Presenting images with personality

How do you choose GOOD photographers for your wedding, bar/bat mitzvah or event?

Not everyone knows what makes good photographs and they don’t know how to choose a good photographer for their event. What are you supposed to look for?

There are so many photographers out there it is a daunting task to choose a good photographer. In fact, some newbies are quite good sometimes and most often cheaper than professional photographers.  However, when they see all the results of a newbie amateur…well,you deserve better.

Good photography and a good photographer doesn’t come cheap mind you. There is expensive equipment to purchase and maintain and there is technique to be learned and continually upgraded.  And the cost of building and maintaining a website is not cheap today either.

All that is well and good, but what I want to know is How Do I Know What To Look For? Just like buying anything, you do need to know what you are looking for to make the right choices.

Most people don’t know what they are looking at is bad photography! Here are some things to think about when searching for a good photographer:

1. It’s in the lighting. A good photographer knows how to create beautiful images in any kind of light whether  in a dark banquet room or outside in the summer heat. That photographer knows how to adjust their camera to get consistent quality images.  When there is a loss of detail, it is overexposed. If you can only see white faces and black backgrounds that image is underexposed or the photographer doesn’t understand camera settings.

2. Composition makes a balanced photo. If a photographer crops in so close as to cut at a joint such as wasteline or elbow, the person either looks huge or that he or she lost an arm. That is so unflattering. Professional photographers crop in between joints to make for a beautiful balance.  The eye should be drawn to just one point of interest in each photo. Do you get confused as to where to look in a photo? Is more than one thing going on? That is bad. One point of interest…that is good!

Also not every person in a photo should be centered. If you are shooting a family in a beautiful setting, most often including mountains or streams and the natural environmental symmetry makes for a spectacular image.

3. Focus. Photos should not be fuzzy or soft. They should be crisp especially the face, and eyes should sparkle.

4. Contrast  If the photographer shows you a flat image, run away! Images should have contrast from light to dark to hold your interest. It makes a two dimensional photo look like it is three dimensions and pops off the page likes its real life.

5. Backgrounds. So many photographers zoom in so tightly they don’t get how to incorporate nature’s beauty into their images. Not good! A good photographer knows how to do that. That is what makes them good and you should be looking for that kind of photographer for you.

Are you getting my point???!  

What You See Is Not Always What You Get–Choosing a Professional Photographer

Choosing a Wedding, Events, Portrait or Corporate Professional Photographer in the 21st century is vastly different. Photography is vastly different! No longer the result of spending years learning camera technology, lighting, film processing, chemicals, enlargers and years of schooling; digital technology has all but replaced those processes. Photography now is instant, easily accessible, and you don’t have to spend hundreds of hours learning the trade or spending thousands of dollars on camera equipment.  Point and shoot cameras and cell phone cameras along with photoshop and other software editing programs make picture taking easy and prolific. The results are pretty fantastic considering the lack of training.

As a result, everyone thinks they are professional photographers, and the market is flooded with those cell phone amateurs posing as professionals. But put these amateurs in a real wedding, event or corporate setting and you will see that what you see is not always what you get.

Real photography professionals understand lighting, camera technology, posing, composition, and the decorum of the photography client relationship. If you really value your wedding, portrait, corporate, or event photography; interview real professionals. You may be paying a bit more, and it may take a bit more of your time; but you can really tell the difference and quality and professionalism does count. So though the cell phone photos may look good on the phone, what you see is not always what you get.

It’s OK to hire a “professional” photographer.

I recently went on Facebook and clicked into a photographer’s post of a recent wedding she took. I check out a lot of photographer’s works all the time so I can see what is out there and how my style compares. Her pitch was that she can photograph your event, portrait, wedding and you don’t have to pay professional photographer’s prices.

Whoa! The quality of her work was far below a tried and true professional. Really now. If you care about your photos and want to treat them like heirlooms, please please, hire a professional. It’s really ok.

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur!

What makes a great photographer?

Great photographers see what others do not! Great photographers are like artists. They see composition in a scene, they see the symmetry in the background and place their subjects to maintain that symmetry and enhance that person’s features. A great photographer would never let a flag pole or tree branch stick out of one’s head in a photo. A great photographer sees the beauty in all  subjects and sculpts a magnificent piece of art.

A great photographer also builds a strong relationship with her subjects as the session unfolds and that is an art in itself.  Seeing the subject’s soul and beauty inside and bringing it to the surface to allow that person to shine in front of the lens makes for a great photographer’s skills and a beautiful portrait.

Wouldn’t you want that skill photographing YOU?

Service Service Service

Being of service to a prospective client is so so important. Let me tell you a true story that happened to me recently and the one who offered more service got my business. I was looking for new wall to wall rugs for my bedroom and went to two stores. The gentleman at the first store was very attentive and gave me all the details I needed to know including rug swatches. He even offered to order more colors for me and have them shipped by the next day.

