Whether you need a talented professional photographer for your executive headshot or to photograph your corporate event, you may find it a bit challenging to narrow down your choices. The problem is that despite an abundance of great photographers, there’s also a risk of encountering photographers who over-promise and under-deliver. Make sure you lookout for the following signs and red flags when hiring a “photographer” for any occasion:

Red Flag 1. Amateur Shooting Style

Unfortunately, there are some photographers who label themselves professionals when they’re nothing but amateur. If you work with them, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a collection of tacky photos that you wouldn’t be too proud of. A good way to understand whether or not a photographer is really a professional is by looking through their portfolio and observing their shooting style. Check to see if there are any distracting elements cluttering up the background. This signifies that the photographer doesn’t pay attention to detail and is incapable of delivering professional-quality photos. See if the images have any unusual shadows, which indicates that the photographer doesn’t know how to use flash properly. Observe the angles in which the photos are taken and see if the photographer has a tendency to awkwardly tilt or skew the photos they produce.

Red Flag 2. Lack of Authentic Reviews

People trust the experiences of other people. Professional photographers know this and try to showcase as many reliable reviews about their service as possible. If the photographer you’re planning to work with doesn’t have any online reviews or only has several reviews that look slightly suspicious, it could be a cause for concern. Look for reviews posted on websites other than the photographers. But even then, you could still come across fake or bought reviews. Try to avoid photographers who only have perfect scores and raving reviews. It’s only natural for people to make mistakes – even professional photographers. So don’t hesitate to look for photographers who have a few bad reviews in addition to several good ones.

Red Flag 3. All Talk; No Show

Even if a professional photographer has an impressive portfolio, it doesn’t necessarily mean they would be the right pick for you. Look through the photographer’s website and social media content and see how they’re talking about their work. Are they only talking about themselves and how “awesome” they are? Or are they showing their expertise by providing useful content? While you may be enthralled by the photos they have taken for previous clients, it might be a good idea to see if they really have expertise by looking at their written content. Most photographers take on jobs in different genres of photography such as beauty, fashion, business, real estate, events, products, interior design, etc. Check out how they’re talking about these different genres to see if they have a clear understanding of what’s needed to meet the unique demands of different clients.

Red Flag 4. Poor Communication

Professional photographers are busy people so you might find that some of them do not respond promptly to your messages. This may not necessarily be a red flag immediately. Instead, be wary when the photographer is consistently late with replies after you’ve communicated with them several times. Additionally, make sure you stay far away from a photographer who doesn’t even have the decency to apologize when they’ve responded very late to your messages. Even for photographers who respond quickly on a regular basis, it’s important to observe the way they communicate with you. They may only be talking about themselves, what they can do, whom they’ve worked with, and how much they charge. Instead, you need to work with photographers who take the time to listen to your needs patiently and respond accordingly. It’s crucial that you look for someone who takes the initiative to have a planning session before the photography.

These are four of the top red flags you should look out for when you’re planning to hire a professional photographer. Other than these, you should also consider their pricing and availability as well as the time taken to finish the project. These tips will help you choose a photographer who is fully capable of delivering the quality of work you’re looking for and according to your expectations.