Yup. 100% clickbait. but you're here now, so just wait a sec and read this real quick:
1) YOU HAVEN'T LOOKED AT THEIR WORK.
Like, none of it. You don't know what their aesthetic is or if they even shoot what you're asking them to shoot. You might want dark and moody stuff and all they photograph is the sun at ISO 1600 (if you don't understand anything about cameras, this is both hilarious and shameful, so please smile, giggle if you can, and nod). Similarly, there are a lot of extremely talented photographers who only capture inanimate objects. Usually, on purpose. You, on the other hand, are very animated, even when standing still.
You should always at least check if they have a website or a social media channel of some sort. Better yet, if you're local to this photographer you're contemplating hiring, ask if they have a studio and whether you can visit. I know COVID has thrown an adjustable C wrench in everyone's lives but some very smart (and sanitary) photographers have figured out how to keep you safe as well as themselves while they open the doors to their home studio or rented commercial space near you. And they probably have their work up for you to see.
If you haven't looked at their work at all... how... wha...
Go look at their work. Immediately.
2) YOU HAVEN'T CHECKED YOUR BANK ACCOUNT.
You've actually checked neither your bank account nor your schedule. Your brain literally went, "Me. Photos." And you don't do tinder dates, movies, road trips or home renovations without checking both your calendar and your clams.
So why would you treat your potentially super-important upcoming photo engagement any differently?
Whether your photographer is ready to meet you within the hour of your contacting them or won't be able to accommodate you for a few weeks, it won't mean anything is happening if their value is fully out of your budget. The same can be said for realizing that while their offerings are within your means, your schedules can never sync up.
Reward is found in the organization of your affairs. Be honest with yourself about how much adjustable time you have on your hands. After all, you're flawlessly holding three jobs down as an immaculate mother of two! Or maybe you've just finished your second successful year as a small business owner, or maybe your final year of med-school is calling you. When you're ready to commemorate your feats, make room to celebrate properly by fully preparing for your session, the right way.
2) YOU'VE ONLY CHECKED YOUR BANK ACCOUNT.
Yes, I'm very cheeky. And you? You're leading with a spending number for the sake of staying on budget, which, frankly, is admirable. It's also a bit of a crutch: different photographers will price wildly different values for a myriad of wildly different reasons.
You will find dirt cheap prices just as easily as high prices. Maybe they're extremely talented, maybe you found a novice. Even further, landing in front of a photographer who meets your specific needs perfectly may still not be enough, because that person might not regularly photograph what you're asking for.
So? What do you do? After all you need these images of you, your product, your team or the thing, right? And if you don't need them, you definitely really want them, no?
Refrain from buying that $100 or $150 dollar photo service. Instead, save a little more money if you need to or -- and this is a key gem drop here -- be upfront with your photographer during the booking service and let them know what payment terms you can absolutely adhere to. Some photographers will not take payment plans but the ones that do will appreciate the transparency and often will make your life easier by providing seamless payment systems.
4) YOU'RE CHEAP. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
You're just a cheap person. There's literally nothing wrong with that though, photographers are cheap, too. We all want a bargain almost all the time and we all subsequently will find a corner to cut somewhere if it means a little more peace of mind for us. Because: screw inflation!!
Remember the car note. If you're fortunate enough to have already spent any of the past five years online for at least a month, you've already come across an article or tweet comparing photography services to either a car, a big screen TV or a really nice pair of collector's edition sneakers. Overstated? Nearly. The parable, however, stands. Bargain items anywhere else will often yield you bargain lifestyle after purchase. Photography is no different. Invest accordingly.
5) YOU DON'T PHOTOGRAPH REGULARLY.
Take your time processing this one:
People who photograph regularly tend to make themselves more photo ready more often, particularly if they find themselves in need of new images at short notice. Those having their portrait taken are prone to grabbing their very best attire and, in many cases, find themselves in need of brand new threads for the occasion. This is wonderful for the closet, volatile for the purse and not a full mandate for the photo.
This should not be understood as, "OK so he's saying it's because I'm not a model." Wrong.
This should also not be misconstrued as "If I'm not photo ready, I should just not bother at all." Also wrong.
This point is not remotely about beauty, privilege or the contour (or lack thereof) that your face or body makes. It's about your mindset about the perceived ease of taking a good or great photo with a skilled professional. The more skilled the professional, the easier it will be. But you? You still have a part to play.
Before you even reach out to your photographer, consider that you might like to have your hair done. Consider whether you're fully comfortable in and at peace with your current wardrobe or if you should instead hit the outlet. Consider even further that while some photographers are more than happy to walk you through this process as a part of the services that they offer (I do, and you should book me), not all photographers do. It's up to you to handle this process before and during your photo session.
Perhaps most importantly though, is for your to consider whether you deem yourself beautiful. And hear me out: it's 2022 at the time of this article's publishing and we still haven't shaken the need to reach the ever elusive Eurocentric beauty standard. And everything isn't about who's prettiest, sexiest or the most elite. All of those things are immensely subjective. And seeing as how beauty is something that's granted, grant it to yourself. Then smile for the camera. Or don't. If you're working with me, I bet you'll still be fly AF.
If you've made it this far, I hope it's because you're enjoying the read and finding it helpful. A final reason why you shouldn't hire a photographer (at least until you're sure you're ready for it):
You literally can just take the photos yourself. Xiaomi, One Plus and Huawei are making ridiculously good camera phones. The iPhone 13 is goated. The Galaxy S21? Based. Google and RED -- yes, the cinematography technology company that works directly with Netflix on so many original series. That RED -- have BEEN making mobile smart technology.
So just pick up said phone and go for it. No, seriously, do it. This isn't one of those, "I'm better than you," soapbox speeches. The journey of learning photography is such an immense reward, and it gets better the longer you stick with it! But y'know, if you don't feel like taking that trip... book a photographer. Better yet, since you're here, book me.