There’s a lot of things to consider, when choosing not just a Seattle photographer, for your next shoot but any photographer you choose to hire for that matter.
Since we live in an age where everyone considers themselves a “photographer” it’s really important that you take a number of things into account before pulling the trigger.
What are they?
Get your photos back in a timely manner.
If there’s anything I pride myself on, it’s getting photos back to clients in a timely manner. That’s why I make sure to send a first round of photo edits to you, within 2-3 business days of your shoot.
After that, getting a finished product really depends on how much work/editing you need done to each photo to reach your end goal. And being clear as to what kind of expectations and rounds of edits were agreed upon in your initial contract.
Review your photos as they’re being taken.
If there’s one thing that I’ve found separates pro photographers from non pro photographers is having the ability to show you your photos as their being taken. In our industry, this is called, “tethering.”
What tethering does is allow the photographer to hook his or her camera up to a computer/mobile workstation, where you can instantly see each photo being taken within a few short seconds.
Why would that matter?
Rather than hoping the photographer you hired got all the photos right after finally getting to see them days after your shoot, now you can have added peace of mind that clients know exactly what they’re getting — right then and there! And if there needs to be any changes, during the actual shoot. Instead of waiting days (or even weeks) later to make them — helping to eliminate any concerns or guesswork as to whether or not any number of variables are working or not working to reach your end goal. Getting amazing photos that accurately represent who you are and what you do, in the best way possible.
Receive the highest quality photos using the latest equipment.
I typically meet one of two photographers. Those who are young and spend all kinds of money on the latest and greatest equipment — trying their best to get (or pay for) as many “followers” as they can. Most of the time, with little to no regard on how to deal, in a professional manner, with a client.
The other kinds I meet?
Those who seem to be super-experienced and have been in this industry for 10-20 years and still plug-in their lights to the wall — carrying around 50lb. battery packs to power their light. Something that’s gone out quite a long time ago.
My point in saying this?
Just be careful with those who tend to have “a ton of followers” or “decades of experience.” Personally, I pride myself on having just the right balance. Spending more time on getting clients over Instagram followers. And making sure I have the latest equipment with the actual understanding on how to use it.
Have someone who is just as professional as they are creative.
Sometimes it’s not easy to tell until you actually talk to someone on the phone, or hire them.
Hiring a photographer who is just as professional as they are creative allows you to not just get great photos, but gives you added peace of mind they’re going to show up to actually take them. Plus, be someone who can both do what they say and say what they do.
Access a global network of esteemed photographers.
Depending on their experience, there comes a time where either the photographer doesn’t know the answer to a question or tries figuring it all out on his own. Being a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) it’s important make sure any photographer you know has access to some of the most esteemed photographers in the industry — incase an important questions arises they might not have the answer to.
For instance, I recently had a client ask me to do a shoot out of state. To make sure I didn’t shoot myself in the foot (no pun intended), or have the client feel as if I was ripping them off in added hotel and travel costs, I quickly jumped on a call with a “well-known photographer” from ASMP. He told me to check the typical per diem rate in the particular state I would’ve been shooting for travel and gas expenses set by the government. I then went to their site, and told my client that these are the federal per diem rates for the current state.
What did this do?
Two things. It allowed them to see I wasn’t ripping them off using some bogus off-the-top-of-my-head numbers. And what that did for me, is feel good about what I was charging — so it wouldn’t come back to bite me in the you know what.
Feel helped. Not sold.
I was on the phone with a lady who was trying to sell me something and at first, everything was fine. But as time went on, she kept bothering and bothering me about signing up for her service — to the point that I felt super pressured into buying from her, that completely wound up turning me off.
Personally? I know how it is to get the hard sell, and would rather help you instead of hard-sell you on something. So you feel good about working together. Not pressured.
Choose quality over popularity.
I’ve done it myself. I’ve hired a photographer out of Portland, Or to redo the pictures on my website a few years back. I fell in love with her photos, the amount of followers she had, her likes and what type of service she provided.
So I hired her to come out to Seattle, and she was an absolute nightmare to deal with.
Not only were the photos nothing like what she had on her Instagram page, but it took her WEEKS to get back my photos that should’ve taken just a few days... Told me that she had to charge me extra for some things that weren’t in her contract and didn’t agree to… and told me she had problems with my payment (even though she was the one having problems with her bank).
In short, I will never hire someone solely based on their followers or the pictures they have up on their Instagram account. I’d rather pay more for someone who is just as professional as they are creative. And from someone who gives me the kind of photos I need, on time every time. Instead of the multitude of headaches I don't need.
WHO AM I?
Hi, I’m Jared Kessler and I’m a Seattle-based photographer who lives just outside of Seattle, WA with my wife Kelly and our two corgis, Bert and Bodhi.