Please don’t take this the wrong way.  I am not looking to take shots at any photographer who is trying to establish a legitimate photography business.  It’s a steep but reachable goal that involves time, money, patience and motivation.  Any photographic artist who is serious about succeeding will.  After all, nearly each one of the items on this list also applied to me when I started.  However, if you’re looking to hire a photographer to capture one of the most important days of your life, and IF the images captured on that day will be important to you, please consider this list of tell-tail signs that you’re dealing with an amateur.  The bottom line is to make sure you like the photographer’s work {art} MORE than you like their price.


San Antonio Wedding Photographers

  1. No website. Facebook presence only.  Being that I was a website designer in a past career, pretty early on I created a web presence outside of social media.  If your potential photographer refers you to a portfolio only seen on Facebook, be warned.  They don’t take their business seriously.
  2. Doesn’t pay taxes.  This can apply to income tax, sales tax, county property/business tax or state franchise tax.  There are a lot of taxes to be paid.  Your photographer isn’t quite obligated to charge you these taxes, but they are mandated by law to pay these taxes.  If your potential photographer isn’t paying some or all of these taxes, they don’t take their business seriously.  And, they could get in serious trouble.
  3. No insurance.  I don’t ever want to have to file a claim on this policy, but when you hire me to cover your event, I’m insured.  If I trip your Aunt Edna, if Aunt Edna bumps into me and I drop my camera (Don’t worry!  See item #5, I have a backup!), or if all of the SD cards are burnt to a crisp because I crash my car on the way home, I’m covered.  If your potential photographer doesn’t carry a liability policy, they do not take their business seriously.
  4. No written agreement.  Having a written agreement removes all the guesswork from the photographer/client relationship.  It establishes a working timeline, a model release, a copyright (if any), a completion schedule and a retainer/payment plan.  A written agreement should be clear and concise and provide a list of expectations from each party.  In this day and age and with all of the technical complexities, a verbal agreement sealed with a handshake just won’t cut it.  That leaves too much room for ambiguities or misunderstandings.  If your potential photographer doesn’t provide a written agreement, they don’t take their business seriously.
  5. No backup equipment. The first time my camera broke, I was out of commission for months… months!  While waiting on the repairs to be made, I immediately starting saving for an additional camera.  Now, if one happens to break, it’s really no sweat off of my back.  I can continue to work.  If your potential photographer doesn’t have backup equipment, they don’t take their business seriously.
  6. Lacks technical skill.  This is really the most obvious sign.  If your potential photographer  frequently shoots in Automatic or Program mode and/or uses on-camera-flash in all low light situations, they do not take their business seriously. Even if items 1 through 5 on this list applies to them, they may still be capable of taking an excellent photograph.  But, if they lack sufficient technical skill, your images will not be the best they can be and they don’t take their business seriously!  Seriously!!  An appropriate metaphor would be comparing  a box cake against a made-from-scratch, edible, piece of art from an experienced cake designer.  Both are cakes, but one is much better.


Since day one, I have viewed my business as an extremely serious one and had a vision of where I want to be… I continually take steps to accomplish this vision and make it a reality.  I’ve even made additional strides to expand my business and establish myself as a legitimate business owner and photographic artist:

  1. I attend or purchase workshops, seminars and clinics to improve my photography skill.
  2. I registered my business with the State of Texas.
  3. I became a paying member of an international group of photographers.
  4. I network with like-minded professionals.
  5. I expand my photographic and/or business knowledge on a daily basis.
  6. I look for second-shooting opportunities with established wedding photographers.
  7. I examine photography work outside of the wedding industry.
  8. I subscribe to and read wedding-related blogs to stay on the forefront of trends and styles.
  9. I try to find personal connections with my clients.
  10. I find ways to differentiate my business and experience from that of other photographers.

So, while I am not yet where I want to be, I can certainly see where I am going.  That makes my heart happy!  If you’re just starting out and if you’d like to chat, I’m available to share whatever knowledge I’ve gained thus far.  Feel free to instant message, email or call!  Until next time, be positive, be happy, be healthy, and don’t forget to be photographed.


san antonio senior portrait photographers ata-girl photography since 2010I am a San Antonio-based wedding and senior photographer who started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. As one of the up-and-coming San Antonio wedding photographers, I am also available to shoot in Austin, Houston and Dallas and the surrounding areas. I am also available for destination weddings. Ata-Girl Photography Co. offers an amazing San Antonio wedding photography service that you won’t soon forget. As a San Antonio wedding photographer, my sole purpose is to treat your San Antonio wedding like a regal event.

In addition to wedding photography, I also specialize in San Antonio senior portraits and senior portraits for high school seniors in my local surrounding areas.

I am a professional photographer who enjoys documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. When I’m not photographing a wedding, family or high school senior, I enjoy watching my daughter play softball, hiking, cycling, reading, and listening to Elvis!

The post, Tell-Tail Signs You’re Dealing with An Amateur, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co’s website and blog. Please enjoy this San Antonio wedding photography provided by Tammy Blalock and Ata-Girl Photography Co. who offers superb San Antonio wedding photography in the San Antonio metro and surrounding area and strives to be one of the finest San Antonio wedding photographers.