You ask your photographer about their cost and their equipment, about how many images you can expect to get back and in what time frame, you ask about their editing software, but the one question that you really should be asking but aren’t is this:
Are the images shown on your website pictures you have taken yourself?
Why is this an important question? In a time when camera’s are affordable and “everyone is a photographer”, many are quickly throwing together websites with examples of pictures that they want to shoot. Some even go so far to put their own watermark on images that belong to someone else, so seeing a watermark on a picture isn’t necessarily an indication that the picture belongs to the photographer.
This is actually quite common, but at the same time quite wrong. Just because someone wants to shoot in a certain style, doesn’t mean that they have the technical ability to do so or that they can use the photos of another photographer. A true professional will ONLY have images on their site that belong to them. (This can be different for a wedding photographer who may employ other people to shoot with them, because while they might not take all of the pictures they still own the copyright-they should have no problem explaining that to you, either). Not only is it plain wrong and unprofessional, it is also illegal to use images that don’t belong to you, no matter where you find them.
Using a photographer that uses “example” pictures to get customers will likely result in not getting the quality of images that you expected. When you ask the photographer why they don’t look the same, they will likely either ignore you or site “artistic” reasons for differences in quality. This is another sign of a non-professional. A true professional will present you with images which match in quality and style the images you viewed in their portfolio, and which you were expecting.
So, while it may feel uncomfortable to ask the question, it is important to know the answer. You don’t have to be rude, you can frame it in such a way that will show you are aware of the practices of some photographers and are protecting yourself from being disappointed. For example, you could say, “I know a lot of people show examples of the types of photography that they WANT to do on their website, do you do this, or are all of the images from sessions you have actually shot yourself?” Not rude at all, and any professional should be happy to answer the question without being offended.
What you do with the information is up to you.
I hope this tip helps you become a bit more informed about hiring a professional photographer! I welcome questions and love it when you share my posts!