Most of the time, people assume a few common things about photographers. One is that a photographer can photograph pretty much anything. And two, is that we’re all in competition with each other for clients. And for me at least, neither of those is true.
Photographers have specialties. Skills they’ve developed over the years that usually focus on one specific area of photography - like portraits, food, landscapes, events, etc. There are different tools that are used for each, and hundreds of hours of practice necessary to become proficient (or shall we say, good) at it. And while there are plenty of generalists out there, you will see below why it’s important to select someone who isn’t.
The second point is that we’re not all competing for the same clients. While there are hundreds (if not thousands) of photographers in Westchester and Fairfield County, we all serve a different need. We are passionate about different aspects of photography, we have our own specific styles, and we all have our strengths/weaknesses. I am constantly referring potential clients to other photographers. Why? Because while that potential client might have reached out to me, when it becomes clear that I’m not the best fit for them, I usually know who is.
I’ve personally met many other fellow photographers in the area. We are in Facebook groups together, we meet up to learn and to grow our businesses, and we refer each other all the time. After all, who better to understand our struggles than people who are going through the same challenges? So while other industries might compete amongst each other, I like to think of us, photographers, as friends who help each other instead! And I will never be offended if you chose to go with someone else instead of hiring me. I know that other photographer will do a great job and is a better fit for you in the end.
In fact, this whole post is about just that. Why you might actually want to choose different photographers to work with instead of sticking to just one…
Different Styles and Specialities
Most portrait photographers specialize in a specific style of photography. There are the outdoor natural light photographers. Ones who also photograph outside, but with a flash. Photographers who will come to your home, and those who mostly do Studio work. There are newborn photographers who will pose and wrap your baby, and ones who will capture only the most natural un-posed images instead.
And there’s nothing wrong with switching it up a little once in a while!
I work with many clients who have done portraits with other local Studios before. And it’s always something they absolutely loved doing. They love the images they got, but they don’t necessarily want those same images year after year. I’ve also referred some of my best clients to other photographers (the horror!). Why? Because those amazing wonderful clients who I love working with were simply looking for something specific that I know someone else is better at doing (like a cake smash session, or beach photography). The point is, it makes sense to work with different photographers when you’re looking for different types of photographs!
And just because you go and hire someone else to take those photos, doesn’t mean you can’t go back to the person you’re worked with before, either. Trust me, they won’t be offended (at least I won’t!). Brand loyalty is great and all, but in a world with so many choices, there’s nothing wrong with having beautiful family images made by different creative artists.
The other really great thing about working with other people is that they usually have different products available. One photographer might specialize in really fun trendy decor for your home, while another focuses on timeless large framed prints.. and yet another is all about creating custom albums for their clients. You get amazing benefits with working individually with each photographer to create custom pieces for your home. Personally, I’m all about large framed artwork - so I have the software/tools necessary to really map out the perfect sized frame for that wall, and provide a complimentary service of hanging everything up for you in the end. Another photographer might include an album with every session, or specialize in bold colorful acrylic prints. And while you probably shouldn’t mix all these things in one room in your home, you can certainly decorate rooms individually using these different types of print products.
So, hire not only based on style, but also because of the products and service. If you have something specific in mind for your images, choose a photographer who will deliver that for you in spades. It might not be the photographer you worked with last year.. and that’s OK!
Different stages of your family
This one is almost really obvious, but there are so many people out there who hire their wedding photographer to take baby pictures (because they’re the person they know and love working with). And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that! But most of the time, a specific photographer will make the most sense for a specific age of your family.
You probably wouldn’t hire a newborn photographer to take pictures of your 18-year old daughter for her senior portraits. And a Studio session might not really make sense for a 2-year old who enjoys having space to roam (unless you hire someone who has experience working with 2-year olds in the Studio). For that difficult 2-4 age range, outdoor sessions sometimes make the most sense in the end. And older kids might really love being in a Studio where they have privacy and the ability to fit a portrait session in between weekend soccer games.
And as I mentioned earlier, all of those needs will probably be met by different photographers. So it’s very natural to work with different people as your family (and children) grow. You get different types of photos and can also enjoy the process, because it will be catered specifically to your changing needs! Win, win!