I then proceeded to the second store. Again, the kind gentleman was very cordial and gave me what I needed at the time..an estimate. He did not offer to order swatches nor help me in any other way besides a ballpark estimate.  His ballpark estimate for the flooring was significantly cheaper than the first stores ballpark estimate so I had him come out and measure. Within a few hours he called and faxed over his best price but did not call to follow up.

The next day, I went to the first store to return the borrowed rugs and the gentleman asked me for my business. I told him he was more expensive than the other store, and the rug I wanted was the same. He showed me a sign in his store clearly stating he would offer a cheaper price to anyone who brought him an offer from another store. Not only did he do that but he offered me one more thing that I didn’t know I wanted but took and it was the one item that got me to sign.

He went out of his way to provide me with service service service and I signed on the dotted line! I am still waiting for the other store’s salesman to follow up and he has not!

Amazing, huh?

The Devil IS in the Details

How do you choose the “right” photographer for your project? Do you ask for quotes and choose the cheapest? Well, let’s revisit this.

The “right” photographer is the one who pays attention to the details. Do you really want a pole sticking out of your head in a family portrait? Do you really want to see those wrinkles and crow’s feet around the eyes in a portrait because the photographer doesn’t know how to use his/her lighting system in the most flattering way? The bride spends hundreds of dollars choosing the “right” dress for her wedding and the photographer blows out the details. The headshot you need for your new business cards shows negative body language.

Is that the photographer you want to hire because they offered you a cheaper quote? These are subtle nuances separating out the “right” photographer from the wrong photographer. Please choose wisely, and the “right” photographer is the one who pays attention to the details and places the hand in a portrait exactly correctly so it does not take away from the face. Choose wisely when composition is important to you in a highly crafted family portrait so distracting elements don’t take away from the pretty faces.

Those details DO MATTER. Do you want the angel or the devil?!

Hiring a Person, Not a Price. The Value of a Live Chat

I can’t even begin to tell you of the importance of chatting on the phone or in person with your prospective photographer. The payback is enormous when you feel a trusting bond with that vendor.  The day of your event, you know you are in synch with that photographer and that she will give you photos that will bounce off the page and delight your spirit far beyond your wildest imagination. You know it is the right fit.

Or do you want to converse through texting or email and at the day of your event, iron out all the details and spend precious minutes you could be with your guests instead setting up a relationship with your photographer. It doesn’t lend for a very fun day if you don’t have a live chat beforehand.

Hiring a photographer is more about the relationship and the trust that you build together. You hire a person, not a price. If you were looking for a babysitter to watch your most precious commodity…your children; would you hire the cheapest babysitter or the one who is the best fit and who feels like the right one for your kids?

Case closed!

It’s In The Details

So you hire a friend photographer to shoot your family portrait and a telephone pole is coming out of the father’s head. Geez, Mr. photographer professional (?). You didn’t see that?

You shop around looking for the cheapest price for your headshot for social media purposes to find a job. The lighting was so harsh it showed every blemish on your face. Oh, well. The size of the photograph is only ½” x ½” you say to yourself, and no one will really notice. You are kidding yourself, of course, everyone sees that!

The bride spends 6 months looking for the perfect white dress for the most special day of her entire  life and she and her groom hire a friend of a friend not because of his/her expertise as a photographer but because they know that person and can seemingly “trust” that person. The inexperienced photographer blows out all detail in the  beautiful bride’s dress because of lack of experience with exposure.  Boy, glad I didn’t hire that person to do a professionals job!

The details…the visual subtleties are what separate the amateurs from the professionals. Does’ t that matter to you?!

Rebidding a Quote

So I got a phone call the other day asking for a quote on 40 doctors for a new website. It would require going to 4 hospitals whenever the doctors may be free for a quick 5 minutes or less of their time. There would be no staging. Where ever they may happen to be is how I take the shot.

This would take a lot of maneuvering on my part to be available whenever, to travel to 4 local hospitals, and not be able to stage the setting to give that doctor a “picture with personality!”  I gave the individual a terrific quote. She said she knew me and saw me work an event through the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce and would be happy to work with me. Oh, and she said, “by the way, I will be asking another photographer for their quote and if it is lower than yours, I’ll give you a call so you can rebid your quote!”

That’s the way our industry is going. Geez!

 

 

Pretty personalities…pretty faces!

Everyone…yes, everyone has a pretty face. A man, a woman, anyone who is too thin or too heavy or too wrinkly or whatever. We all have pretty personalities and we have pretty faces. You are one of a kind and there is something about you that makes you special. Let a professional photographer capture that in a photo session. Let it shine. If you choose a real professional photographer to photograph you, let it all hang out! Relax, have fun, and let your pretty personality and pretty face shine through. It feels good!

Kind Words

Kind Words

What a great event last night! Thank you for your service. Despite challenges that drove us both back home yesterday, you are a true professional and I always enjoy working with you. I look forward to receiving the photos and working with you again soon!

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