own online research on the average cost of a photography in your area because standard rates vary from city to city, as well as the type of photography service that’s being offered. The experience of a photographer can also play a factor in overall pricing.

For example, a photographer just starting out isn’t going to be charging as much as photographer with years under their belt. Another rule of thumb, portrait photography services are generally more affordable than let’s say, wedding photography services. But a photographer may charge premium prices if they specialize in that type of photography, so that’s not always a clear indication of price. In other words, if a photographer has a specialty and they are skilled at what they do and are highly sought after, their prices will reflect that.

Once you figure out what type of photography service you are looking for, portrait photography, branding photography, wedding photography, etc., figure out the type of experience you want to have, e.g. budget friendly, average, luxury. What type of budget matches the type of service and experience you want?

Recap: Online research will help you better understand what a photographer can offer you with the budget you are presenting.

Before inquiring with a photographer, you can:

  • Familiarize yourself with the average cost of photography services in your area
  • Ask yourself what type of service & experience you are looking for
  • Have a budget in mind that matches the experience you want to have

Here’s a quick road map for the pricing you can expect to match the type of experience you’ll get:

  • quick + cheap = $
  • middle of the road = $$
  • personalized + lux = $$$

Maybe there is a photographer that you really want to work with but they are a bit outside your budget. Why not start a photography session fund and save up to work with this photographer? Once you’ve hit your goal, reach out!

Tip #2 Hire A Photographer For Their Personality

The most fun aspect about choosing a local photographer that’s right for you is to choose a photographer that you like and vibe with

We love working with and interacting with people we find fun and enjoyable. Why should choosing a photographer to work with be any different?

This is my advice; choose a photographer you like. I can’t put a number on how many friends I’ve made online or role models I have based around me loving their personality and I haven’t even met them in real life. I even have my own personal list of local photographers in Portland that I would love to work with in the future. Service providers are using social media to share about their services and many are posting content that let’s you get to know them. That means you can get a gauge for who they are before you reach out. I know that I am not the photographer for everyone and I actually prefer that. I don’t need to be “for everyone,” I just need to continue being myself so the right people can find me.

I want to attract the artists wanting to showcase their work, musicians looking for album art, creativepreneurs wanting professional marketing material, modern brands wanting to stand out online, artistic young seniors wanting to feel unique..and people that just love bold and colorful imagery. I love working with individuals to create bold and personalized portraits, it’s my jam.

I am able to offer individuals that want to work with me a much richer experience over those who hire me just because I pop up first on Google. Who you hire matters in your overall experience so don’t forget how important this one is!

Tip #3 Hire A Photographer For Their Artistic Style

The most important aspect in hiring the photographer that’s right for you is to carefully consider if their artistic style is what you’re looking for.

A photographer’s artistic style, in other words, edit style, is in my opinion, the most important aspect to consider when choosing a photographer in your area to work with. Here’s why.

Let’s say a photographer’s prices are persuading you but you don’t love how they edit photos. Chances are you aren’t going to like the photos you get back. Is it worth it to spend money on photos you don’t like and will never use? I don’t recommend this route.

Of course there are other aspects involved when it comes to a photographers style like the gear they use, composition, posing, lighting, and other attributes…but a photographer’s editing decisions are crucial to the final artwork and is ultimately what gives a photographer their unique style.

If you take my editing style for example, I lean toward a bold, colorful, and highly contrasted aesthetic. I love photos that stand out with a saturated look that is bold, edgy, bright, punchy, vibrant, and artistic. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you look through a photographer’s portfolio ahead of time so you know what they can offer you.

Recap: A photographer’s edit style is the most important aspect in choosing the right photographer for you

I highly encourage choosing a photographer based on their artistic style because what you see is what you get. Every photographer wants you to be ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE with the photos they take of you. If you’re having doubts about a photographer in the beginning, it’s best to move on and find someone whose style matches exactly what you’re looking for.

Don’t settle for a photographer just because you like their prices. That reason won’t be worth it when you receive photos back that you dislike and regret paying pay. This segues perfectly into the next tip..

Tip #4 Hire A Photographer For Their Professionalism Over How Much They Charge

The most controversial aspect when it comes to hiring any service provider is the investment. Here’s my advice. You get what you pay for.

I’m just going to give it to you straight. There’s a reason photographers charge what they charge. A lot of it comes down to running a business which isn’t easy, and making a living is a basic human right. At the end of the day it’s true what they say, you do get what you pay for. A turn and burn photographer can’t deliver a high quality experience because they’re too busy to. A photographer delivering a premium experience will be charging a premium rate. So it really does come down to figuring out what type of experience you are looking for.

I can tell you stories about all the times I’ve purchased a low value offer and been disappointed with what I received. I ultimately felt like it was a waste of not only my money but also my time and I learned the hard way that I was truly better off saving up for what I actually wanted. In the end, I didn’t save any money. I actually spent MORE money because I had to pay for the service twice. I bought the cheap option, I didn’t work and I wasn’t happy. So I saved up for the thing I actually wanted, and had no regrets. Not only did it work but it met all of my needs, saved me time, and left me feeling pleased with my buying decision.

Recap: We all work hard for our money. Make sure to spend it on something you truly value and will feel good about investing in.

This isn’t to say there aren’t good services out there in low price points. But how do you know who’s worth hiring and who isn’t?

I prefer to hire service providers that know what they are doing through a proven track record and will answer my questions honestly when asked. The best photographers have experience, know their value, and give an outstanding product and service born of their passion. I personally don’t invest in low budget service providers because I don’t want to be disappointed. On top of that, when a service provider undercuts the industry, I know that means they’re going to be over worked and not able to take care of me in a way that I want to be taken care of because I know they’re just too busy.

Lastly, I would never choose to invest in a service provider that didn’t actually care about my experience, the final product, or me, because it’s not just an investment of my money, but also my time.

Unfortunately, this is a lot of photographers at low price points because they are too busy to properly care for each client. If i’m booking a photographer I want to feel 100% taken care of. That is a non-negotiable for me and I know that cheaper service providers can’t give me the experience and attention to detail that I am looking for.

TLDR; How to Choose The Best Local Photographer For You Recap

Choose a photographer whose artistic style you love. Choose a photographer that has experience in the type of photography service you want, and can give you the experience you are looking for. Choose a photographer whose personality and brand speaks to you.

DON’T choose a photographer because they are cheap. Do your research on local photographers in your area to learn the average of what photographers are currently charging. Ask yourself what experience you will get with the budget you have. Equip yourself with knowledge to hire a photographer who will take care of you and deliver an incredible experience, if that’s what you are looking for.

Choosing the best photographer for you doesn’t have to be a difficult or stressful. Just remember to keep these important aspects in mind as you search for the photographer that’s best for you. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with a photographer you like and have been considering hiring. Perhaps they have insights to share that you wouldn’t have known about unless you asked!

Looking to hire a portrait photographer in Portland, Oregon? Click here

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