April 29, 2021

5 Red Flags to Be Aware of When Hiring a Photographer

Have you seen any of those traumatizing viral stories about ruined events because the wrong people were hired? Photographers are meant to create lifetime mementos, which is why you have to pick the best. We’ve compiled a list of the red flags to be aware of when hiring a photographer to save you money and unwanted experiences.

5 Red Flags to Be Aware of When Hiring a Photographer

If photographers lack good communication skills, an updated portfolio, and proper documentation like contracts, these are major signs that you shouldn’t hire them. If you don’t see updates on their websites or they have sketchy client feedback, these are also red flags to stop you.


When hiring a photographer, be on the lookout for these warning signs.

Does Not Prepare a Contract

A contract is a legally binding document that protects you as a customer. It sets responsibilities to the photographer that you expect to get, such as the type of service, timeline, turnover method, and final price.


With a contract, you can save yourself from troubles like hidden charges or delay in delivery. When you first connect with a photographer, ask about their photo contract details. If they don’t have one, this is a huge warning sign! It might mean they are new to the industry and don’t fully have their business set up, or perhaps they don’t take their business seriously.


Regardless of the reason, think twice before hiring any vendor if they don’t have a contract in place.

Doesn’t Have Any Recent Work to Show You

Suppose you like a particular album from 2017 because it matches your style. However, it’s important to check if a photographer’s recent work remained consistent, significantly improved, or lost its touch.


  • Do you know what to expect when you hire them?
  • Do they pay attention to details?
  • Are they good at timing candid shots?


If you don’t see these in their photos, it’s a telltale sign that it might also happen to you if you hire them.

Is Not Communicative Enough

During the inquiry and planning process, you want to feel as if the photographer treats you as a valuable customer and is helping you prepare for your photo session.


Communicating with photographers also lets you see if they are respectful, friendly, dull, or just downright rude. Steer away from photographers who take weeks to reply.


Remember, photographers need to communicate with you before, during, and after an event, and if there’s poor client communication, then that’s a sign of disappointing customer service.

Has an Outdated Website

A well-designed website with up-to-date content can reveal a photographer’s professionalism and work ethics.


Some websites have slow loading times or ancient designs. This is why about 38% of people stop engaging with unappealing websites.


If you don’t see any recent work and their website looks like it was made in 2003, it may be because a photographer hasn’t been shooting for quite some time. Moreover, a photographer’s shoot and editing style may change, so you have to see if their current photos would suit your preferences.

Gets Negative Reviews

Seeing no reviews can be quite unsettling when you’re hiring someone for the first time. Take time to check for public comments, both the good and the bad.


Feedback and testimonials can show what to expect from the photographers, and it speaks volumes if there aren’t any, or there are several horrifying testimonials.


However, make sure to weigh in the number of reviews. For example, a 5-star rating with only 4 testimonials seems like an easy feat. Meanwhile, a 4.5 rating with over 250 reviews implies that the photographers are pretty much active in the business of providing excellent service.


Getting your photos taken should be fun and memorable, not stressful and daunting. Research, ask questions and follow your gut. If you see these red flags on a prospective photographer, save yourself from impending problems, and look for a better one.


I’m grateful for this guest blog post written by Jen Landry at Cole’s Classroom. Take a look; they’re a great resource for photographers!

Jen Landry
Marketing | Cole’s Classroom


I’d love to talk to you about your next portrait session. Take a look and see if you think we’re a good fit and CONTACT me.

comments +

  1. Mel Valencia says:

    The lack of contract is spot-on! It’s a major red flag for customers.

  2. jennifer alsabrook-turner says:

    It should be! And if they’re not willing to create one, I’d be concerned.

  3. Wally P says:

    Ugh! I hate number 2!

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