With over 225,000 professional photographers in the US, finding the right photographer and specialist to capture and immortalize your significant moments may be a daunting task. While anyone with a camera may claim to be the best headshot, newborn, boudoir, event, or wedding photographer, do not take their words for it. A professional photographer should be able to shoot compelling pictures, edit and retouch photos, and deliver your portraits in the finest print. While searching forums and hundreds of websites for a suitable lensman can be time consuming, checking a photographer near me directory is an easy way to contact a good local photographer. Before concluding on hiring a professional photographer near you, you should also ask the following questions:
Are You Licensed, Registered, or Certified?
Photographers are typically not required to obtain a state-issued license to provide their services. However, this is not always the case in some areas of residence and some counties, cities, and municipalities may require photographers that operate within their boundaries to obtain locally-issued licenses. An example of this is the City of Milwaukee, which requires professional photographers to obtain a license before they can provide their services to members of the public. As such, it is always a good idea to find out what is obtainable in your locality before hiring a photographer near you. You can do this by contacting your state's consumer protection agency.
While photographers do not generally need a license to provide their services, they may voluntarily enroll in different certification programs such as the Certified Professional Photographer program and New York Institute of Photography Certification program. It is always a good idea to hire a photographer that is certified. Getting certified does not only mean that the photographer has successfully learned how to use various techniques and lighting, it also means that they have learned how to relate with clients as professionals.
Finally, it is common to see photographers that belong to professional associations such as the Professional Photographers of America (PAA), the American Photographic Artists (APA), and the American Photographers Association. Though membership in a professional association is not compulsory, it is best if the photographer you want to hire belongs to one. This is because these associations have established codes of conduct that ensure that their members are honest and very professional in discharging their duties.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Photographer?
The cost of hiring a professional photographer is determined by factors like the photographer's reputation and experience, the type of service they are expected to provide, your location, and the amount of time it will take to finish the job. Photographers typically charge $29 - $250 per hour for their services. While some photographers may request down payment before they offer their services, others will only request payment when the service has been provided.
When you want to hire a professional photographer near you, there are certain steps that you can take to ensure that the cost of doing this does not exceed your budget. These steps include:
- Research photography prices in your area: Before you hire a photographer near you, it is important to find out the prices to expect based on the service you need. You can ask two or three photographers what they will charge for the same service so that you can know what to expect from the photographer you finally hire.
- Ask the photographer to provide a breakdown of the total cost: When you want to hire a photographer, there is always a possibility that they will inflate the price of their services. Therefore, it is important to always ask the photographer to provide a breakdown of the total price. This will help you identify what is necessary and what is not, especially as in many cases, photographers may charge you for extra services you do not need.
- Ask the photographers to include all hidden costs in the estimate they give you: When you receive an estimate from the photographer you want to hire, ensure that it contains hidden costs such as the cost of prints, editing, CD, and flash drive. Failure to handle these costs at the initial stage may result in making extra payments you did not budget.
What Are Common Photographer Expenses?
Apart from the standard hourly or fixed fees, you may also incur some additional expenses when you hire a photographer. Some of these expenses include:
- Traveling expenses: When you hire a photographer near you, there is always the possibility that the service will not be provided within the photographer's locality. In many cases, photographers are required to leave their counties, cities, or even countries to do the job. Traveling expenses typically include hotel fees, airline ticket costs, and gas and mileage fees.
- Location expenses: While some photography sessions do not need special locations, others require you to rent a location. For most lifestyle or product photography sessions, renting a location is almost unavoidable. The cost of renting a location varies from place to place but you can rent a studio space for $30 - $100, a styled Airbnb for $300 - $400, and a large Uber luxe home for $1300 -$2000.
- Variable expenses: These expenses are determined by the type of shoot the photographer is expected to do. For instance, if you are hiring a fashion photographer, there is the possibility that you are paying for make-up, styling, casting, retouching, and assistant fees as well.
- Props: A perfect commercial photo is a combination of many things such as your story, your product, location, and props. Props are anything that adds meaning to the main subject in a photo. Props include, but are not limited to, stationery, candles, fresh flowers, and food. When it comes to your choice of props and location, some photographers expect you to make the decisions while others offer expert advice on locations and the types of props you need.
While some photographers include these expenses in the photography price, others do not. It is always a good idea to discuss how these expenses will be covered before hiring the photographer. You should also agree on a payment plan that suits you and the photographer before they render any services.
Who Will Do the Work?
Photos and videos are important marketing strategies and as such, it is important that whoever is handling your job has the expertise to produce what you need. Most photographers do not work alone, so before you hire a photographer, it is always a good idea to ask who will do the work. Always make sure that the photographer that will handle your job is adequately experienced. You could also ask to see pictures of any work they have done in the past. In addition to this, you should also speak to the photographer who will be doing the work about your expectations for the job and make sure that the photographer has a clear understanding of what you expect to achieve from the photoshoot or session.
