Selecting a Photographer

PPA wants to help make your photographic memories even better.

Many think of hiring professional photographers for baby portraits and weddings. However, a professional can help you in almost every event and time of your life…if you want a beautiful record, select a professional photographer.

Find the photographer who is the right fit for you:

Find-a-PhotographerSelecting a Wedding Photographer
Your wedding only lasts one day, but you’ll want to hold onto the pictures forever. Unfortunately, statistics show that many brides take big risks with their memories…by simply not knowing what to look for. To help you select a photographer who will make your wedding story one-of-a-kind, try these suggestions:

  • Interview several photographers. Ask questions about their styles. Most wedding photographers offer either traditional, posed portraits or a candid photojournalism style. Some offer a combination. You should also ask if the photographer specializes in black and white or color photography.
  • Look at samples. Ask to see albums that show wedding coverage from start to finish. This will give you an idea of both the style and quality each photographer provides.
  • Ask about backups. Always ask if the photographer carries back-up equipment. Also, make sure the photographer has a ready replacement who can photograph your wedding if he or she becomes ill.
  • Develop a relationship. Look for a photographer who you are comfortable with. Remember, you are not hiring someone to simply take pictures, but to tell the story of your special day. A skilled professional will want to know about the bride and groom – your personalities and preferences.
  • Communicate. Make sure the photographer has a clear understanding of your expectations. Take the time to sit down and discuss the services provided and the fees involved. This helps avoid any future misunderstandings.
  • Photo or video? Photography and videography are two distinctly different fields—both requiring extensive training to produce high-quality results. Depending on your personal taste and budget, you may want both photo and video coverage of your wedding.
  • Ask about credentials. Membership in a professional association, certification or a photography degree shows a level of commitment to the profession and their photographic art. These types of credentials can help you determine which photographer is right for you.
  • Check references. A friend’s recommendation, the Better Business Bureau and professional associations are excellent sources of information.

Remember to use Professional Photographers of America’s free referral service (Find-a-Photographer) to help you locate the right photographer for you. Search the Find-a-Photograher database for a professional photographer or call (800) 786-6277 for assistance.

Find-a-PhotographerSelecting a Family & Children Portrait Photographer
The images created by professional photographers touch every aspect of your life and give you a beautiful way to preserve those memories. A portrait can be enjoyed in many ways, whether you incorporate it as a wall portrait in your home decor or purchase copies of the final print for the entire family.

Consider the following tips on selecting and working with a photographer for your family’s portrait needs:

  • Interview several photographers. They should be willing to take the time to listen to what you want and ask questions about you and/or your family. A photographer needs this information to create images that tell the story of who you are, or who you would like to be. Keep in mind that you are not hiring someone to simply take a picture, but to tell your story.
  • Ask about style. Do you like photojournalistic images? Or is your style more classical, whimsical or romantic? Let the photographer know what you have in mind, and ask if he or she has experience in that area. You want them to use the style that best captures your personality.
  • Look at samples. Ask to see some of the photographer’s work. This will give you an idea of both the style and quality each photographer provides.
  • Additional services. Some professional photographers may provide specialized services in addition to photography. These services may include retouching, for removing blemishes or otherwise altering images; photograph restoration, which can help preserve memories from past generations; and custom framing, to make your portrait look its best. While your photographer may not offer all of these services, he or she can refer you to a quality vendor.
  • Communicate. Make sure the photographer has a clear understanding of your expectations. Take the time to discuss the services and fees involved. This helps avoid any future misunderstandings.
  • Ask about credentials. Membership in a professional association, certification or a photography degree shows a certain level of commitment to the profession. These types of credentials can help you determine which photographer is right for you.
  • Check references. A friend’s recommendation, the Better Business Bureau and professional associations are excellent sources of information.

Once you’ve hired a photographer, he or she should take the time to talk to you about your family and their favorite activities, as well as offer suggestions on location and coordinating clothing and colors. The photographer will use this information to create a photograph that tells your family’s unique story.

In fact, many families make their portraits more memorable by turning them into an event. One way of accomplishing this is traveling to your favorite location, like local parks, your family’s place of worship, or at a family member’s home.

Remember to use Professional Photographers of America’s free referral service (Find-a-Photographer) to help you locate the right photographer for you. Search the Find-a-Photographer database for a professional photographer or call (800) 786-6277 for assistance.

Find-a-PhotographerSelecting a Senior Portrait Photographer
Once upon a time, everyone’s senior portrait looked the same – but not today. Now, high school seniors are seeking a creative approach to this time-honored tradition. While some high schools have a "contract" vendor for senior portraits, many parents and students are selecting their own photographer. And PPA and SEP can help you in your search!

It can be a tough decision, so here are some tips for selecting the right photographer for you:

  • Style. Make sure the photographer offers a style both parents and student can appreciate. According to PPA’s research, both parents and students place a high value on the memories captured by senior portraits; so the style chosen should appeal to both.
  • Flexibility. Find a photographer who is flexible enough to meet your needs. For instance, many seniors desire portraits at their favorite location, or want to have a few images made with their best friends. Make sure your photographer understands your needs and is willing to fill them.
  • Comfort. One of the most important aspects of photography is the relationship between the senior and the photographer. If you are uncomfortable with the photographer, it will show in the final images. Make sure you have a good rapport with your photographic professional.

Remember to use Professional Photographers of America’s free referral service (Find-a-Photographer) to help you locate the right photographer for you. Search the Find-a-Photographer database for a professional photographer or call (800) 786-6277 for assistance.

Find-a-PhotographerSelecting a Commercial Photographer
PPA members include some of the industry’s best commercial image experts who make it easy to capture the image you need. Our commercial members are trained in all aspects of imaging from the initial capture to digital manipulation. And with more than 20,000 imaging professionals in about 54 countries, PPA can help you find the commercial photographer who is right for your project – and that means success.

Remember to use PPA’s free referral service (Find-a-Photographer) to help you locate the right photographer for you. Search the Find-a-Photographer database for a professional photographer or call (800) 786-6277 for assistance.

Selecting a Photographer for Restoration & Retouching

Possible Solutions

If some of your photographs have already suffered some damage, here are ways that photographic artists can help preserve and restore old or damaged photographs:

  • Find-a-PhotographerRips and tears can be eliminated.
  • Faded prints can be enhanced.
  • Stains can be removed.
  • Spots and scratches can be repaired.
  • Black and white colors can be colorized.
  • A photo can be copied if the negative is lost.

Where to Find an Artist

  • Check the Yellow Pages. Artists will be listed under photographic restoration.
  • Call local photography studios. Many studios work with photographic artists and retouchers.
  • Use Professional Photographers of America’s free referral database (Find-a-Photographer) to find a photographic artist in your area – just click on the "Find a Photographer" link to search or call (800) 786-6277 for assistance.

Selecting an Artist
As you select a photographic artist, consider this advice:

  • Look at samples. PPA advises asking to see "before and after" samples to give you an idea of the quality of the artist’s work.
  • Communicate. Take time to explain your expectations to the artist, and discuss all the fees involved to avoid any misunderstandings.
  • Check references. PPA members abide by a code of ethics and have access to the association’s year-round continuing education programs.

Remember to use Professional Photographers of America’s free referral service (Find-a-Photographer) to help you locate the right photographer for you. Search the Find-a-Photographer database for a professional photographer or call (800) 786-6277 for assistance.

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