1. Decide what you want before you start your research. Do you want a photographer who is good with children, loves fashion and weddings, photographs cakes, jewellery and property, and photographs school graduations, sports events, business headshots and….[insert other here]? [...] 2. Decide how much (time, money, energies) you value your photographs Good photographs are not created instantly with the click of a button. Professional photographers invest time (and money) learning photography, learning about people and business, developing their skills and researching and acquiring new tools (or paying someone to assist them: cameras, editing software, social media, marketing, accounting). [...] 3. Do you like their style? Is it consistent across a variety of people and settings? Most photographers showcase their best work online. Look at their galleries: Would you like to see your family in their images? Only choose a photographer if you like their work. Don’t assume they will easily do other styles or subjects. [...] 4. Do you like them in person? Once you’ve done your research it will be time to contact your chosen photographer. A good photographer will have a consultation process – possibly starting with a questionnaire- to understand your needs, answer your questions and build rapport before your session. [...] 5. See their work in print. A good photographer will be happy to show you their portfolio and samples of their work. Details of online images are limited by the resolution of your screen and variations between different devices. . [...] 6. Do they have a contract? What are their terms and conditions? Always ask for a written contract before making any payment. [...] 7. Do they have a proper business (registered and paying taxes)? Do they have insurance? Anybody can buy a professional camera and order business cards. Perhaps they have a hobby and are only insured for it. [...] 8. Do they have qualifications? Awards? Testimonials? A commercial photography job (for a large food company or national newspaper) may require specialist skills, certified by a photography degree. For the business of photography, though, qualifications are not required. Some photographers start their business whilst practising photography as a hobby. [...] It’s great if your photographer has won some awards or people compliment them online. It means other people like what they do and are happy to share it with the world. Remember, though, to go over the previous tips before you let awards and testimonials influence your decision. Your opinion is the only one that matters.