Is Your Photographer a Good Fit For Your Family?
As a mom, I always want a professional photographer who I know will be patient with my children, and interactive. My children are no saints by any means and getting them to listen is a chore in itself. When it comes to photography, you'll see that many people put a lot of effort into choosing a wedding photographer but not as much consideration into who will capture their family photos. But you know what? Images of your family are just as important and will be something for your children, grandchildren, and, of course, future generations to look back on.
That’s why I, as a family photographer, have compiled a list of questions to help hire the photographer that will be a great match for your family.
- Do you specialize in a specific style of photography?
If you’re looking for a certain kind of photography, make sure to choose a photographer whose style matches what you’re seeking. Some photographers do more posed photos, and some go for a more candid look, while others do both depending on the client. If you want something specific for your images, don’t be afraid to ask. If you do your research, you will notice a HUGE difference between traditional posed family photos vs modern, lifestyle family photography. Both are great-but know what you're getting! A photographer's style is reflected in their portfolio, so asking them to produce a radically different style is a recipe for disaster. Definitely look for portraits you can imagine your family being in.
- Are the prices in your budget?
You know that old adage of "you get what you pay for?" Well, that can certainly be true in the world of photography.
Okay, but Vanessa... I know, I know – everyone wants a good deal. It’s so tempting to go with the lowest-priced option… but this is one area where you often get what you pay for. I won’t go into all the details about why I set my prices to be what they are, except to say that this business takes a LOT of hours behind the scenes (and time away from my own family). I usually spend 10+ hours per session, including emails, editing, marketing, etc. And that there are a lot more expenses than you’d think (insurance, taxes, backup gear… FYI most low-priced photographers do not spend money on these important things.) I am in this for the long haul – and I can only do this if I am realistic about my pricing.
I can certainly appreciate a deal – but if you are considering an extremely low-priced photographer, consider why you are getting such a cheap rate for the session. Is it because of a lack of experience? Is it because of poor-quality images? Is the photographer using professional gear, or did they buy the cheapest DSLR on the market? Does the photographer have backup gear in case something breaks? Is the photographer insured in case something happens to you or your family? Is the photographer operating legally? Just remember, these moments you are wanting to capture only come once – you blink and these days with your children are gone.
- Where can I find you online?
Photographer’s websites are a great place to view their portfolios. Determining whether your photographer is a hobbyist or professional is determining if they have a website or just social media pages. Similarly, like resumes, websites often put the photographer's best foot forward. And I don't know about you but if I am going to invest my money and my time into something, I want there to be a level of professionalism involved. I know that in this day in age that social media is all the hype but there are just some services that I'd rather maintain a level of professionalism when it comes to their services.
- How will I obtain the portraits you take of my family and when should I expect to receive them?
Professional photographers have a reliable system for delivering photos to you. Ask questions, and make sure you know what you're getting for your money. Did you only pay for a session fee? Are all of your digital images included? Do you have to order a certain number of prints? Every photographer has their prices set up differently. Some are all-inclusive and you get all the images for a set price, while others allow you to pick from packages after a session fee has been paid.
Nowadays, photographers are delivering photos via an online viewing gallery and it has made such a world of difference, in my opinion as a photographer that is. But is this something you as a client enjoy? If not, you may want to find a photographer who delivers their photos the way you enjoy receiving them.
All questions aside...
Use your gut to judge their personality and rapport. Capturing emotions and moments is a photographer’s main job. If your photographer doesn’t mesh well with you on the phone or in person, chances are you and your family will not mesh well with them at your portrait session and this will show in your photos.
Other things you may want to ask your photographer:
- Do they offer styling tips/consultations? Some photographers even provide a client closet to pick through.
- Location Ideas - some photographers actually have preferred locations they love shooting at. So don't be afraid to inquire about those locations.
- Best time of day for family photos - I am a sunset photographer but I know that may not be ideal for some families so make sure to inquire about this as well.