Nowadays, anyone can pick up a camera and claim they’re a “professional photographer”. Photography is truly subjective, but let’s discuss the top 3 ways you can determine if a photo is actually good or bad and hopefully prevent you from wasting money on your next purchase.
Is the Image in Focus?
It’s kind of a no-brainer, right? However, I have actually seen “professional” photographers deliver blurry photos to their clients! And of course those clients weren’t happy. Looks like they didn’t do their research.
When shopping for a photographer, you should check to see if their photos are sharp and in focus.
Can you clearly see the object/person(s) in the image?
Or does it hurt your eyes because subject is blurred?
Click on the images to get a closer look. The image on the left may appear to be in focus when viewing on a small screen. However, if you zoom in or try to print the image on the left - you will discover it is actually slightly out of focus. The image on the right is an example of proper sharpness of focus on the eyes of the model.
Is the Subject properly Lit?
Lighting is probably one of the most important elements when creating a photograph. An experienced professional will know how to properly set their color balance and exposure in any kind of lighting scenario. Providing the viewer with details that are rich in color and properly exposed to be seen clearly.
Ask yourself when viewing the photographers portfolio;
Is the image bright enough to view?
Does the image look flat? crisp? or vibrant and full of life?
Does the image present natural skin tones or does everyone look orange ?
Is the Photographer using good composition?
Have you ever viewed an image and just instantly liked it, no idea why? 9 out of 10 times it was because the photographer applied one of, if not all of these elements!
Composition is when the artist includes:
A focus point
Applies the rules of thirds
Adds balance to the photograph.
Is the Photo Interesting or Boring?
When shopping for a photographer (or just browsing online), ask yourself, “Is this photo interesting or boring to me?” Anyone can snap a photo these days as I mentioned in our opening statement. But not everyone can create an interesting photo, a photo that pulls you in and tells a story.
I don’t mean a photo from an event with tons of people sitting and listening to a speaker. I am referring to the art of capturing real emotions, candid moments, an action frozen in a blink of an eye with precision. Maybe that speaker was pointing at the audience and had a smirk on their face for half a second. Capturing that split moment could be the difference between a good and a great photo.
We’re done, do you feel more confident looking at photos?
I realize not everyone has an education in photography and it’s sometimes hard to decide who is actually best qualified as a photographer for your job. (tip: never hire based on price! 8 out 10 times you will be disappointed)
If price is a factor, then ask yourself “How important will the use of these photographs be?” If the use is not very important, then it doesn’t really matter who shoots the assignment or if you find the cheapest photographer (you can afford the loss if they screw up or if the images come out bad).
However, if you need to use the photos for something important like brand recognition, then the investment of that photographer should be secondary when compared to the real value they would be providing you overall.
Meaning, the risk is far too great for you to hire the cheapest photographer, when you need quality, reliability and images that will represent your business in the best possible light.