Anyone who picks up a camera can call himself a photographer, but that doesn’t mean he’s someone to whom you should entrust your wedding or portfolio to. When searching for a photographer, you should only work with those who are true professionals, people who can provide quality work for your portfolio. With a little know-how, you’ll be able to tell the difference between a legitimate, reputable photographer and a wannabe.
Far to many are buying a DLSR at Wal Mart, setting up a FaceBook Like Page, and calling themselves a legit Photographer.
Add the term “GWC” to your terminology. GWC stands for “Guy/Girl With a Camera.” Simply put, a GWC is a guy/gal who spends a lot of money on a professional camera and somehow thinks he is now qualified to shoot Weddings, Models, Boudoir, and oh my! In the majority of cases, the GWC has no experience or practical training and simply wants to entice young and naïve aspiring models into taking pictures that involve nudity or semi-nudity. Or make the money off a Bride searching for a bargain!
It’s tempting to hire a low cost photographer for your wedding if cost is driving your wedding planning decisions. But how do you know if you’re getting a talented newbie who is still building his or her portfolio — or a rookie who simply hasn’t mastered the craft enough to artfully capture wedding day?
Here is some comparisons of quality to ask the potential photographer and see if they are worth your hard earned cash.
A Professional DLSR Camera VS a Consumer DLSR .
I see a lot of people getting a Cannon Rebel at WalMart and calling themselves Photographers, the problem here is with a camera it really is a matter of you get what you pay for. A professional quality camera can enlarge on print with exact clarity and sharpness. Where as the other guys can’t. If your photographer is using a Cannon Rebel and it cost less than $800 don’t give them your money!!!!!!
Ask The Photographer Who There Lab Is. (If they don’t get that lingo, run)
A professional Photographer should be able to state their lab immediately and take down their names and go look them up. A amateur will most likely not have a solid answer for this, because they are going to get you memories developed at WalMart, Wallgreens, or Shutterfly.com. (note these printers cant handle high quality printing and always get the color and tone wrong. And lets not mention the cheap paper) The lab should specialize in professional portrait printing alone. I have 3 labs, one local I can run to, one for my printing host, and one for my specialty prints.
Ask For A Physical Portfolio
This will be a significant factor in distinguishing a true photographer from a GWC. With todays technology and the ability to right click and copy. You need to see physical prints, a boot legged image won’t print well at all.
Also you don’t want a photographer who has experience not only shooting friends for free but with shooting the type of photography that your seeking — Weddings, Families, Quinceanera’s, fashion, commercial, promotional, or other. If the portfolio doesn’t showcase any of this work, is really poor quality or if he doesn’t even have a portfolio to show, move on. Even if you aren’t a photography expert, it is very easy to tell good photography from bad photography, although you may not be able to tell good photography from great photography.
Do They Have a Brand ?
Look for a professional Watermark, Logo, and Website. A real photographer won’t jeopardize their work being stolen and claimed by an amateur because this is their living! A real photographer invest in their art and craft by getting these to separate themselves from the wannabes!
Do They Have Session Contracts and Wedding Contracts?
If not run! These people do NOT know the severity of the business all and not having these will Not Protect you, your investment, and memories! These contracts are upheld in civil court cases, incase they don’t produce what you agreed on. A GWC will just be wanting to be paid and can disappear! This also cancels out any re wording or chances of misrepresentation. Here are a few signs that your potential wedding photog might be more at the wannabe level than wedding level.
Ask What Program They Edit With and to see the Program on their Computer!
Heavy filters that look like Instagram or Phone Filters. This is a dead giveaway that someone is playing the role of photographer but doesn’t have the skill set — or the needed equipment — to capture shots in the same way a seasoned photographer can. Don’t be alarmed if a photographer has these on their social media or randomly in their portfolio; the red flag is for if the majority of a candidate’s photos have been given total makeovers.
Ask Them What is RAW format?
A real photographer will know what this is, say YES, and be able describe it to you!
You want RAW shooting because this is the most high quality and control a photographer can achieve. Here is the definition so you will know what your asking about and see if you get the right answer!
Note that there are plenty of professional photographers who have established themselves without formal training in college. These photographers do not fall under the GWC category for the simple fact that they either took some classes, studied as apprentices with experienced photographers or taught themselves and now run their photography business successfully. Don’t confuse these professionals with the GWC.
- You can tell if you’re dealing with a GWC by doing your homework and researching each photographer you plan on working with.