(Closed) How to tell you have a good photographer

posted 7 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
Member
5118 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Ours were crisp, clear, very vibrant colors, had a variety of focal points (some closer, farther, off to the side, faces, full body, etc), and had a personal feel to them. You’ll find that some work just draws you in while other styles just aren’t ‘you’ as a couple. We happened to find a great photog that clicked with us and we loved her work. To us, it’s honest (not too shnazzy/artsy), couple-focused, clean lines, nothing out of focus/blurry/washed/vintaged (some folks like that, it’s just not our style), and great colors and contrast. 

There may be some other threads on here re: what makes good photos, and I know we have some bees on here that are photographers as well. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable on the topic can help you out more 🙂 Welcome to the hive, and happy planning!

 

Post # 5
Member
1405 posts
Bumble bee

Stick will the well known pro’s who have been servicing your area for many yrs, you will find out who they are once you start researching and asking venues for rec’s.

Post # 6
Member
635 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@DocT: I asked to see full weddings of every single photographer I talked to. The less experienced photographers had lots of bad shots (i.e., backs of heads, awkward angles, bad lighting, etc.). There were some really nice shots, of course, but lots of clunkers.

When I looked at the photographers I ended up choosing, I loved nearly every single shot they had, out of 700+. The lighting was good. They got the shots I want at my own wedding. We just got our engagement pics done and I really like them, so this method worked for us!

Post # 8
Member
399 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I think this is a great resource for consumers: http://www.takeoffyourmommygoggles.com/

It’s written from the perspective of a portrait photographer (telling mom’s to take off their mommy goggles and recognize that just because it’s a picture of their kid doesn’t mean it’s a GREAT picture) but she discusses wedding photographers too and much of the advice applies to the wedding photography field as well.

judging photographer’s websites: http://www.takeoffyourmommygoggles.com/consumers/judging-photographers-websites/

what are fauxtographers? – http://www.takeoffyourmommygoggles.com/consumers/what-is-a-fauxtographer-2/

I absolutely recommend reading through each of the little articles in the “Good the Bad and the Ugly” tab – she goes into how to spot over and under exposure (with photo examples and explanations), focus issues, poor business practices, whacky skin tones, etc. I especially like the part where she explains the taxes issue and how fauxtographers are ABLE to price the way they do because they AREN’T paying taxes on what you pay them – http://www.takeoffyourmommygoggles.com/2011/03/08/i-owe-i-owe-paying-taxes/. If they were all legit businesses they wouldn’t be able to charge what they charge and not lose money on each wedding/portrait session they do.

Post # 9
Member
120 posts
Blushing bee

photos that tell a story (and everything PPs have mentnioned above!)

Post # 10
Member
10287 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

@USER876: I have to disagree with this. Sure, the most popular photographers are probably great but there is still a lot of talent out there that won’t show up on the first page of a google search. Our photographer was fantastic and he’s not one of the most well known in my area. In a few years he very well may be but he recently relocated to my area so he’s still setting up shop. If I would have gone with one of the well known pro’s, I would have spent thousands more on my pictures and received the same caliber of work.

OP, decide what kind of feel you want for your pictures and go from there. We knew that we wanted a photojournalistic approach so we opted for someone who specialized in that. Before meeting with our photog, we spent hours looking at his online galleries for not just his weddings but also everything else that he shoots (engagements, babies, nature, maternity, portraits, etc). His pictures were crisp, the colors were vibrant and the quality was there. When we met with him, we saw hundreds of additional pictures which were equally as great so we booked him. We got our pro pics back about a week and a half ago and we couldn’t be more thrilled with how they turned out. They were exactly what we were looking for and considering how much we paid ($900 for everything), we got an incredible deal. Had we gone with one of the “populars”, we would have spent thousands more for virtually the same thing. 

Post # 11
Member
399 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@UpstateCait: $900? Sounds like they might be a new photographer, perhaps with talent, who’s not running a legit business/paying taxes. USER is suggesting finding someone established because it’s the safer route to go.

Post # 12
Member
1405 posts
Bumble bee

@UpstateCait:  This isn’t good advice for the OP, who admitted is having trouble evaluating the quality of work.  I gave the OP “safe” advice so they don’t take any chances.

Post # 13
Member
10287 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

@BeeM: Not new at all actually and I assure you, his business is very much legit. There are great deals out there. Not everyone had to pay thousands of dollars for wedding pictures. 

Post # 14
Member
10287 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

@USER876: Maybe going with a well known (i.e. expensive) photographer is the “safe” way to go but it’s not always the best. I couldn’t be happier with my professional photos and I didn’t go with one of the “populars”. To be completely honest, our pictures are leaps and bounds better than some of our friends and families who opted to go with the well knowns and spend a fortune. 

Post # 15
Member
399 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@UpstateCait: Perhaps running a legit business now, but no photographer can stay in business (legit business) charging $900 for 8 hours coverage. Income tax and self employment tax take about 35% of that right off the top. With all of the post-processing work that goes into it, your photographer made about minimum wage to do your wedding IF he’s a legit business paying taxes, and that’s without considering the cost of equipment and other business expenses. Would you do all of that work for less than what you could make working at the mall?

I saw your recap – not the worst I’ve seen from a $900 photographer, so you somewhat lucked out, but it’s not the best advice to give to someone who is saying they’re having trouble differentiating a pro from someone who isn’t. The OP said nothing at all about budget so I don’t think suggesting she look for someone cheap on craigslist is the most sound advice.

Post # 16
Member
7311 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

Beyond what everyone has said here, I think you can tell a “good” photographer by his/her references. I chose 3 random Saturdays of the previous fall season, and asked for the contact information for those brides. All 3 brides gave glowing recommendations of our photographer, and said that they would not hesitate to use her again. That, coupled with the fact that so many of her brides have become repeat clients (maternity photos, family photos, love shoots, etc.), helped reassure me that not only was her quality good, but that her personality and business practices were good as well.

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