There are cowboys in every trade and photography is no different. Don’t get me wrong, most of us are salt of the earth, what you see is what you get, over the moon to be doing a job we love and just grateful to be earning a crust. But unfortunately, the minority still exists, who will rip you off and provide you with shoddy, unprofessional prints. It is a particular let down if you have hired someone to take your wedding photographs, only to have sub standard photos presented to you a few weeks later. It’s not as though you can go through the whole wedding day again can you?
So, how exactly can you go about finding a good, trustworthy photographer? Well first and foremost it is always good to go on recommendation. I would say that around 75% of our business comes from other people having recommended us. Word of mouth advertising and positive testimonials are crucial in gaining trust and indeed for building future new or return custom. There are certain standards that most photographers like to adhere to and some may even be accredited with the PPA’s Certified Professional Photographer program, which acknowledges and validates a consistent standard by which professional photographers can achieve and maintain a recognizable mark of excellence.
It is always worth doing a bit of background research before you hire a photographer. Check out their website; does it look professional, are there examples of their work etc? Arguably, anyone can put up some photos on a website and could in fact make up their own testimonials, so why not phone a few photographers up and ask if you can visit them to see some examples of their work and to talk through with them what you had in mind for your own photos. It is good to get a sense of whether you naturally click with a photographer, because you both need to understand what your expectations are. Also, ask them whether they are a member of any recognised photography institutions such as BIPP, AOP, The British Photographic Council or The Royal Photographic Society. Unfortunately, there are no set rules as to whether someone can or can’t set themselves up as a photographer, but if they are a member of any of these groups you can at least be assured that they take their art seriously.
Think carefully about what kind of photographs you would like done; what sort of style you like, examples of other photos you have seen and liked. Professional photographers should have a broad portfolio of their work and will have their own unique style, so ensure that it matches what you are after. Don’t be talked into having something you don’t really want, just because that is what the photographer does and they want your business. Ultimately, the most important thing you have to remember is that these photos are capturing your memories.