When you are in the process of hiring a photographer for your event, you may have what you think is the best candidate, and then start noticing some things that are a bit off. How do you know you are dealing with a professional event photographer and that you are not making a mistake by hiring them? 

In this article, I want to show you some clear signs you should pay attention to, so you can identify a professional event photographer from the rest.

1. The photographer has a broad event portfolio.

I have talked in the past about the importance of seeing a relevant event portfolio before hiring a photographer. If you cannot spot enough pictures representing what you are looking for, you might be making a blind date approach with them. One of the solutions is to understand if the portfolio is extensive enough, representing situations similar to what you would like to obtain for your event.

2. Check out the technical aspect of the images.

It is a good practice to check out the images you see with a more critical eye and observe if the photographer has the technical skills your event requires. More often than not, I encounter portfolios with loads of technical problems in the pictures. You should be aware of anything from lousy lightning, odd compositions, unsharp images, and out of focus images before hiring them. If you have no experience with photography, refer to a friend or colleague who may be into the topic, and then ask their opinion about the technical aspect of the portfolio you are checking out.

3. Can you see full event reportages?

I believe a professional photographer can get high-quality images from an event from beginning to end. A portfolio can be deceiving because it only highlights the best they have in their all-time repertoire, however, seeing the coverage of a singular event can tell you a lot about their approach, style, and experience. If you can dig deeper into a unique photo-coverage case they have done previously, and you like it, you can be reassured they know what they are doing.

4. Clear and professional communication at all stages.

Communications are everything. When a photographer is transparent, respectful, knowledgable, and speaks your professional tone, then you know you are dealing with a pro. If you get a weird impression from the way they speak and communicate with you from the beginning, there is a high chance this will not improve later. We often ignore how we feel about someone because of societal standards, so try to listen to your gut and avoid getting bad surprises later because you decided to ignore the signs.

5. Clear conditions and pricing.

When you deal with professionals from any field of expertise, you will encounter a well prepared and transparent set of terms and conditions about your work collaboration. A professional photographer should be able to give you a full set of conditions and pricing you can rely on when hiring them. When the terms of your partnership with the photographer are not clear, you cannot know what to expect, and you might be very disappointed and frustrated with the outcome of your collaboration. You can always try to ask these nine helpful questions before hiring them.

6. The photographer offers copyrights usage.

Professional photographers talk copyrights and explain to you clearly how you can use and exploit their pictures. When a photographer doesn’t speak about copyrights, you should raise a red flag and try to clarify the usage rights of the images. I will talk more in detail about copyrights in the future, but in the meantime, know this: Copyrights are as relevant as the pictures themselves, and you should know the usage rights of the images you will be obtaining.

Final thoughts.

You might not be looking for a professional photographer and only care about having lovely memories of your event. However, paying attention to these signs can help you identify the right photographer for your event and avoid ugly surprises in the future. Ultimately, the most important thing is that you are happy with the results and that you can use the pictures for your communication and marketing campaign.

Do you look at other signs to recognize a professional event photographer? I would love to hear your advice! Leave a comment below or get in touch with me, and I’d be glad to adapt my article to make it better.

This article is part of a series related to the process of hiring a photographer from A to Z. I’ll be writing a new one every week, so be sure to come back, so you don’t miss what’s next. Thank you for your time!

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