Choosing a photographer isn’t always easy. There’s so many “photographers” out there, how do you separate the good from the bad?
Here’s my top 7 tips for choosing a boudoir photographer to make the filtering process easier.
Having great equipment doesn’t necessarily make you a great photographer, but having the right equipment can make a huge difference. Not only that, a professional photographer needs to have the expertise to use the equipment he or she uses, and the financial backing to keep it updated.
Often, when you see a boudoir photographer who has low session fees and low print prices, this is a major red flag. They most likely haven’t invested in high end professional photography equipment or it could be they don’t know how to run a profitable business. Contrary to popular belief, photography is an expensive business to run. One of the most expensive parts of running a profitable photography business, in addition to marketing and advertising, studio fees, certifications, and professional programs is the need to maintain and professionally update our equipment so the photographs we create are quality.
If you are looking professional photographer with experience and top of the line equipment, you will not be able to book sessions with them for $100. Nor will you be able to walk out out the door with a few 8×10’s for under a few hundred dollars.
Photographers don’t make a living from session fees alone, we make them from our print sales and it’s vital to our survival as artists and professionals that we charge according to our work, our time, and the investment we have made into our businesses.
Photography is an investment and if you want a professional that has dedicated their life to it, continues to do workshops and seminars every year to evolve as an artist, and is 100% committed to quality, you have to understand although it may not be “cheap,” it will be worth it. It goes without saying, in all things, you get exactly what you pay for.
When scouting for boudoir photographers, it’s incredibly important to take a look at their portfolio. All of it. By looking through what they consider their best photos, you can determine what type of light they excel in, and if they have a consistent look. If they seem all over the place, and if their subjects don’t really seem well lit, it’s a sure sign that your photos will turn out the same way.
Lighting is one of the most important aspects of professional photography. If a photographer doesn’t know how to manipulate existing light or position proper artificial lighting, then you don’t want to work with them.
The best photographers are positive people with high energy and high output. This is because they understand how important it is to keep you motivated and feeling good about yourself during the shoot.
This is why it so important to begin the process with an over the phone conversation. Only by talking to them can you discern whether they are a good fit for you, and if the session will bring out the best in you. If they pass the phone test, meet them in person to discuss your session. Remember, this is an investment you’re making, it should be with the right person.
Another thing to look into when choosing a good photographer is if they give good direction. I run into this problem all the time with clients that come to me and tell me their last photographer did nothing to make them feel comfortable, nor had the ability to give them proper direction to bring out the best in them. Good photographers understand that the majority of their clientele won’t be professional models, and that it’s up to them not only to give good direction, but to be encouraging, and help people become comfortable doing something they don’t do all the time, like being in front of camera.
One of the best ways to judge this is, again, by looking through a photographer’s portfolio. If people look relaxed and at ease, and if there is a diversity of unique expressions in the mix (and a general absence of nervous features), then you’ve struck gold.
Photo sessions are supposed to be fun, so for your own sake, find a boudoir photographer that has a bit of character! You don’t want to spend a session being bored and generally awkward when you can easily find someone upbeat and fun to be around. Usually if you talk to someone on the phone before booking with them you’ll get a good idea what they’re like.
Determining a photographer’s level of experience comes down to a few distinct things:
- How long have they been a photographer?
- Are they self taught or did they go to school?
- Did they work for someone else before branching out on your own?
Each photographer will vary slightly based on what they’re experience has been. There are a lot of great self-taught boudoir photographers out there, but you need to be careful because there are even more terrible ones. People who have been photographers for 40 years may have less pizzazz then those who have only been doing it for ten, but have a more creative fresh eye.
Research your photographer, find out your story, the right level of experience will make them trustworthy, which is exactly what you need.
Not every professional photographer has a studio, but chances are, the ones who have been successfully running a profitable photography business in the same area for a while, will have a studio.
If a photographer doesn’t have a studio, you’ll have to ask them where they shoot: in their house? Out on the street? Without a studio, there’s a greater risk, but with a studio, the photographer is in complete control of the environment. Just something to consider.
You want to look your best, right? Quality photos are professionally retouched, there is no exception.
I have been retouching for more than ten years and lots of love goes into perfecting my images. I can spend up to 2 hours on one photo. I retouch images to look as though they came right out of a magazine. Not to say one way is either right or wrong, that’s just my style and what esthetically pleases me.
So you want to consider how YOU want your fished images to look. Check out their website and weigh them against your standards. Does their work employ quality retouching, or do their photos on their site and blog have flaws in the skin, have they taken the time to retouch flyways or stretch marks?
When it comes to professional photography, it’s up to you decide what your standards will be. And doing your research, and keeping these things in consideration, will make choosing the right photographer for you that much easier.
If you have a tip for finding a professional boudoir photographer, a question to ask me, or if you want to share an experience you’ve had with a photographer who wasn’t all you thought they were, don’t hesitate to let us know in the Comments below!