Questions to ask when looking for a photographer

Whether you are getting married, having a baby, graduating high school or updating your family portrait, choosing the right photographer can be a daunting task. There are so many photographers and faux-tographers out there, its hard to know who to pick.

Many people don’t really know what questions to ask, so they go right to “how much is an 8×10”. That’s an important question, but by no means is it the only question and you certainly shouldn’t base your choice on that.

Before you email or call anyone, decide what your budget it. That will help you when they start talking about services. Here are some questions we feel are important to find out before you say yay or nay (These are numbered but are in no particular specific order):

  1. Do you belong to any professional photography organizations? (PPA is a well known one. There are also local state orgs)
  2. What kind of photography education/training do you have?
  3. How long have you been a professional photographer?
  4. What do your session/package/collection fees start at?
  5. Do you have a website?
  6. Do you have references from past clients?
  7. How long do your sessions last?
  8. What do you specialize in?
  9. What is your turn around time for viewing/ordering?
  10. How long will it take to get my prints/albums/canvases?
  11. How many weddings have you photographed?
  12. Is your business licensed in the state of ___________?
  13. Do you have business insurance?
  14. Approximately how many images will I see from the session?
  15. How long do I have to order prints after my session/wedding/event?
  16. What is included in the session/package/collection?
  17. Do you charge for travel?
  18. Are the images on your website of paying clients or models?
  19. Do you charge extra for weekday v.s weekend?
  20. Will I need to sign a contract? (this sounds very legal, but is very important to protect you and the photographer)

That is not an all-inclusive list, but should give you a head start on doing your research. Beware of photographers who won’t answer questions or who try to divert you away from your questions. Also, be willing to talk about what you are looking for and be open to ideas and suggestions. Hope this helps!

To contact us with any questions, feel free to call or use the form below:

 

 

Answers to some of your FAQ’s

We thought it would be a good idea to address some of the FAQ’s that we get regularly in an effort to make your photography experience as simple and easy to understand as possible. Here goes:

Q: How long have you 2 been together?

A: LOL. We aren’t together and have never been. We are best friends, roommates and business partners, but that’s the extent of it. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one to make that mistake.

Q: What are your prices?

A: Well, that depends. What kind of photography are you looking for? We do portraits, weddings, quinceanera’s, events and photo booths, so you will have to be a bit more specific. I can tell you for sure though that we would be happy to sit down with you and discuss everything in detail.

Q: Do you offer wedding or quinceanera packages?

A: We offer wedding collections, which are similar to packages but sound way fancier. They include different increments of time, different albums and other things. They ALL include 2 photographers, basic retouching and an online gallery of web-sized images.

Q: Can I get my images on a DVD, CD or flash drive?

A: We provide you with something WAY better then those…prints and albums! We can make you prints in any size  you would like and you will be happy to have them, rather then a DVD that gets scratched on the way home, then lost for 10 years in a kitchen junk drawer. We are print artists and we want you to have something you can treasure forever.  Also, we do have an online gallery available A La Carte if you really want images to share on social media.

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Q: How do I get on the list to receive an awesome Christmas card each year?

A: IKR? They are awesome and take months of planning to create. To get one, simply become a client, friend, family or collaborator.

Q: Do you give print or copy-rights to images?

A: We do not. This will probably be the only question you could ask that will be met with a straight up no. There is no sneak around this one, it is what it is.

I know that’s just a few basic questions, but we are more then happy to answer any others you can come up with. Just shoot us a message through the form below or send us an email, text message, phone call, IG message, SOS, or some smoke signals.

 

That’s (almost) a wrap…..

Well, Sunday will be the end of 2017 and Monday will see the world waking up to a brand new year, with new goals, plans and resolutions. 2017 has been a big year for DLPS, and we thought we would share a few of our exploits with you.

We started the year off right, by attending Imaging USA in San Antonio, TX. We attended lectures, went to parties and barely slept! Then we drove straight to Southern LA to attend a 5 day, intensive CPP prep class. By the end of those 2 events, we were both fried and needed a vacation.

In March, we took the Certified Professional Photographer exam and both passed. This is the 1st step to becoming certified. We also took a trip to FL to find a place to live and check out Tampa & the surrounding area. We stayed with some friends whom Jess hadn’t seen in close to 20 years. Luckily, Vermonters are friendly and always willing to welcome old friends.

In April, we moved to Tampa, FL from Monroe LA. We decided to come to Tampa for a change of scenery, city size and new opportunities. In doing so, we left behind a lot of fantastic people who were really supportive of our plan to build a photography business.

In June, Jess earned her Certified Professional Photographer certification through PPA and can now write CPP after her name. To earn this distinction, a photographer must demonstrate that they are knowledgeable and skilled in various aspects of photography, and must pass a written test, then submit 15 images through a panel of 5 professional photographers.

In July we went back to LA to attend the annual convention for LA Professional Photographers in New Orleans. We spent 4 days expanding our education, in addition to hanging out with some of our favorite LA photographers. We brought 2 of our LA models back to FL for 3 days of photography in the sun!

