Disclaimer! I’m not a professional photographer, while at one point a few years ago I did consider opening a photography business. I realize now that I had no idea what I would have been getting myself into! I have learned so much since then, and realize I have so much more to learn. I am currently happy with photography as a hobby. If you are a hobbyist, and are thinking of taking your photography to the next level, here are a few points customers may be considering when looking for a photographer (in no specific order).
What customers look for in a photography business
1. Shooting and Processing Style:
Do I like the photographer’s style? Each session should have the same “style”. I have read over and over again that when finding one’s own shooting and processing style, the photographer should think of a few words that they want their clients/viewers to think or feel when seeing their portfolio. And the words may change over time… but as a whole, is the photographer’s work cohesive? Let’s face it, word of mouth is where most photographers get referrals. And as a customer, I would want to make sure that I’m getting the style that I am paying for. For example, a lifestyle photographer’s images should reflect that style of photography.
2. Processing Style:
Do I like the processing of the image? Will it match my personal/family style? Does every session/sneak peek have the same feel as the other? Is the processing consistent? Is the style of processing cohesive? Again, a customer wants to know what they are paying for. While some people love B&W, others clients prefer color, vintage, ethereal, hazy, etc. The photographer’s portfolio should reflect the style that will be delivered to the client so that there aren’t any surprises.
Is the quality consistent? Are all of the images in focus? Does each session feel fresh and new? Unfortunately, most customers are not going to be experts at critiquing the technicalities of photography. But as business owners, I think photographers should be displaying work that they can be proud of and would pay for themselves.
Can I afford custom photography? Pricing is all over the place in photography. Personally, I think photography is worth saving up for, but I love photography and know the time that it takes behind the scenes. The customer will want to know how much to expect to pay for what she would like out of the session. How much are prints versus digital files? Can I get prints? Can I buy digital files only?
Will the photographer shoot on location or consider new locations? Is there a traveling fee for longer distances?
In this age of technology, an easy to navigate website is essential. My personal preference is simple. This allows the images to take center stage. If a customer cannot quickly and efficiently locate portfolios and pricing (or a way to obtain pricing quickly–as some are not published), the customer is likely to be attracted to a business where he/she can.
6. Photographer/Client Relationship:
Does the photographer put the customer at ease? Are there rescheduling fees/cancelation fees? Is the photographer easy to converse with and does he/she respond in appropriate time frames? Is scheduling convenient?
Does the photographer specialize in the type of photography I’m looking for? Maternity, Newborn, Seniors, Weddings, Family? People are good at what they love! If a photographer shoots only seniors, it is probably because they enjoy it and are good at it! When looking for a family photographer, I want someone who loves shooting the dynamics of a family (and has experience keeping the little ones in line!)
And a self family portrait by Kelly herself!
What do you look for when hiring a photographer?