Everyone is a photographer these days...I get it, DSLR's are way cheaper than they used to be when they first came out so I can see how most people pick up a camera and feel they can take pictures. But the real truth is that just because you have a camera, does not mean you know how to take great photos and even study or practice the craft.
The art of photography is a journey and one that takes time to develop just as with any other craft. While some photographers have a background in art or graphic design, most photographers are self-taught but please keep in mind, either-way the learning process takes work and effort on behalf of the photographer so to avoid getting someone who is only trying to swindle you out of a buck or use you for practice purposes without telling you, here are some things to look for during your search for a photographer:
Do you like their style of photography?
Every photographer has their own style that represents them. One photographer said that during a photography session with multiple photographers asked to photograph the same item, each photographer photographed the same item differently. Why? Because every person has their own individual style and art is typically very hard to duplicate.
Take a look at some of their photos in advance and see if you like their style. Some people like bold colors, while others are drawn to quieter tones. Some people are drawn to blurred out backgrounds while other may not care for blurry backgrounds as much. Take a look at some of their other photos and if you like more than three photos, then you probably like the style of that photographer.
Although posing may seem like something minute, it is a skill that takes time to learn based on certain techniques to actually make a photograph look good. Take a look at some of the poses in the photos being presented from your potential photographer. Do the poses seem natural or forced? Do you like some of the poses that are being presented and could you imagine yourself doing similar poses?
Are You Comfortable with the Person Shooting You?
This small piece of advice right here is probably the most important. Photographers get to know so many small and intimate details about people and being comfortable with the person(s) shooting you is a significant factor. Ask yourself, are you comfortable around them? Do you seem to take a liking to them? Do you even feel comfortable enough that you could shoot nude. Not saying that people will be asked to shoot nude, semi-nude or Boudoir, but saying that this is the level of comfort you should have because you are being exposed during what is considered to be an intimate process. If you can answer yes to these questions, then half of your search for a photographer is complete.
Is your photographer willing to having a consultation?
If you find a photographer overly eager to shoot you and not find out exactly what you want out of your photos or what kind of personality you have then you may be in trouble. Most decent photographers want to take the time out to get to know their subjects for photoshoots based on personality, style, and the wants and needs of the client. Although a consultation is not mandatory, there should be some kind of exchange of information so the photographer can find out exactly what you want and work with you to incorporate any of your ideas or concerns into the photos because after all, it is your photo shoot!
Is It Easy to Get Reviews or References?
Getting reviews or references about a business should be an easy process and if you are finding a ton of negative reviews from different people then that information should be taken into consideration. Also keep in mind that we are in a digital age where anyone can type in anything about anybody, so if there are 15-20 bad reviews on a site, most likely the photographer is not good. If there is 1 or 2 negative reviews then something personal happened that could not be resolved. Either way, things do happen in business and everyone is not always going to be happy, so use your information, your gut, and some common sense when making business decisions and choosing your photographer.