I want to talk a little bit about finding the right creative person for the visual needs that you desire. In our current economy, I receive many email and phone inquiries where only one questions is asked:
"How much are you?"
The first question I ask in response is if they have viewed my website and my work. Many times, they haven't. They've simply Googled "Nashua NH Photographer" and just started going down the list of search findings, looking for the lowest price in the bunch.
But most importantly, I ask them to view the work to make sure they respond positively to the images.
I simply want clients that my work speaks too. I want *you*, no matter who you are, to find work that speaks to you.
I've had many clients call and say "Oh my God. I've been looking for a head shot photographer or a musician photographer for a few weeks, and have been looking at all these photographer websites, but as soon as I brought yours up, I absolutely had to call you. I was so drawn into your work."
In a perfect world, every client that I work with would say something like that. For these clients, price is a secondary consideration. These clients placed value on the quality and craft of the image. More often than not, they become a client rather than going somewhere else once prices are discussed.
I get that the economy is tough right now, I really do. Nobody is spending and everything is crazy. The world of creative services, like photography, its very hard right now. I try to squeeze my pennies when I can as well. Seriously. I'm right there with you. But don't sacrifice creative talent. Nobody's brain works the same. Nobody's creativity is the same.
But lets think about this for a minute. You are looking for quality crafted images. You are looking for a professional who is a master at their craft. But you are also looking for images that make you respond. That could be color, or design, or composition, or how they use light, or how they subtract light, or simply the way the images make you *feel*. Don't discredit the feeling you get when looking at the work. Your view on Art is unique. Harness that response and gravitate towards works that you respond too. I love getting that feeling; when I turn a corner in a gallery or in a magazine and see a piece of work that makes me grunt, or exhale slowly in amazement.
You can throw a dart at a dartboard of all the photographers in the phone book and just go with whomever it lands on. You can go with the cheapest photographer in the pack. But if you are simply going to someone based on price alone, you are missing the creative aspect of what makes each photographers work so unique.
When I'm talking to a client and they start bringing up pricing, I try to keep the focus on what they want to accomplish. If they are a band or musician, and they are looking for professional images, they should be looking for something that visually identifies who they are, but at the same time they should have powerful compelling images. These images will help them gain new markets. This is a visual representation of their visual marketing. Imagine what that turns into when they hire a $50 shooter off craigslist that gives them subpar work. Talent costs. Creative costs. Compelling images cost. In the world of professional services, you are dealing with (in this case) image creators that have to deal with overhead; rent, insurance, medical, billing, gear, upkeep, etc. And that doesn't even include their costs not associated with their studio; home mortgage, or apartment rent, food, clothes, costs of living.
But all that aside, it comes down to the quality of the work. And it comes down to the quality that *you* think you deserve. So look around. Research local photographers in your area. Look at lots of their work. Get a feeling for their *style*, and see if that style causes a reaction within you. If you are browsing sixteen websites and get to the 17th and suddenly you are looking at images that take your breath away, then you've probably found the creative you are looking for. Contact them. It might cost more, but in the end, it will be worth ever penny. You know how sometimes in your life you meet someone that you become instant friends with and you discover you like the same kind of music, or movies, or books? "OH MY GOD YOU LIKE TOAD THE WET SPROCKET? I LOVE THEIR MUSIC!! YOU LOVE THE MOVIE "BEFORE SUNRISE"? I LOVE THAT TOO!! OMG! BFF!" This is the same thing. You find someone that makes something that you respond too. Not everyone in the world is going to like that piece of art. But you love it. The person that made it loves it. There is your unique connection.
Meet with the photographer in person. Just talk to them. Get to know them as a person and as a creative talent. Concentrate on how the images you are looking at make you feel. If they don't give you any kind of response, then you might want to move on.
Just remember that it isn't about how many megapixels the camera has. Don't get caught up in technology. It shouldn't be about the gear they have, it should be about using whatever tools are necessary to help you create work in your style. That might mean I use an apple picker to get above the tree line. Or it might mean I shoot with a plastic camera with a blurry lens. Its about the resulting images, first and foremost.
I shoot a lot of head shots in a horizontal format. I usually tend to crop the tops of heads off. It isn't anything I consciously think about when shooting, its just something I instinctively do when I'm composing my images. Some people don't like that. They don't understand why on Earth I'd cut off the top of somebody's head. Other people love the composition. They react to it. Some people hate my work. But that's okay, because I'm not making work for everyone to love. I'm making work that I love to create, and luckily, lots of people have great positive reactions to it. Those people are the ones my work settles with. I can't please everybody, and I'm certainly not trying to.
Different strokes for different folks.
But don't limit your vision based on the contents of your wallet. You deserve special. When you finally find the kind of special that takes your breath away, harness that feeling, meet with the creative talent responsible, and discuss how you can work together to create new work that is just as compelling, just as incredible, and will steal someone else's breath away in the future.