Photography prices vary. A lot. And deciding how much to pay for a professional headshot or portrait photoshoot can be difficult. Post discusses what to consider when deciding whether to hire a pro photographer.
This is a different kind of article on how to go about learning photography. It presents a strategy for learning photography that may seem counter-intuitive. There are what seem like a million tutorials on different types of photography including what to learn, choosing gear, and opinions on best techniques, but I cannot say I as often see posts on how to proceed. How to learn photography is the kind of subject that can leave you feeling overwhelmed – especially in the beginning when everything is new and when the more you learn the more you realize you know nothing. Although this is also true for other subjects, it seems especially true for photography, since the latter encompasses not only what happens behind and in front of the camera before you press a button, but what happens after – what you do with the image created. Photoshop alone can be overwhelming to master.
Like many other professional photographers, I often wonder just what is the perceived value of great photography today. I see it a lot from many sources, most typically social media posts that query connections: “Does anyone know anyone good with a camera who isn’t too expensive?” I see these queries for Wedding Photographers, Portrait Photographers, Event Photographers, Real Estate Photographers, … heck, practically all types of photography. I see these requests in on-line ads from people querying absolute strangers. These posts and ads typically look for a trained worker – one who isn’t going to cost a lot of money – someone safe to work with, and one who will respond to an important event in a reliable and professional manner with skills, equipment, and experience sufficient to produce beautiful, insightful, and long-lasting memories. Each time I see these queries, I can’t help but wonder if the people posting them have thought through in detail what they are really looking for, what they are really risking, and what they are really willing to settle for.
Finding the best headshot photographer near you is not easy these days with photography skills varying greatly and advertising dollars influencing top search results. Recently I searched online for the best portrait and headshot photographers near me according to the Internet and for those paying to appear first, in order to find who my nearest competition was, who was rating “best” photographers (along with criteria they used), and what I might do to increase market share. I searched for a list of photographers and clicked links leading to a couple well known sites. I did this in several geographic areas. I also looked at recommendations from two sites that train and promote their student photographers. Since portrait specialties vary, I thought I might be able to identify gaps in my imagery and/or offerings. Did I display enough of a contemporary look in my portfolio? Did I need to show more ¾ length portraits? Did I need more headshots vs. portraits? Did I need more images with different color backgrounds? Did I need to add environmental portraits, and so on.
It’s morning. You stumble into the bathroom and slowly gaze into the toothpaste spattered mirror. You don’t recognize the face looking back at you. (Gasp!) You notice your eye bags, deep. There are dark circles under the stranger’s eyes.