Ask Questions To Find The Right Photographer

by Patricia Cullen on August 19, 2009

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Like many of us in the arts, we didn’t wise up to what we really wanted to do some several years and well traveled career paths later and Michael Ford is no exception. His love for photography started as a hobby in high school and it wasn’t until falling in love with Paris, France through his lens that he realized this is exactly where he had to be, behind the lens.

“I was tired of giving myself to someone else’s vision,” working for big companies whose moral standing were of one mind, profit. Michael reclaimed his love for photography taking a few courses but more predominantly, rolls upon rolls of film, discovering and defining himself through the process. As technology developed from film to digital, Michael followed suit.

“At a certain point, when the technology reached a level suitable for professionals, it just made sense to move to digital. It provides a certain freedom, both artistically and technically.” And while Michael enjoys the artistic freedom from setup, to shooting through to post production, clients have much to benefit from digital as well. “With the digital process, you don’t need to order a print of every shot, carry those prints around town to your friends, to your agent, potentially damaging or losing them along the way.” Clients view their shots online in a web gallery, give their friends & agents access to it, or have the shots saved to CD. Then there’s the security feature where Michael keeps two copies of your images on separate hard drives in separate locations. We could tell you where, but then we’d have to kill you.

So, who is Michael’s ideal client? “That’s a hard question. I guess clients that are open to the process, come prepared and are excited to be here. It’s important that they respect my work and my choices and that they believe in me and have faith that I know what I’m doing. And the energy, a loose energy, free with their body. Clients who leave their ego at the door and who work with me as a team, sharing their thoughts on the process.”

It also helps when clients are prepared for the shoot. The studio is theirs, but much of the success rests on their preparation. “Be careful about what you wear. A headshot greatly influences how you will be marketed. It’s always good to talk with your agent about how they’ll position you in the market before you get your shots done.” And as far as some wardrobe do’s and don’ts, “Stay away from busy patterns, solid colours are usually best but some textures are usually okay. And if you’re thinking of getting a new style of hair, don’t do it the day of or the day before. Give yourself some time to get used to it. And mostly for women, hire our professional makeup artist who understands what is required for headshots. You need makeup to achieve a natural look. And finally, schedule your session a time of day that works for you and get lots of sleep the night before your appointment.”

And what advice does Michael have for readers in the process of selecting a photographer? “First, check out their work. Visit their site and see if their style appeals to you. Then, ask some questions to make sure they’re the right photographer for you.” What kind of questions?

  • Do you limit the number of shots?
  • How long do you spend with your clients?
  • How long after the shoot until I see the prints?
  • What’s the process from shoot to finish?
  • What’s included in the cost?
  • How many images will you post process for me?
  • Where do we shoot?
  • Do you shoot on digital or film?
  • Is it possible to meet you in person before I book with you?
  • How do I get reprints in the future?
  • Are my digital images backed up? What happens if your computers are stolen or crash, are my images gone then?
  • Will you re-shoot at no-charge if I’m not satisfied?”

“And don’t use price as a sole criteria. It’s about finding the right match for you. Price alone does not reflect whether a photographer is the right match for you or not. Call them and get a feel for their personality.”

Be sure to check out Michael Ford’s website which has more tips and information on the experience of the photoshoot. You can check him out at, or call him at 604.839.3673.

If you are a high school student graduating in 2010, you can enter yourself into a draw for a free grad portrait. Become a fan of Ford Grads on Facebook by September 1 2009 and you will be entered.

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