choosing a dog photographer

A few words of advice for choosing a photographer.

You have decided you would like to have some professional photographs taken of your dog and possibly you as well. Where do you start?

The obvious place is the internet and there will be a lot of photographers out there so which one is right for you? What do you need to know about the photographer or the company before you book and spend your money?

Their images are the obvious place to start but how do you know the images they have on display on hteir web site and social media are even theirs? You need to get to know your photographer in order to make an informed decision. Now, there are lots of photographers in the UK, but how do you know which photographer is right for you? How do you decode all of their claims? How do you know if they are any good?

Here are six top tips.

  1. What does Award Winning Photographer mean?

Lots of photographers have won awards. They may have won an award last week for winning the ‘dads’ race’ at the school sports day. Obviously, that recent award is not relevant to photography, so, your ‘award winning’ photographer needs an award that’s relevant to your requirements. The photographer may have won an award for wedding photography, that is not much use to you if you require great dog photography, in addition because styles are continually changing an award-winning style from 5 years ago could look very old fashioned today. So, ask the photographer when they won their awards and what were the awards for. Have a conversation with the photographer, meet with them in person in a coffee shop so you get to know them and what they can do.

2. Price

As with everything in life ‘you get what you pay for’. Don’t simply buy on price. Bad photography can ruin your images, make your dog look awful and worst of all, show you and your dog in a bad way. At the time of writing (2019) a good dog photographer will be charging about £75 - £95 for an hour session, there may or may not be any included prints however, always ask for a price list for all the print and canvas sizes plus any additional products, then there are no nasty surprises. Make sure the photographer is open and clear up front about the money involved.

3. Insurance

Please make sure that your photographer has both Public Liability insurance and Professional Indemnity insurance. Do not use anyone who does not have insurance.

4. Consistency

It is very easy for anyone to put their best twenty dog portraits shots on to a web site. However, those top twenty pictures may have taken ten years accrue. You need someone who is able to deliver top quality images time after time. If you choose a photographer to shoot 20 different shots of your dog in a one hour session, they all have to be top quality. Ask to see a complete shoot from a previous client.

5. Testimonials

Don’t rely on the photographers’ web site for testimonials. They could be made up. If you are on social media, have a look on their Facebook page, you can then message the person giving the testimonial, to check it out.

6. What does being a member of a Professional Body indicate?

Some Photographers are Members of a Professional Body, the organisations have names like BIPP, MPA, SWPP, AOP. They also have a qualification process. The three main qualifications are Licentiateship, Associateship and Fellowship. These are quite old-fashioned names that indicate the level of competency the photographer has reached within the organisation.

·     Licentiateship - Entry level qualification, showing an established professional level of skill and competence

·     Associateship - A high standard of craftsmanship and creative ability

·     Fellowship - Attainable for distinguished and exceptional ability and creativity

However, some fantastic photographers do not belong to these organisations or have decided not to gain qualifications beyond Licentiateship.

Conclusion - follow your instincts, don't go for the cheapest, look for good testimonials on social media and ask to see a full portfolio of work.