Comparing Photographers ~ Is it All Apples & Oranges?

Today I wanted to share something a little different. And since I'm going to mention food, I'm going to make you drool over this yummy food shot, ok?

Sometimes I forget just how hard it is to choose a photographer. I look at photographs ALL THE TIME! So I have learned to look at an image of someone else and picture myself in that setting and in that pose. I knew that when we asked Bit of Ivory Photography to take our anniversary pictures this past fall, that we would LOVE the outcome, because I knew and understood her work.

But training your eye for that sort of thing takes time. So I understand why it's hard to find the right photographer for you. Perhaps Photographer A recently photographed a wedding with a similar color scheme and feel to yours and you can see yourself in those images. And then Photographer B shot your friend's wedding last year and you felt emotionally connected to the images. But were you just drawn to them because they were images of your friend? And what about Photographer C who did a beautiful wedding of a bride in a lavender field that you can't stop thinking about, but you're getting married in the city.

Obviously this is a hypothetical example, so there's no telling which photographer would be the perfect fit.

But hopefully it shows that style can be REALLY hard to compare. And I think that's why a lot of people start comparing on price. Comparing two photographers with completely separate styles is apples & oranges. Because while price is a factor, it's not really what separates one photographer from another.

A friend of mine recently shared a brilliant blog post by NY based maternity and newborn photographer Francesca Captuo and it captured this concept perfectly. She compared photographers to restaurants and I'm going to borrow that analogy.

When you're considering where you want to eat out, your first thought is probably what kind of food you want to eat. Are you craving a burger or do you want seafood? Once you decide that the style of food you want is seafood, you'll make plans to go to your favorite seafood restaurant. The one that draws you the most.

You're not going to change your mind halfway there and decide to just eat at the burger place instead because it's cheaper. And you can just ask them to make you seafood right? No. That doesn't make sense. If you really want seafood, you'll either be ok with spending a little extra or you just won't go out to eat as often.

Now sometimes you do have a budget in mind and you have to take that into account. As much as you might like to, you can't eat at fancy restaurants all the time. If my husband and I are looking for a cheap meal option, we might choose Chickafila, Moes, Thai, or pizza. It all depends on the style we want. But we're not going to pick Chickafila just because it's a couple dollars cheaper than pizza. If we want pizza, we're going to get pizza. So if you're on a budget for your wedding or family photography, look at the options within that budget and recognize the different styles.

Now obviously the place where this analogy falls apart is experience. You've experienced dozens of different restaurants before, so you know which ones you like the best. But you probably haven't experienced very many photography sessions before.

And that's ok. It just means that you have to take a little extra time looking at a photographer's work before booking him or her. If your friend recommended a photographer to you, great! If you know a photographer at your church, great! But don't just stop there and choose that photographer. Study the photographs for yourself and come to your own decision.

Some photography styles can be hard to pick out, but others are simple. In a studio. At a park. In the client's home. Bright colorful images. Subdued soft images. Heavily edited. Natural edits. Blur. Sunflare. Flash. Use of props. Posed. Candid. Lifestyle. Casual. Formal. Black and white. Vintage tints. All these things distinguish one photographer from another.

You probably have opinions on some of these things right away, but there are probably some that don't really stand out to you. So maybe you feel the most drawn to park sessions with brightly colored images that have a more casual, lifestyle feel, but you're not sure where you land on editing. That's a great starting point!

I'm not saying all this to say you have to pick me. I'm not the wedding photographer for everyone. I'm not the family photographer for everyone. And I'm ok with that.

Your memories are too important to rush this decision. Your memories are too important to choose based on price alone. Your memories are too important.

I recommend taking a minute to read Francesca's article as well. She's talking about newborn photographers specifically, but I think her side by side comparisons really show the different styles of photography.