When choosing the right photographer, I took the same steps that you would take to find a photographer. See if this sounds about right...
First, I narrowed down to any photographers who I knew in the area. I knew no one. At this point I could have asked for referrals from any non-photographers I knew in the area. But again, I don't even know any of them.
Second, I tried Thumbtack. As a "Thumbtack Pro" myself, the system wouldn't allow me to search for another pro in my own field of work. (For the exact reasons I mentioned in Part 2. So, thank you Thumbtack for trying to protect us from Mean People.)
The next day, I viewed them all again.
I caught on that one or two of them really just do weddings. Out.
A few others' styles were a little too romantic and dreamy for my taste. Beautiful work, just not my style.
And then there were two.
I sent both of them a message using from the contact form on their websites.
As I write this, over a month after having the pictures taken and over two months since sending that first email, I STILL HAVEN'T HEARD FROM ONE OF THEM! Seriously. PRO TIP: No matter what your industry, line of work or profession, if you don't reply to a request from a potential client, you have a 100% chance of NOT being hired. (Insert forehead slap and a bottle of V8)
So that leaves one.
He was flattered that I would choose him to photograph my family. He was available in our time frame. He seemed pretty nice, even via email. He even expressed interest in our family vacation.
So, I booked the session. I sent him a check. I hired a photographer! It was a very strange thing for me to say. I now "have a guy" in EP. I'm practically a local.
Get this -- when I told my parents that I had hired a photographer in Estes Park, all six of them (!) had the same reaction - they were THRILLED! Little did I realize that they had all been salivating for years for a portrait of my family and me.
This proves something rather important -- DO NOT ASSUME.
As a photographer, I ASSUMED my family was sick of receiving photographs as gifts. Turns out, I was wrong. So very wrong.
Translation: If you are even half-way considering hiring a photographer, DO IT. Odds are good that your mom will shed tears of joy when she carefully rips off the holiday paper from the big canvas with your family's smiles plastered all over it. (Just don't let her sob all over the canvas! Keep that baby dry!)
So you want to know who took our pictures? This guy:
So... can you guess what comes next?
I've admitted I need a photographer, and what kind. I've taken action by searching for and hiring Joe. You know what's next.
It starts with P ends with ANIC...