How to find & hire a professional photographer

– By Jonathan Fanning.

I am writing this article on how to hire a professional photographer, because I feel that everyone should know the reasons on why they should hire a professional rather than leaving it up to themselves, family member, friends, etc.  This article is meant for anyone who is in the market for Wedding Photography Services, Portrait Services such as Children Portraiture, Family Portraiture, and High School Senior Portraiture.   I hope that this information is helpful and educational, Enjoy!

Why a professional?

Would you hire a non-professional mechanic to work on the car that you drive daily?  Or would you hire a non-professional roofer to work on your house?

Weather you would like a framed portrait of your family to hang on your wall, to put it on your desk in the office.  Babies and children grow up quicker than you might think.  Professional Photographers capture those precious memories in time for you to send to send to all your friends and relatives.

Professional photographers are very important as for an example; if are needing a professional looking head shot for your new job, resume, website, newsletter, advertisement, etc. a professional photographer plays a great roll by creating a portrait that shows off your professional style and look.  Remember in business first impressions are a must.

Sometimes professional photographers can be over looked.  Ex. “I should just have uncle John Doe take pictures at my wedding” WRONG!  You should never allow a non-professional photograph one of the most important days in your life.  Why?  Because they could potentially, miss that perfect shot, not be on time, something with their camera goes terribly wrong, shots are out of focus and blurry.

Professional photographers provide quality and piece of mind.

How much does a professional photographer cost?

Do not always rely on the cheapest prices, as you may run into the problem of getting what you paid for.  Hiring a professional photographer is an investment and should not be taken lightly as these images could and most likely be an heirloom of your children’s children. Most professional portrait photographers will charge a nominal “session fee” or “creation fee” this fee goes towards the photographer’s time to photograph what ever type of service that you might need.  Then it is up to you on how many prints & specialty products that you would like to invest in.  The average investment of a professional portrait photographer could range anywhere from *$150 – $15,000

*Note: Your investment lies entirely up to you and the actual cost will vary from area to area.

A few good ways to find out if they are a professional photographer are:

Are they a member of any professional photography organizations such as

Tampa Area Professional Photographers Association (TAPPA)

TAPPA’s Mission Statement:

“The Tampa Area Professional Photographers Association exists solely for the benefit of its members. To promote and provide educational opportunities to aid members in achieving their business and artistic goals; to encourage an ongoing exchange of knowledge, resources and information amongst its members, to build their businesses and raise the standards of the profession in general; to improve the public’s awareness and appreciation for the Art of Professional Photography; and through education, ethical standards, cooperation and self-improvement encourage the members to provide the highest quality photographic product possible.”

Florida Professional Photographers, Inc.  (FPP)

FPP’s Mission Statement

Our Mission: Florida Professional Photographers, Inc. exists solely for the good of its members. The association provides the tools and educational opportunities for its members to achieve their business and artistic goals. It is committed to an ongoing exchange of information and experiences among all members in an open and friendly atmosphere.”

Are they legal?

It is illegal to charge for services or to sell photographs unless they have the following:  1) an Occupational License (city, county, or both); 2) Sales Tax Certificate; and possibly 3) Federal ID Number (FEIN).

Selling images without charging sales tax is illegal. And collecting sales tax without sending it to the Dept of Revenue in Tallahassee is REALLY illegal. The IRS just loves those folks and you don’t want to be one of them” – Kevin E. Newsome.

Do they use professional grade equipment?

With digital photography today, just about anyone these days can buy and expensive camera and call them selves a “photographer” but are they a professional photographer?  Professional photographers use sometimes the state of the art equipment and are very fluent on using their tools to capture those precious memories of you and your family.

Do they use proper lighting and posing?

All professional photographers will be very knowledgeable on the proper lighting and posing techniques, have you ever heard the saying “The camera adds 10lbs”?  This is where it comes from, without proper lighting and posing the photographer could potentially not capture the best of you.