August was a hot, humid month, but we did get to go to Universal Studios with some family visiting from Hawaii. Jess learned that she is going to be an Aunt and we got to hang out in the land of Harry Potter! Plus we watched the eclipse through homemade pinhole cameras.

In Sept, we once again made the trek to LA, this time to Monroe & Shreveport for the annual Barksdale AF Ball. We also did senior portraits for Cam, a soon-to-be graduate in Bastrop, LA. We were able to visit some of our favorite restaurants and hang out with some of our favorite people. We also attended LightPro in St. Petersburg, which is one of our all time favorite conferences. Plus we survived Irma, our first Hurricane!!

November saw us heading North to Vermont, where we spent Thanksgiving with the Wakefield family. Of course we got out and took pictures, got some much needed rest and hung out in the snow. Tony also learned the basics of being a blacksmith.

In December, we donated 2 photo booths. One was for photos with Santa at Inspired Living in Tampa with many of their residents. The other was at the Christmas Charity Ball in Tampa, to raise money towards sponsoring families for Christmas. This was a great success and the charity was able to sponsor 60 families in the Tampa area.

Those are some of the highlights of 2017. We are still learning about everything Tampa has to offer and of course still working on getting to know people here. There are many places to see and things to do that we have yet to experience, but its all part of the fun. We will continue to build and grow our business here and are looking forward to a successful and fun 2018. We wish everyone a Happy New Year and will see you all in 2018!

So many choices and so little time…..

Choosing a photographer for your special event or portraits can be a daunting task. There are a lot of us out there, and we range from “just bought a camera last week” to “20+ years of experience”. We know that it can be super confusing and frustrating trying to narrow down your choices. Some people even get so frustrated they just give up and either don’t ever get portraits or they pick some random name. So, we decided to give you some pointers to help you make an informed decision.

Here are some things you should look for when checking out a website or social media page:

  1. Consistency. Do the photos look good throughout, or are only the 1st few nice while the rest are just OK?
  2. Do they look like real sessions or do they look like they were staged? (More on this in a later post)
  3. Is the site/page regularly updated or is everything on it old?
  4. Do the photos look like they have a ton of filters/photo shop work done on them? This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but can sometimes mean that the original photos aren’t that good, and the photographer has to rely on digital technology to make them passable. This can be a sign of someone who doesn’t really know a lot about the important aspects of photography.
  5. Do they have good reviews/comments from past clients?

Here are some things you should pay attention to when you are trying to get information:

  1. Is it easy to get a hold of the photographer? They may not answer the phone when you call, but do they call you back if you leave a message? Or answer in a timely manner if you email?
  2. What is their demeanor on the phone/email? Do they sound like they are rushing you or not listening to what you have to say?
  3. When you ask questions, are they truly answering them or are they moving past them without giving you a real answer?
  4. Are they giving you information about costs and charges that will be associated with your session or event?
  5. Do they have a contract for you to sign? (contracts, while sometimes a pain to go through are vital. They protect you and the photographer)

And lastly, here are a few questions to ask to get a feel for the photographer and their personality/style. It is important that you mesh well, especially in a wedding or quinceañera situation, as you will be together an extended period of time.

  1. Ask about pricing. It should never be a deciding factor, but you have to know if they are in your budget. If they are not,  you may need to re-evaluate your choices or your budget.
  2. Ask how long they have been doing photography. Everyone doesn’t need years and years of experience to be good, but if you are going to pay for it, you should get what you are looking for.
  3. Ask if you can do an in-person consultation. This is super important, so that you can make sure you are on the same page in relation to what you are looking for and how much you will spend.
  4. For portrait sessions, ask for clothing tips, location suggestions and time of day options. Trust me when I say that these are all important and will effect the overall look of your portraits.
  5. Ask about anything you are unsure of. The photographer should have no problem answering your questions, clarifying information or solving your objections.

If you have any questions or need more information about what to look for, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to help, even if you aren’t our client. You can always contact us at the form below:

Meet our new Hair & Makeup artist!!!!

Meet Hannah! Hannah is currently attending Empire Beauty School here in Tampa and lives in Brandon, FL where she said she loves the weather, because its always sunny and warm. Empire offers a 9-month program and she will be graduating in March. Hannah is our new hair & makeup artist and will be available on an as needed basis. We are super excited to add her to the DLPS team!

I did a sit down interview with Hannah last weekend after Tony did some head shots of her and asked her the following questions:

How long have you been interested in hair/makeup?

I’ve been into it “my whole life, ever since i was a kid. I always got in trouble for cutting my sisters hair and ruining all my barbies and baby dolls”

What do you hope to do with your HMU experience?

“I want to work in a salon to get some experience and eventually open my own business doing photo shoots and bridal hair & makeup. I enjoy doing the styling part”.

Whats your favorite thing about doing Hair & Makeup?

“The art of it and making people feel beautiful in their skin”.

Whats a piece of advice you would give someone who is looking for a HMU artist?

