What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
Depending on what kind of service they need, I like to meet with each client in person if possible. I find it hard to get to know a person's personality via emails and texts. Meeting in person let both parties get familiar with each other and work out details that might get overlooked without that personal interaction.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Besides working for myself I also work for other studios where I'm exposed to new techniques and styles all the time. I've also completed numerous online classes and am a member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA).
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I'd done photography as a hobby for years. When the building industry crashed in the late 90's, I turned my hobby into a career.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I've worked with all kinds of customers of all ages. One of the studios I work with specializes in School Portraits. There's so much diversity in schools. Different ages, ethnicities, languages, handicaps, etc. I love working with so many different types of people.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
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
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
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.