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How to Choose a Photographer

In today’s competitive professional world, photography is vital for your personal brand. Many professionals are unsure about how to choose a professional photographer for business, actor, or staff headshots. Kyle Bondeson Photography has put together a list of tips and tricks to help you choose a photographer that will provide quality photos that suit your needs.

What Are the Qualities of a Good Photographer?

Photography is a form of art, and when it comes to professional headshots, it’s important art. Photography involves creativity, composition, and imagination, but there’s more to it than that. When learning how to choose a professional photographer, focus on the following three qualities:


  • Creativity: At first, it may not seem like much creativity goes into taking a professional headshot, but there’s more to it than a simple point-and-shoot. Good photographers use creative lighting, backdrops, facial expressions, and poses in ways that best represent their clients’ values and missions.
  • Passion: Ultimately, the one thing that sets a great photographer apart is their passion for doing what they love. The photos they take for their clients often serve as a first impression, so they have a significant impact on their clients’ futures. Look for a photographer who is passionate about delivering a quality product that propels their clients’ careers forward.
  • Observation: Excellent photographers need to have a good eye for detail in order to compose the best possible photograph. Lighting, composition, storytelling, and emotion must come together on the other side of the lens, and if one of these is only slightly out of place, it can ruin a photo. Great photographers scrutinize everything and make sure that even the tiniest details are perfect.

What Skills Should a Photographer Have?

Part of learning how to choose a photographer involves understanding the skills that these individuals should possess in order to provide quality photos that tell your story. There are countless skills important for taking great photos, but when it comes to your personal brand, a few stand out from the crowd.


Lighting can make or break a photo, and photographers should have mastery of several different lighting techniques in order to make the most of a session. Natural and artificial light are very different, and photographers must understand how to use them together to enhance the image being captured. Lighting affects the atmosphere and mood associated with your photos, as well, so it is vital that you choose a photographer who can give you the desired results.

Color Theory

Color theory is another vital skill that professional photographers should possess. Different colors elicit different emotions from different people. Primary, secondary, and tertiary colors work together in harmony to create beautiful and often emotional imagery. Color is key to creating a focal point and holding the observer’s attention.


Composition can be described as the arrangement and placement of various elements within a frame to achieve the desired effect. Although headshot composition is not as difficult as landscapes, for example, knowledge of composition techniques is still important. The rule of thirds and the creative use of negative space are both important for headshot photography.

Post-Processing Skills

Photo editing has come a long way in the last 10 years, but despite all the technology available to virtually everyone, professional photographers are trained to process images in ways that improve their visual appeal. Photographers should be proficient with several photo editing tools, such as Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, Capture One Pro, and others.

How Do You Know if a Photographer is Good?

When learning how to choose a professional photographer, there are two primary focus areas that can help you decide whether a particular person or company is as good as they claim to be: their portfolio and their online reviews.

Review Their Portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of an individual’s past work that showcases and highlights a wide range of skills. Every professional photographer should be excited to allow you to browse their portfolio. When doing so, look for in-focus images, realistic skin color, consistency in quality, and a variety of different subjects and foregrounds.

Read Their Reviews

Reviews are the biggest indicator of whether a particular photographer is right for the job. While many photographers publish reviews and testimonials on their websites, it is always a good idea to look for third-party reviews, instead. A few complaints here and there aren’t always red flags, but if the complaints are significant, or if you see the same complaint multiple times, it may be best to choose a different photographer altogether.

What Questions Should I Ask Before Hiring a Photographer?

After reviewing a photographer’s qualities, skills, portfolio, and online reviews, it is always a great idea to ask questions that apply to your specific needs. Some of the most important questions to ask include the following:


  • Do you photograph in a studio or in an outside location? Many headshot photographers take pictures both inside their studios and in various outdoor locations. If you want to try a specific location, be sure to ask if that is a possibility before you book.
  • What is your billing structure? Some professional photographers bill clients by session, which includes a specific number of photos. Others may bill their clients hourly. In most cases, session pricing is the better and more reasonable option.
  • Does your price include retouching? The vast majority of photographers include some retouching in their base pricing, but it is not uncommon for a photographer to charge extra for going the extra mile during editing. Be sure to ask what is included – and what isn’t.
  • What are your ideas for my photographs? After telling your photographer what you hope to achieve with your headshots, ask if they have ideas they can give you. If they can come up with one or two creative options fairly quickly, that’s a great sign. If not, you may want to look elsewhere.
  • What happens if I am not pleased with the outcome? Last, but most certainly not least, ask the photographer about their satisfaction policy. What happens if you don’t like your photos? Can you get a refund or a partial refund?

Book a Session Today

The best professional photographers take pride in what they do, and they work hard to meet your needs and preferences. When you understand how to choose a photographer with the right skills and knowledge, you can rest assured that you will receive only the highest-quality imagery that suits your individual needs.


Kyle Bondeson Photography has more than 15 years of experience in portrait and commercial photography, and we offer several sessions and packages designed to meet your requirements. To learn more, or to schedule your session online, visit our website today.