FiVE [5] TIPS HOW TO CHOOSE A FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER: PART I

Finding someone to take your family photos can be a tricky business! Photographs aren’t things that you can see, touch, hear, smell or taste beforehand. Every family is unique, including yours, so you don’t really know what you’re actually getting until after the fact. There is an abundance of articles by photographers for photographers: from tips how to create beautiful imagery to running a business, but very few talk to you, the client, listing suggestions for careful research and selectiveness choosing a photographer that will deliver images closest to your vision.

Today I am sharing a quick guide and five tips for choosing your family photographer based on my personal past experiences and client’s feedback. This is part one, though, as I will be sharing a couple more blog posts soon from this series. So make sure to stay tuned!

 
 
  1. TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY

MAKE SURE YOU FOCUS ON PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO SPECIALIZE IN THE TYPE OF IMAGERY YOU’RE LOOKING FOR.  

Start with finding out what kind of services, packages, and sessions a photographer offers; whether they have a studio, photograph on location or at your home. Do they provide pre-session consultation? Does their session fee include any pictures or do you have to buy a separate package on top? Do they sell prints and other wall-art? Do they use natural or artificial light? How long does the session last? What are post-production details? And so on. Never hesitate to ask.

If a photographer offers lifestyle newborn in-home sessions, for example, but you’re looking for classic newborn posed portraits in a studio, with props and a variety of cute outfits, I would only email someone who already specializes in that niche. That way you know the photographer has had similar experience before and have the equipment ready to create artwork you’re envisioning.

2. PORTFOLIO

MAKE SURE PHOTOGRAPHER’S WORK IS CONSISTENT

Examine the portfolio. See if photographer’s editing style is consistent throughout. Let's be honest, you’re mainly basing your decision on their work. Thus, you want to make sure that this what you’re going to get. Post-processing/photo editing is one of the main aspects that differentiate photographers from one another and make them stand out. Therefore, make sure you take your time and actually look through their work. However, don’t forget that every session is different and unique. Not one image will look exactly the same. Yet, you should be confident that the photographer will use reasonable efforts to ensure that desired images are produced in a style and manner consistent with photographer’s current portfolio. 

3. FULL CLIENT GALLERY

MAKE SURE TO GET WELL-ROUNDED IDEA OF THEIR WORK

Portfolios typically only consist of highlights from different sessions chosen by the photographer. Thus, ask them to show you a few examples of full galleries from previous clients. This way you can visualize the final result a little better, regarding photo editing consistency, diversity of photographs, the moments photographer captured, compositions, and overall image quality. 

 
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4. PERSONALITY

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SIMILAR PERSONALITIES AND VALUES

From reading reviews, you might already have a slight idea about the photographer’s personality. To me, it would be essential to know that it matches or is similar to mine. You should always read the photographer’s ABOUT ME page on their website, but you can also get to know them through their online presence. How do they talk to the audience? Do they seem friendly, confident and personable? With Facebook and Instagram stories now available, you can even take a peek behind the scenes and what they like to do on a daily basis. Their website can also have clues about the photographer’s personality.

You would want to know that the person who’s going to be working around and with your children is patient and kind. Family sessions with young kids can be challenging! I sometimes feel like I’ve ran a marathon after one. Toddlers, they are always on the go. That’s why you would want to know that a photographer is understanding, calm and doesn’t mind chasing kiddos around while capturing beautiful memories for you.

 Never underestimate the importance of bonding with your photographer. 

5. CONTRACT

MAKE SURE YOU KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.

Does a photographer have a contract/client agreement? As innocent as it might seem, it is still a business with its possible liabilities. Unfortunately, sometimes things do go wrong, and you want to be sure that you’re protected. Yes! A client agreement should protect both: the photographer and the client. Before signing anything, make sure you actually read the contract and understand what does every clause mean. Additionally, make sure to tell the photographer if you have any questions, but you DO WANT A CONTRACT.

For example, most contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken for promotional purposes and includes a model release form, meaning that they are able to use your images without having to get your permission ever again. However, sometimes you have your family photos taken for a special occasion that you don’t want them to be revealed to the public too soon; or you merely hold specific values and would rather keep them private. If so, you have to inform the photographer, negotiate the terms and have it in writing BEFORE SIGNING THE AGREEMENT, including any other changes. 

 
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I hope these tips will help you find the best photographer for you and your family! There are a few other things that you should also look into, that I will cover in the PART II of this blog post. In the meantime, if you have any questions - ask away! Let me know in the comments below how do you go about choosing a photographer? As I said, these suggestions are based on my personal experiences and feedback from my clients, so maybe there’s something I’m missing? I would love to hear your thoughts!

WIth love,

Ina.

 

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