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Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer

Posted on by Derek Wyatt
Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer

Good Day Everyone!  The title of this blog post is completely self-explanatory…I’m going to share my top 5 ways to hire the right photographer.  This is advice I would offer my little sister if she asked.  The information is taken from a presentation I gave a couple of months ago at the Rosenberg Skyroom during their Quince/Sweet 16 Training Camp.  And I wrote it to be applicable to teens and their parents…but frankly, shopping for a photographer consists (*correction – “SHOULD” consist) of the same processes no matter what session or event you are shopping for.  So, I adapted the language away from quince’s and teenagers specifically and here’s how it came out.

Honestly, it’s common sense advice that you all probably know and, as you read it will wonder why the heck I felt the need to write it down and share with you.  But sometimes and for some people, planning an event or photo-session can be daunting and overwhelming.  And, even though this is common sense, sometimes it’s nice to be reminded and reconnected to it.  It’s easy to get lost in the clutter of thoughts like “there’s so many options” and “I don’t know a THING about photography”, etc.  And it can make you feel unsure of yourself of even like you don’t have control of your decisions.  So here is the text from my speech on : The Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer (with some pretty pictures thrown in for fun! 🙂 ) 

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

 

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

 

“Hey Gang…my name is Derek…. 

   I, along with my wife Aimee started Moments & Milestones over 10 years ago now.  And since then we’ve had the WONDERFUL chance to work with thousands of clients for their quinceaneras, sweet 16’s, weddings, senior portraits, family portraits, corporate events and on and on…we’ve been doing this for a while.  And it has been an amazing journey for us.  And I’m here to give you some tips that we’ve picked up along the way to help make sure YOU guys have an amazing journey as well…at least as peaceful and as happy as you can be when you’re overstressing your time and overstressing your budget! 😊  And one thing I feel very qualified to help with is how to find, interview and book the right photographer.

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

One thing to remember…keep this very clear in your mind…you are hiring a company…a service.  Just because you are entering the world of “artists”, don’t let that keep you from getting what ANY professional company should give you : 1. The right price.  2.  The right service.  3. The right quality.

And how do you find the company who can do that?  I’m going to make this simple and easy to remember by sharing my top 5 ways to make sure you hire the right photographer…in order.

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

BUDGET!

  • That’s right…before you get to go to the store to buy your shiny thing…you have to know what you are able to spend on it!  Be brutally honest with yourself about this…no “wish-list” budgets that are impossible to maintain.

Don’t let the industry tell you what your budget is!!  You determine the cost!!

(Side note – if you need help establishing a budget, talk to us or another event planner.  We’re happy to serve you.)

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

  • When you Google San Antonio photographers – it’s almost scary how many options come up…it feels like you’re in a jungle with so many options to choose from and you’re never going to make it outta there!  But today, we’re going to turn this around and use this to our advantage.  Because if there is SO much competition out there…someone will be able to do what you want at a price you can pay. 
    • So *YOU* choose your budget! And let that help you narrow down the list of potential photographers out there!  If they don’t fit your budget – they’re out of the running! 

(Side note – if you find someone you REALLY like, and their website gives pricing that’s over your budget…it’s never a bad idea to just call/email and ask. There’s a lot of competition in our industry…so sometimes (not all the time, mind you) but sometimes the photographer will meet you at your budget point…so before you lose your #1 choice for photographer, definitely ask if they’ll help you out.)

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

STYLE!

  • The nice thing about deciding the first step is it knocks out a lot of potential photographers… now we’re going to knock out more…this one is way more fun than budget!  Now, I know you guys are not professional photographers and you don’t have to be to do this correctly…we’re going to look at photographer’s overall business style (not just their photography style).  And that is something you are very qualified to judge. 
    • Start with their website site/social media – is the presentation professional?  Are the pictures pretty?  Do they make you feel like you’d be SUPER proud if those were YOUR pictures?  Do they make you feel inspired or emotional?  Or not?

Do you feel like this photographer’s overall online-presentation is drawing you in…or turning you off?

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

    • What we’re trying to determine is the STYLE in which our photographer does business.  If he or she is excellent in the processes at the beginning, that’s how we judge that we can take their word for it that they provide excellence later where it counts…but, the opposite is true as well.
      • Please note that if you cannot tell the style in which the photographer does business by their online presentation…then this person/company has decided that educating their potential clients isn’t important to them…and my advice would be to set that photographer aside.Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning
        • And this may seem completely obvious, but please, please know that, as with all services, talents and companies – not all photographers are created equal. And then, even if they’re talented, it doesn’t mean you connect to their style of work!  (It’s kind of like me with country music…I understand that many of the country artists have talent…but it doesn’t mean that I ever choose to listen to their music! 😛 )
        • We live in an age of information…you have access to the photographers websites, blogs, social media, and reviews. And I would start looking at them in that order.  Start with their website.  This should be the welcoming hub for you as a client.  Are you attracted to the images they display?  The colors they choose in their brand?  The way they describe their company and their processes?  Remember – you should feel SOLD!  You should feel excited!  Here’s a key thing to remember when you’re shopping for a service –

If they can’t make you feel good during the sales process – it’s doubtful that you’ll feel good where it counts – The Product!

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

    • So, if the photographers image is stale & lacking or you don’t connect to it…move on.  Find websites that you love, double check their social media to make sure you are still just as excited about them, double check the reviews (and they’d better have some reviews somewhere!)
    • And then…it’s time to reach out and contact them. If it were me, I’d reach out to 5 or more of them.