“Look for someone who actually loves doing what they do and has a passion for it instead of just trying to make money. Someone who wants to make you look how you want, rather then how they want you to look”

Lastly, when asked about how she feels about working with us she said; “I’m so excited to be working with DLPS and your clients. I am looking forward to growing with your company and doing some awesome photo shoots”

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We are really happy to be adding Hannah to the DLPS family and can’t wait to introduce her services to our clients. For more information about how to book a session and adding on hair, makeup or both, please contact us through the form below.

 

Light Pro 2017

Recently we attended Light Pro 2017 in St. Petersburg, FL. Last year was our first time and it was held in New Orleans. We decided then and there that we would be yearly attendees. If you are a photographer and have never been, you should definitely consider it.

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We had a blast! There are a ton of super educational classes, as well as a chance to meet lots of new photographer & model friends. Speaking of models, Light Pro is an excellent way to shoot lots of photos of some very talented and fantastic people, sometimes in some crazy get-ups.

We are always looking to enhance our education and this year was no exception. We attended classes by Suzette Allen, Paul & Melissa Pruitt, Melanie Anderson, Makayla Harris, Brian DeMint and many other super talented professionals. We are really glad that we went and we can’t wait for next year!

If you have any questions or want more information about working with us or about the convention, please email us through the form below or through our website!

Our July Photo Adventure

In July, we went to New Orleans, LA for the annual PPLA convention. We brought Derek H. and Victoria W. back to Tampa with us. There were a lot of firsts for Victoria, who had never been to New Orleans, Florida, the beach or in an airplane. There were a lot of other 1st for her as well and it was a fun trip for everyone. They also both modeled for PPLA, with Derek posing for Micheal Brown and Victoria posing for Hanson Fong.

On the way drive back, we stopped at Flounders Chowder House in Pensacola for lunch and some Key Lime Pie. Its pretty amazing! Besides, who wouldn’t want lunch on the beach?

We wanted to go to some iconic and beautiful places in the Tampa Bay area. We went to the beautiful Honeymoon Island for a sunset session. We also went to the fascinating  Dali Museum and the iconic and magnificent Don Cesar Hotel in St. Petersburg.

On the last day, we went downtown and visited the historic Plant Museum and Ybor City. Then later that evening, we played around with our new background by Backgrounds by Sebastian and some studio lights.

Victoria

On the last morning, after a few panicked moments (at 4:30 am) when we weren’t sure if we would be able to get all of Victoria’s stuff into her suitcase, we sped off to the airport and dropped them off for their flight. It was an awesome 4 days of fun, friends and photography. Thank you so much to both Derek & Victoria for being willing to adventure with us!!!

Butt Floss and Forgotten Flashes

I think most people assume that being a photographer is easy. After all, all we do is point the camera at something and push a button right? If you think that, your partially right. Some “photographers” do in fact do that. But if you are a true professional, then you do so much more.

Take our last model shoot for instance. We had 2 fantastic models with us here in Florida last month. We had plans to go to multiple locations around the Tampa Bay area and get some amazing shots. Our models had their outfits, we had a plan…what could go wrong?

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Lets start with one of our models having a minor freak out because her bathing suit bottom was, in her words, butt floss. She was super anxious about getting in public with her butt out. Luckily, after some minutes of talking her off the ledge and assuring her that she wouldn’t be the only one at the beach with “butt floss” we were able to head out. (I mean seriously…have you seen the bathing suits around here?)

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Once we got to our location about 20-30 min away, we unloaded the car, only for Tony to discover that he had forgotten his entire bag with all his flashes in them. Luckily, I had mine and of course we had reflectors. After all, we are professionals and we will always figure out a way.

Needless to say, we had an awesome shoot and got some amazing portraits. Both our models were happy and it was quickly apparent that I was not wrong about the butt floss issue.

So to sum up, to be a professional photographer, not only do you have to take photos, you also have to sometimes be a counselor, make people feel comfortable, be an innovator, a planner, and be extra creative (how to take gorgeous photos without showing the butt floss issue). And don’t worry, not only do we do all this for our models, we do it for all of our clients and customers.Derek & Victoria

For more information about having your session (you don’t even have to wear a bathing suit), contact us through the form below.

 

Southern Pro Exposure New Orleans

Well it was a great weekend in New Orleans for the annual PPLA Southern Pro Exposure (SPX) photography convention. We met old friends, made new ones and learned TONS!!!

 

We learned from so many great photographers who have tons of knowledge and experience to share with us. We can’t wait to incorporate the new tips and tricks into what we do. We always walk away with new ideas to give you a great experience and a product you deserve.

Mothers Restaurant

While there we got to take a break at one of the many great restaurants there, Mothers, and it was phenomenal. If you are ever in New Orleans check it out you won’t be disappointed.

Jessica got to receive her new bling, CPP Medal (certified professional photographer), during the awards ceremony and we couldn’t be more proud! Photographed with her is this year’s PPA president Rob Behm. By the way don’t mind the outfits. The evening had a theme and it was transportation, Jess is dressed as a road.

Derrick & Victoria

While there we got to bring back two of our favorite models who wanted to come to Tampa. These two have been a part of the Dark Light family since we were in Louisiana. Stay tuned for some awesome photos of Derek and Victoria.

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