Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. First and foremost, look at examples of their work. Lots of people can take "PICTURES" but you need the right tools and "know how" to take "PORTRAITS". Lighting is crucial, and a professional photographer knows how to light their subjects in ways that flatter them.
My next bit of advice is to make sure you're comfortable with the photographer. If they can't make you feel at ease, it will show in your portraits. If you're not comfortable with them, don't work with them. There may be nothing wrong with the person but, if you're not comfortable it will show in the portraits.
Lastly, you get what you pay for! LOL
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. Now that I've been on both sides of the camera I can honestly say that there is a lot more to taking Portraits then just pointing a camera and pressing a button. Most customers don't understand how many variables there are for each portrait. You need to know what kind of lighting you're working with, how to set the camera for proper skin tones, exposure and shutter speeds. A portrait photographer has to pay attention to a lot of details most people over look, like if a necklace clasp is showing, what shoulder long hair should be in front of, or how to eliminate glare in glasses without simply removing them.
Until I started working for a studio, I never thought about how much goes into making a great Portrait!
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. For starters you'll want to ask if the person provides the services you're looking for. There's no sense talking to a news photographer if you're looking for your daughter's senior portaits.
Next you'll want to ask about how long they've been providing the service. There's a lot to learn with Portrait Photography. Lots of people think they can just set a couple of lights aside a snap away. In all honesty though if the lighting, pose and camera settings are just a little off, a great idea for a portrait will simply look cheap.
Lastly you'll want to ask about rates. Everyone has a different budget these days. You may love one person's work but if they're out of your price range, there's nothing you can do. I'm not saying to go for the cheapest guy on the block though. Work within your budget and make sure you're happy with the person's work and that you feel comfortable around them.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. I've worked with a wide variety of photographers over the years. Some have had a very traditional approach while other have had their own vision of perfection. I don't claim to be the best at what I do. I'm still a student and always will be. I produe great qaulity images but I'm always learning new tricks. What makes me different is my approach to each and every client. I don't look at them as a customer. I look at them as a friend. I want to provide them with the best images I can possibly give them. In order to do so I sit with them and make notes about what kind of images they want. Knowing before hand if a bride isn't comfortable with her figure, allows me to adjust camera angles or poses to help flatter her. Knowing that I'm willing to work with a customer to give them the best experience possible is what my customers love about me.
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. I wish people understood how much thought really goes into portraiture. It's so much more then just snaping a picture. A photographer has just a few minutes to get to know a person. In that short time they need to relate to them and understand what kind of personality they have. They need to be able to know the difference between a person's real smile or a fake one and they need to be able to figure out what kind of photo that person will be happiest with. While knowing how to take a great picture is important there is so much more to it. A person may know how to take a great portrait but if they don't know how to interact with the client and make them feel at ease, they'll never get a really great portrait.