How do I choose a photographer? (Part 2)

As you begin looking for a photographer for your needs, you will come across a lot of statements that are meant to sway your opinion and “help” you make your choice. I’m not here to judge the validity of the claims, (they may very well be true), I’m just trying to help you cut through the advertising hype and make a logical choice. A choice that is based on what YOU want.

Along the way I’m adding comments on things that I personally think are ridiculous.

Today we will be looking at what I call…

The “Artist” –

                “(Insert photographers name here) has the rare ability to capture the essence of his/her subject in a magical way….” 

Good! Isn’t that why you go to a photographer in the first place instead of propping the old Kodak on a shelf and doing it yourself, because they have an ability that you/others don’t? 

 ” I go to Joe because he has the uncanny ability to make my car start.” Good skill for a mechanic, huh?

Here’s one of my favorites…

                “I use photography as a means of self-expression – I make pictures for myself, to identify with hidden qualities of my character, to better understand my reality, and to express my interpretation of the world around me blah blah blah.”

                One of my favorite TV shows is Overhaulin. If you haven’t seen the show, it works like this…With the aid of an inside person, the  team “steals” a car from its owner. Then they turn the owner’s junker into a custom car with Chips’ signature style.

Chip Foose is an amazing talent and if anyone deserves to be arrogant in the automotive world, it’s him. If you watch the show though you’ll see that he is very concerned with the “marks” desires for the final outcome. He meets with the insider and finds out what the “marks” intention were for the car. Color, style, use, etc. are all taken into account. Why? because that person is the one who has to live with it.

                Don’t get me wrong… There are some amazing photographers out there that seem to be able to do things with a camera that we mere mortals can only dream of emulating . These guys blaze the trails and set the trends.

                 I want to be careful here. I’m talking more about an attitude than about abilities. People have told me that I’m artistic, and I won’t disagree with them, I think it’s part of the job description, But I would never call myself an artist. I am a businessman, providing a service/product that I expect my clients will enjoy and cherish for years to come. The best way to ensure that my business succeeds is to have happy customers that get what they pay for.

                 From the forums that I read, photojournalistic wedding photographers seem to be the worst offenders. I’ve actually read a  comment from one photojournalistic wedding photographer who said, ” I allow the family 15 minute for posed pictures, no more…” (emphasis mine).  Allow ? This guy is probably charging upwards of $3000.00 for a wedding and he’s going to dictate when and who he shoots at your wedding?  Another demands complete control, from the style to the choice and number of photos that end up in the album, which he creates with no input from the bride. Not if I’m footing the bill!

          What I’m getting at here is this…If you love a particular photographers work, talk to them. They are interviewing for the job. Find out if they are a good fit for the vision that you have for your pictures, not if your picture would fit into their portfolio.

“I don’t know much about art but I know what I like.”…If you paying, make sure you like it.

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