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

Communication!

Any photographer you reach out to should be literally tripping over themselves to connect with you! They should be so excited and honored that YOU are giving them the chance to work for you – that you should be loved on the minute you call or hit send on the initial email.

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

  • Did they answer in a respectful time? I usually give companies a 24 hour time-frame to respond.  Any longer than that and I feel like they’re communicating to me that *I* am not a priority.  And if you don’t have time for me when I’m holding out my money asking to meet with you and potential book you?  Yeah, that doesn’t give me confidence that you’ll have time for me after I’ve give you my money…so, moving on! 

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

  • But ok, let’s say you get some quick responses! Here’s the next couple of things to look at :
    • Are they personable? You loved their website – do you still love them after speaking with them or reading their emails?
    • Do they give you the respect to write out full emails – an opening, a middle and a closing? (I don’t feel like *YOU* have to communicate this way – but someone you’re considering giving money to should certainly find the time to speak in full sentences.)
    • Do they answer your questions, explain their services, and describe the next steps?
    • Or do you feel like you have to call/email over and over to get the info you really want?  Or to understand what to do next? 

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

If the communication is acceptable, relatable and professional – book a consultation.  If not…move on. 

You want someone who treats you like the freakin’ princess you are!

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

Consultation!

I want you to promise to do something really important when you hold a consultation…I want you to let the photographer run the meeting.  This is very important.  Because you HAVE to feel like you can release control to them…you HAVE to trust them to guide you in the right direction to get the best results and the best product.  And they, in turn need to prove to you that they are competent and secure enough to gain your trust.  And you absolutely cannot determine that relationship if YOU are the potential client (or parent of the potential client) run the meeting!

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

Whether you are a natural leader (or just bossy), resist those urges! Let the photographer guide you.  And see if you like it!

  • Here’s what to ask yourself :
    • Did the meeting make sense? Was there an obvious flow?  Or was it random, unprepared, and awkward?
    • Did you get LOTS of information on every step of their processes without having to drag information out of them?
    • Did you see a ton of examples of their work?  You still happy with them?  Or did seeing more make you rethink?
    • Do you feel like the photographer was an open book about their processes from the day you sign the contract, to the day they deliver your product? Or are you confused…maybe they didn’t explain things well?
    • If you make it this far into the consultation, did you get a professional contract to sign?

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

  • And here is my personal #1 thing that I look for during consultations – Did the artist focus on you?  Or did he/she talk about themselves the whole time? 

Kinda like a first date : if they spend the whole time talking about themselves…no second date!

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

Heart!

Lastly, but in NO way leastly, I’m going to ask you to make the final decision by judging from your heart.

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

  • OK let me back up…at the beginning, I told you to make sure to remember you are choosing a professional service – and business. You are doing a business transaction.  And, with everything up to this point, you certainly need to remember this! 
  • But…you are also hiring an artist. You are hiring someone who is going to represent you on one of the biggest days of your young life.  One of the most expensive days of your young life too! 😊 
  • And, not to put it too simply…but it is now down to a simple concept – you have to make sure that you like them!
    • Do you FEEL that they connect to your vision?
    • Do you FEEL that they respect you and will put you as a priority?
    • Do you FEEL like you can release your trust to them and their ideas?
    • Do you FEEL absolutely excited with them?

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

  • Whatever list of photographers you’ve narrowed it down to…this should be what helps you decide.

OK folks…I hope this helps you a bit.  I only have a few minutes today…there are more things that we could discuss in detail : what you need in your packages, what kind of equipment should your photographer be using, what’s in their contract, do they carry insurance and how much, etc.  But honestly, if you use the steps I offered today you’ll find the right people to help you get all of those answers too.

So, I’ll leave you with one more bit of advice, and this advice is not just with photographers but with ALL of the vendors you choose for your event…find vendors who you feel have a teacher’s spirit.  They should feel like they could be your coach or mentor.  You should not feel “pulled” through this process…confused…like you are blindly trusting people and hoping they make good decisions for you.  You should feel educated, so that you can make your own wise decisions from beginning to end.  You should feel like choosing these vendors actually helps you gain control. 

Top 5 Ways to Hire the Right Photographer San Antonio Family, Wedding, Quinceanera, Sweet 16, Studio, Maternity, Newborn, Event Planning

Someone who takes the time to empower you to make this the absolute best event for you…because you are absolutely worth it!”

 

Welp, that’s it folks.  Thanks a ton for sticking around to the end.  I hope you got a few good thoughts out of this…or, at least, maybe it confirmed you were already thinking in the right direction.   And if you’d like to stay connected to us and the blog, enter your email address into the “Newsletter Sign-Up” down at the bottom, left-hand of your screen and you’ll receive an email from us every other week with some cool info on photography and event planning.

And if you have questions for us, don’t hesitate to CONTACT ME…we’d sincerely love to hear from you  Or, leave your questions in the comment section, I promise I’ll get back to you right away.  Until next time ~

Cheers everyone…

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Derek Wyatt

About Derek Wyatt

The goal of life is to take a HUGE bite out of it, then figure out how the hell to chew it, right? Maybe it’s just me??
OK well my day is spent connecting with all kinds of people, learning about them and understanding their story and their passions. Afterwards, I get to live with my beautiful wife and 2 lovely daughters…it’s a pretty good life!

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