When searching for a photographer, of course price is going to be factored into your decision (which I will blog about another day), but another element of your decision should be dependent upon the style of photography that you like best. You might not have even noticed that there are distinct styles of photography, or that you prefer one kind to another. First, let's describe some of the most popular styles adopted by the majority of professional photographers.
One style that can be seen frequently is what's called a photojournalistic style. This terminology originally was in reference to the technique used by journalists and those working in news media. Many wedding photographers currently advertise this style of photography because it means that he or she tries to remain invisible at the event (usually a the wedding), capturing candid photos that are not posed. Even if the word "photojournalistic" appears on a photographer's website, make sure you double check their portfolio. I have seen first-hand some photographers who boasted of using this candid style, yet posed a newly-wed couple constantly for their photos!
In contrast to photojournalistic photography, there is also a "traditional" style. These photos come out just as you would expect... traditional. The photographer poses the subject(s) to make everything "picture perfect." If you do not want to be fussed with at your event, this is not the kind of photographer for you. Think back to school photo days when the photographer would have you cross your arms, smile, tilt your head... a little more... now back a bit... and chin up...! You get the idea.
Finally, some photographers call themselves "natural light" photographers. In this case, natural light is utilized instead of off-camera flash and other unnatural contrived light sources. This technique can create a more warm and yes, natural, look to your photographs, but the photographer has to be very skilled in various lighting conditions, some of which may not be ideal. Many amateurs label themselves as natural light photographers solely because they have not mastered off-camera lighting. Beware of these photographers! Make sure you hire a professional who is well-versed in many photography techniques so you can rest assured, your most important photos will be captured correctly.
Personally, I specialize in portraiture, so I love to get up close and personal with my clients. With this style of photography, in order for it to be done well, it is imperative that there is a relationship between the photographer and client that is a bit deeper than what it is usually. The photographer needs to get to know the client on a different level in order to take a portrait that captures their true personality; this is what I love to do.
Overall, when searching for a photographer for any event, from weddings to senior portraits, make sure they are skilled in the style of photography you are looking for, so you don't end up with any surprises when you get your photos back!
Owner and Photographer of DC Photography Boston.