Trying to decide on a photographer can be a daunting task, and before you even begin googling or scrolling through Instagram, you’ll need to narrow down what style you prefer. The main differences will be the shooting and editing style. There is the formal posed style, the more relaxed style, and the blend of the two. Add in the editing style you like, and you are nearly there. I would recommend starting on google. Searching simple terms like Perth newborn photographer, Perth family photographer or maternity photography Perth. This will give you good ideas of names to put on your list and then of course instagram and best of all; word of mouth!
My style is and has always been simplistic, which means I like to let the focus of my portraits be the subjects I am photographing. I keep my outfits simple and make sure that the styling matches the location and setting, and that nothing in the image is distracting. As for posing, I’m a blend of posed and relaxed. My lighting and my editing are what I know set my work apart. It’s every photographer’s aim to be ‘recognizable’ to their clients, and this is one of the reasons why I hand edit.
I recently got asked by a client if I keep my greens green or edit them to be brown? The answer is yes, I keep them green simply because they ARE green! I will adjust the hue to make my greens more emerald or my yellows more golden if that is what suits the image, I will however, stay in the realm of that colour space and not totally desaturate or eliminate a colour, which is what a bought preset might do. Presets are comparable to filters you apply to an image. When you hand edit, all images are edited with attention to detail. Adjustments will be made to the RAW file and the majority of the work will usually be done in Photoshop. The process will be done on all images individually. Presets can be applied with just a click. Many presets will desaturate certain colours, reduce whites, and alter the highlights and shadows. I know these are the images my clients, who ask about turning greens to browns, will have come across.
When using a preset created by someone else, you will most definitely still have to do some fine-tuning such as exposure, colours and effects to portray the style you want, but you can essentially edit the gallery in a quick batch and achieve a very uniform looking gallery.
For me, this simply doesn’t work. I find it similar to applying one shade of foundation to 10 different skin types. It doesn’t look true to my eye. The grass and the skin shouldn’t both have an orange tinge. I also find that changing the natural colours in an image with a preset/filter will date the image! I remember selective colour (shudder) and trust me when I say, those images are totally dated! Think back to Sepia… it’s dated.
I can definitely see the benefit of using presets if you are editing a large number of images. Most wedding photographers will have created their own presets to suit their style and will also know exactly what lighting situation they are working under, so they can make suitable adjustments. This will shorten editing time and avoid repetitive work across multiple photos.
This leads me to explain why I don’t deliver galleries of 100+ images. It would take far too long to hand edit that many images, and it’s not what my style or brand is about. I want you to have timeless pieces of art that will hopefully become signature pieces for your home. The way I shoot means I don’t need 100+ images to do that. We need a quality selection of beautifully composed and edited images.
The next thing I would highly recommend looking at is the technical capability of the photographer!
“All the gear and no idea.” Have you heard that saying? It doesn’t matter what equipment you have if you don’t have the technical knowledge to use it! Look at the photographer’s portfolio and know that they are showing you their best images. Look at their website. This is where you will find the most dated images, as we are usually too busy to update them regularly. Look at the images and check to see if they are too sharp or too blurry. This is usually a result of poor technique. Are the photos well-lit or do they look muddy? You can see this clearly in skin tones and shadows. Are the colours true? Some prefer a preset look, others prefer a painterly look, but regardless of what look you like, do have a look at the quality of the images.
creativity & consistency
Creativity is important, but so is consistency! Your photographer should be able to consistently deliver a gallery that is on par with the work you see on their websites. Again, it comes back to the capability and experience of the photographer. A photographer with no experience might have fantastic creativity, but the quality of those images might not live up to your expectations. I firmly believe that once your technical foundation is set and you gain experience, your creativity will have room to soar. Again, this is why I hand edit. I would feel far too restricted within the parameters of using a preset. I like to build the photo from composing it in camera to finalising it in Photoshop.
This seems like a big one, but it’s not! Most professional photographers will offer you a payment plan. Having professional photos taken is an investment you will never regret. It’s also an investment that continuously grows in value. Photos of your newborn baby will be worth so much more when your baby all of a sudden turns 15 (my reality in a few months) and photos of you in your children’s photos will be worth more than I can explain to your children.
Now, price is not a guarantee of quality service. There is definitely a limit to how low the cost can be if you are running a business, but I still see a lot of people in our industry charging less than that. That might be because they are doing photography as a hobby and haven’t got the daily business expenses, but I think, as with anything, the cheaper you go, the more likely you won’t get the result you are after. The best in our industry are usually full-time professionals with lots of experience. Their prices are higher because they have invested in their businesses and themselves. This will include ongoing education, equipment, client wardrobes and so on.
I hope this helps you decide on which photographer is right for you and please let me know in comments if you have any questions!