Formerly
Reflections Photography


Things to consider when choosing a photographer


There are many things you should consider when choosing a photographer. Here is a list of some things you should keep in mind.

Are you really getting your money's worth?
How much does the photographer actually know about photography?
Is the photographer concerned about making you comfortable, and working with you, or are they pushy and demanding?
Does the photographer offer only limited photo packages?
When hired to photograph a wedding, how many photos will your photographer take?
Beware of "hidden charges".
Do they offer high quality prints?


Are you really getting your money's worth?

While it is sometimes the case that the most expensive photographer in the area is not always the best, it is usually true that the cheapest photographer is the cheapest for a reason. Usually it is because they either don't do good work, or they have little or no training and/or experience.

You will find that my prices are about mid-range as compared to other photographers in the area. I do photography because I love it, so I don't believe in over-charging my customers. I believe the quality of my work speaks for itself, and you can view my portfolio on my website to see many examples of my work. I have been a photographer since 1994, so you can be assured that I have many years of experience.


How much does the photographer actually know about photography?

Unfortunately, there are no standards a person has to meet in order to refer to their self a professional photographer. Anyone can buy a camera and claim to be a professional photographer. Being able to take great photos is not simply a matter of just buying a good camera. It takes a lot of time and effort to truly be a professional photographer. Even when a person knows the technical aspects of shooting good photos, they still need to a lot of time actually shooting photos to become really great at it. It is even more difficult to shoot great photos when you only have one chance to get it right, such as at a wedding, concert or sporting event. This kind of photography requires special knowledge and a lot of experience in order to do it well.

I have loved taking photos all of my life. That is why I went to college to study photography in order to become a professional photographer. I have been a photographer since 1994. In addition to shooting many weddings, portraits, pets and senior photos, I have also worked as a band photographer, shooting photos at concerts. I have had photos published in 2 magazines.


Is the photographer concerned about making you comfortable, and working with you, or are they pushy and demanding?

Many times when I have shot photos at a wedding, I have had people comment to me about how much they like they way I get the photos I need to take and I go about it in a nice and friendly way. I have often been told that most photographers are pushy to the point of being rude when they tell people where they need them to stand, how to pose, and in trying to keep the wedding guests from inadvertently getting in the shot or causing the photo shoot to take longer than necessary. It is my goal to always do my job professionally and to do so without being intrusive or disruptive.

I believe in making my work a good experience for everyone involved. If everyone is relaxed and comfortable, the photos naturally turn out better. This is the approach I take when doing all types of photography, whether it is a wedding, portraits or any other type of photography.


Does the photographer offer only limited photo packages?

Many photographers are very limited in the photo packages they offer to their customers. As a result, their customers may end up paying for photos they don't really need.

My pricing is set so you never have to pay for photos you don't need. Everything is priced individually (except for wallets because they are printed 4 to a sheet), so you can order just the photos you need.


When hired to photograph a wedding, how many photos will your photographer take?

Many photographers will only shoot the exact amount of photos that you get in the package you have hired them for. For example, if your wedding package is for 50 photos, they will only shoot 50 photos. Even if they are a great photographer, is it highly unlikely that all of the photos will turn out well, and if any of them aren't good you are stuck with them.

When I shoot a wedding, I shoot at least 300-500 photos. I shoot many photos during the ceremony, as well as several photos of each key point in the ceremony (exchanging rings, etc.) so I can be certain to have good photos of everything. I also shoot several of each pose/grouping before or after (which ever my clients prefer) the ceremony. I shoot both posed and candid (photojournalist style) photos. Before presenting the photos to the couple, I edit them, eliminating any that are not suitable for printing (such as photos where someone is blinking or moving for example). I make any necessary adjustments to the brightness and contrast, and then the couple can look at proofs of the photos so that they can choose the photos they want printed. They also have the option to purchase any additional prints they may want, and they receive a high-resolution DVD of all of the proofs along with a printed rights form which they can take to any lab that which allow them to have as many photos printed as they like.


Beware of "hidden charges".

Always find out what is and isn't included in your session fee/package up front. A photographer may have a low price for their session fee, but surprise you with very high prices on their packages once the photos are taken. They may offer only the most basic services, and do no editing to their photos even when some minor editing could greatly improve the photo, or charge high fees to do any retouching on the photos. Some also charge extra for clothing changes or to have friends in any of the photos with you. Most photographers only allow you to chose 1-5 poses for your Senior or portrait package depending on the size of the package you purchase.

I always do any necessary adjustments to brightness/contrast before my clients see their proofs. With all Senior and Portrait photos, I do limited retouching (retouching a few blemishes, etc.) for free on the photos chosen for their package, which is all most clients ever need. I don't charge for clothing changes or having friends in the photos with them. I am very flexible in allowing my clients to choose multiple poses for their package. For Wedding packages, I do free retouching on all photos they choose for prints.

At one wedding I shot, the bride got a rather large and noticeable bruise on her arm shortly before her wedding. This was quite apparent in the photo she chose for her enlargement, so her mother asked me if it would be possible to edit the photo to remove the bruise, which I did. When they received the photo, her mother was amazed and very pleased with the results, because not only had I removed the bruise, but she couldn’t even tell that I had done anything to the photo; it just looked like her arm naturally would have looked if she had not had a bruise.

I have extensive experience in digital photo editing and graphics, so I am able to offer a lot of services other photographers don’t. I can do everything from something as simple as removing a bruise or blemish to advanced graphics such as combining multiple photos into one (for examples see my Graphics page).


Do they offer high quality prints?

If a photographer uses a digital camera (as most photographers do these days), and they just give you a CD or DVD of the photos and you have to get the prints made yourself locally, I can tell you from experience that you will probably be very disappointed with the quality of the photos.

The technology for printing digital photos is advancing all the time, and the equipment to print the best professional-quality digital photos is very expensive. Because of this, I use a professional lab for all of the prints for my customers. They print photos for many professional photographers all over the country, so they can afford to keep up with the latest printing technology, which I could never do on my own.

It is always a good idea to ask how long you can expect the photos you receive to last. The life-expectancy of most photos printed locally will probably only be 15-30 years maximum. The life-expectancy of the photos you will receive from me is about 100 years, so these photos can be enjoyed by you and your family for many generations to come.