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10 Tips to Find a Great Oahu or Hawaii Portrait Photographer

Getting a great portrait is priceless. Portraits can capture a wonderful time in your life and preserve beautiful memories. It can act as a window into a special season in your life and you can share that with those you know and love. Not only does it become a way to connect with those you love, it also is a way to preserve wonderful memories about special times in your life. That’s why portraits of newlyweds, new children, and multi-generational families are so popular. Each one documents a special time and preserves beautiful memories. There are some things you can do in order to get better portraits. Finding the right portrait photographer is extremely important. In order to help you pick the right photographer I’ve laid out 10 things you should know.

10 things you should know about finding the right Oahu and Hawaii portrait photographer

  • Tip #1: Look at their photography. There is no getting around it, you should review every photographer’s portfolio before you elect to hire. You should look to ensure that the type of pictures they take are the kind that you prefer. While photographers can switch the look and feel of the pictures, most often they don’t. They will feel most comfortable shooting a particular style. Look to see what style they prefer and see if it’s what you want.
    This is a good example of a photographer's porfolio.

    Do you resonate with the photographer’s portfolio?

    Does the photographer you’re considering shoot indoors or outdoors or a combination thereof? Which do you want? Do they shoot families or couples? Do they shoot on the beach or in parks? What is it that you want and do they represent that in the portfolio?

  • Tip #2: Look at their reviews. The great news is that you can gather lots of data about a photographer from reading the reviews; a working photographer should be collecting reviews on Google or other review services. Take just a few moments to see what others are saying about the photographers and ensure they’re getting consistent high-quality reviews. Be especially careful for those reviews that indicate work is not delivered on time or that there were unexpected price increases. Know what you’re getting into before you hire a photographer; reviews are key in this.

    This is a good example of a good set of photographer reviews.

    Make sure to check out the reviews/testimonials!

  • Tip #3: Call them. This one may seem counter-intuitive but you need to call a photographer before you hire him or her. Never hire a photographer that won’t talk to you. When you call the photographer take note of how long it takes for the call-back. If there is a long lag in the return call, odds are you want to steer away from them. You want a photographer that values you and your business.
  • Tip #4: Match styles. Now that you have reviewed the portfolio and had a phone conversation, you can gauge the photographer’s style. Do they shoot families? Are you looking for a family portrait? Do they shoot indoors? Are you looking for indoor portraits? Do they shoot lighter pictures or darker pictures? Can they do sunset photography? Do they deal with you professionally and treat you well? Does the personality in all of the interactions and in the images match you and your family? Do they themselves have children and/or do they understand the dynamic involved with high-energy children? If you feel comfortable in conversation and feel like you can make a connection, odds are it’s a good choice.
  • Tip #5: Ask them about their experience.  Here are a few valuable experience questions to ask photographers. How long have they been professionally photographing? How long have they been working in portrait photography? How many portrait photography sessions do they have a month? Have they ever had a portrait photography session that didn’t turn out right? What happens if it’s an outdoor session and it starts raining? What happens if there is a need to reschedule? The answer to these questions will greatly help you understand the photographer and go a long way in determining whether they are the right portrait photographer for you.
  • Tip #6: Gauge their enthusiasm. Many photographers have been working in portrait photography for a very long time. Some of these photographers will continue to be enthusiastic and excited about their work; others will have lost their enthusiasm for the job. Normally enthusiasm is evident.
    This is a good example of high energy, enthusiastic photography.

    Enthusiasm: not everybody’s got it; make sure your photographer does!

    Take note and favor the photographer with this trait, as it improves the quality of portrait photography. When you’re speaking to your prospective photographer, see if you can detect the level of excitement.

  • Tip #7: Ask about print rights. Many portrait photographers will not give you print rights. Print rights allow you to print the images they have taken from other sources than just the photographer taking the pictures. In order for you to get out-sourced prints from and share your images with your family and friends, you need print rights. If they do not do that you will need to buy each picture individually. Some portrait photographers will sell prepackaged portraits with a fixed number of prints. Other photographers will give you the print rights along with the cost of the photo shoot. It’s important for you to understand what type of package you are buying. Don’t forget to ask this question: “Do I get the print rights or not?” There are many good photographers who fall on both sides of this fence so it’s not a deal-breaker, but you should understand what you’re getting.  I personally offer print rights with all my packages.  Click here to contact me about this.
  • Tip #8: Ask about delivery time.  Many great photographers “bite off more than they can chew” in terms of the number of jobs they take on. If you need your portraits returned to you quickly it is important to ask about the delivery time. If you need your pictures quickly for something like Christmas or Easter or other holiday, be sure you have a very clear process understanding; confirm agreement on delivery time. The pictures won’t be ready for you to have immediately after the photo shoot, because every good photographer will do some work retouching the images.
  • Tip #9: Ask how many images you get. Normally portrait photographers bundle portrait photography packages with a different number of images. Be sure you understand how many images you are buying with your package. Also understand how much it will cost to increase the number of images you get in case you like more than the number originally purchased. Review the section above about print rights and ensure that your images come with print rights or a suitable number of prints.
  • Tip #10: Check price. You get what you pay for. There’s usually no way around that. If you’re buying a cheaper photography package the odds are you are either getting a less experienced photographer or less work retouching your images to make them special. Know what you’re willing to pay and realize that the quality of your portraits will related to how much you pay. Pay too much and you may get more than you need, pay too little and you may be disappointed and find you’ve wasted your money and your time. Know what the fair market price for a portrait photography session is before you negotiate with a photographer.

Wrap-up for finding the right Hawaii or Oahu portrait photographer

These 10 tips will help you find the best Oahu or Hawaii portrait photographer. And these tips will also help to prevent you from getting a photographer whom you are frustrated with and whom you think failed to meet his or her end of the deal. Finding the right portrait photographer you will help you feel more at ease, yield a more enjoyable portrait session, and ensure that your images will turn out better. When you get the finished images from a good photographer who is a good fit for you, you’ll find that they did indeed capture special moments. Great portraits even offer a glimpse into the soul of your family. Preserve these special memories and wonderful times in your life.