What Qualifications Should a Photographer Have?
Photographers are required to have a high school certificate or its equivalent. While a post-secondary school certificate is not mandatory for this profession, photographers may voluntarily obtain a bachelor's degree in photography to improve their skills and employment prospects. However, work-related skills are typically cultivated over years of practice. Most photographers learn on the job, by working with experts and more experienced photographers. Photographers are also expected to have learned how to use photo-editing and retouching software since most services will include post-production improvement.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are currently 133,500 photographers in the country. Some of these photographers obtain certifications from professional bodies like the Professional Photographers of America and the Texas Professional Photographers Association. Though certifications are not compulsory requirements to become a photographer, certified photographers are generally more competent than their uncertified colleagues.
Will You Provide Reference?
When you want to hire a photographer, it is always a good idea to ask for references. You could ask the photographer to see pictures of any work they have done in the past. Most photographers keep a collection of their best work from previous clients. You may also ask the photographer to provide you with the phone number or any other contact details of people they have worked for before. Ensure that you contact these people to find out about the photographer. Doing this helps you to determine if the photographer is fit to do your job.
In addition to directly asking the photographer for references, you can also get recommendations on experienced photographers from family and friends. You can also visit third-party platforms such as Better Business Bureau and Yelp to find trustworthy photographers near you. These platforms also allow consumers to post unbiased reviews on individuals that they have worked with.
Quick Facts about Photographers
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Expert Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Photographers
How Do You Develop a Photo?
Most photographers develop a photo using any of the three main forms of photo development processes, which are the black and white development process, color negative (C-41 process), and color reversal or slide film (E-6 process). In addition to this, some photographers may also use the pull and push process to increase or decrease the sensitivity of the photograph being processed.
How Do You Develop a Video?
Most photographers can develop a video using a camera that records either still or moving objects and events such as weddings, fashion shows, and many more.
What Are the Different Photo Editing Services Offered?
Most photographers offer different photo editing services which include, but are not limited to, background adjustment, photo retouching, color changing, image masking, virtual makeovers, night photography adjustment, color replacement, and red-eye removal.
What Sort of Commercial Photography Do You Do?
Most professional photographers are trained to render all sorts of commercial photography including editorial photography, property photography, product photography, lifestyle photography, fashion photography, location photography, and many more.
What Is The Difference Between Photo Editing and Retouching?
Editing simply involves simple photo corrections such as cropping the image, adjusting exposure, contrast, color vibrancy, and saturation to produce a particular effect or style without touching the subject in the photo. On the other hand, retouching is the process of changing the skin and body of the subject in a photograph. Most print photographs pass through one type of retouching or another.
Does Retouch Work on Videos?
Yes, retouching works on videos. With this process, you can add color corrections, adjust lighting, and remove background items and blemishes from your videos.
Can Old and Expired Film Still Be Developed?
Yes, old and expired films can be developed because the components of an old film do not go bad all at once. However, it may be impossible to develop an old film 10 years after its process date.
What Makes a Well Designed Commercial Photograph?
A well-designed commercial photograph is a product of proper planning, timing, and expertise. Most professional photographers can produce a well designed commercial photograph by using the following elements :
- A well-thought-out color strategy.
- Compelling composition.
- Efficient use of lighting including front light, side light, backlight, and three-point.
- Effective use of modern commercial photography techniques such as smoke sensations, high speed, slow motion, and many more
- Effective use of props and location.
What Are the Qualities of a Good Photograph?
While every photograph has a purpose, it is very important that you know how to identify a good photograph when you see one. A good photograph typically contains essential qualities that make them stand out. Listed below are qualities of a good photograph:
- A good photograph is thoughtfully composed. This means that the elements in the photograph are arranged in a way that produces compelling and interesting outcomes. Photographers employ several techniques such as framing, patterns, contrast, negative space, leading lines, depth of field, rule of thirds, and rules of symmetry to produce the right composition. Photographers don't need to use all the techniques at once, the most important thing is that the images are properly arranged and structured.
- A good photograph contains adequate lighting and exposure. It pays attention to the relationship between lighting and the subject in the photograph.
- A good photograph is one that easily captures your attention through the display of emotional content. Images that display genuine emotions are evergreen.
- A good photograph tells a simple story about the subject in a photograph. Besides composition and emotion, photographs are judged based on how well they inform the audience about the subject in the photograph. Good images can capture moments in history for everyone to see.
- A good photograph leaves room for its audience to make sense of what they are seeing. It provides just enough information to fuel your imagination.
- A good photograph pays attention to details that others ignore. For instance, photographers can capture important moments in everyday life that are overlooked.
- A good photograph can revive iconic moments. Photographers can capture a moment that was created or modeled after a popular pop culture. This is produced by combining the right on-set props, dramatic lighting, and editorial posing.