I wrote this blog because I have had some acquaintances come to me surprised with the results after hiring the lowest bidder. I want to raise an eyebrow, and some emotion to seriously think about what you pay for. It's your hard earned money, spend it wisely! Please remember, my blogs aren't the perfect answers. Merely just advising what you should think about and some added perspective. So...
This is also a question that I've been plagued with in my own head. I often wonder why everyone wants to be a photographer now days. For me, it's personal. A way to tell a story and show the world how I see it through my creative eye and thoughts. A piece of me that I get to put out to the world. Freezing a moment in time for the viewer to look back on and depict for themselves.
Since digital has blown up the market, photography has become more accessible to so many people. Many whom would probably never have touched a camera if it weren't for the digital technology. This is both good and bad. I love watching all of these artist push the boundaries with the technology we have today. The dilemma with accessibility however, comes "picture takers". People who've gone out to Best Buy, bought the kit for $549 (or whatever it cost) and now have become a "photographer". Charging a flat rate of $500 for weddings and who knows what for portraits.
The market along the Mid Atlantic is saturated with these individuals. Selling wedding packages with no experience, no style, no photographic knowledge of processing, depth, and basic exposure. I won't even begin to get into reciprocal rule. Simply twist that dial to "Auto" and press the shutter to become a professional right?
It sounds ridiculous but this is happening. So...Would you hire this $500 photographer? I use that term (Photographer) very lightly. These aren't the type of people who focus on the art of photography because they love the creative process. It does seem as though, they are out for praise and attention to the one lucky picture. I call it the "like" award. How many can you get in one hour? If you're an artist, this may boost your spirits. But a true photographer shoots for him or herself, which is what develops a photographic style.
Now pause a second...
I am not calling out those people who love photography and have just got started. As long as they aren't to marketing as a professional yet. When I started, I did a ton of free work, because I did not want people to pay for work I needed practice at. Even today I still do that when I want to venture into something new. It's called personal projects or personal education. We all need practice no matter what level we are at. We should constantly be pushing ourselves away from the comfort zone and into a challenge. Complacency is deadly. Both in life and career. My only true advice, hire someone who has a photographic style that you love and appreciate as well as a personality you can bond with.
If you're hiring a friend who may have photography experience, this is a completely different story. But to hire a "professional" at an extremely low rate...that could be dangerous to your investment.