Today’s post is about how you should approach finding a family photographer to whom you will be coming back year after year instead of trying new one every single time you decide to get your family pictures. Even better, how to avoid a situation in which after one (and maybe your first ever) session, you’re so disappointed you decide not to do it ever again.
A little research and understanding of why it is important to have a trustworthy family photographer will make your Holiday season way more pleasant (year after year after year). Lets start with this short video of my returning clients speaking about the pros of having a photographer who knows your family your needs and your expectations. I couldn’t have explained it better:
A photographer is not just a random picture taker. He or she is someone that captures some of the most memorable events and fleeting moments of your life. This is when the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” really matters. That first impression could be the only impression that is made. Among the professional photographers, today’s market is filled with amateurs, quasi-professionals, and hobbyists; that doesn’t imply that they are bad. What it does mean though, is that you have a sea of choices out there, and you might get lost or confused in trying to make a selection. When it comes to finding a photographer, there is a perfect match for everyone, you just have to do more work to find the one that best suits you.
1. START EARLY
If you are thinking about having Christmas photos taken this year, start looking for the right photographer as soon as possible. By October all the good photographers will be booked, and you will be left with whatever is available on the market, not necessarily the one whose style or services you appreciate. If you go with that “first available” then it might cause a snowball effect. Your experience might suck, you might not like the pictures, your spouse is not happy that you had to spend all that money for nothing, and the conclusion to that might be “we are not doing it ever again”. Start early and you will be able to book the one photographer your really like, and whose work you admire.
2. ASK YOUR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES
In today’s world almost every family has had at least one professional photography session. If they haven’t, I can assure you, they know at least one friend who has. Ask them about their experiences with the photographer, service, and final product. Ask them if they are happy with the photographer, if they will be using him/her again. What was good and if anything, what was bad. Sometimes your friend’s preferences regardless style and overall feeling might differ from yours. Photographer who was not the best fit for them might be the perfect one for you. That’s why it is important to gather some names and move to step 3 (“look through the photographers websites”).
3. CHECK THOROUGHLY THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S WEBSITE
After you get few names from your relatives or friends next step is to go to those photographers websites. I think, it today’s world every professional should have a website. Facebook won’t do it. Facebook is for people who take pictures as a hobby and for people who are still building their portfolio and are not quite in the business. They might be considering going pro but they are still not there. The decision is yours. You have to ask yourself what your needs are. What is it that you envision for your session. Are you ok with going with a starting photographer? You have to remember that all the photographers started somewhere with people who trusted them at the very beginning… They didn’t just enter the market with stunning portfolio and amazing skills of posing or entertaining people during the session. If you want to trust such person then you have to know that thanks to you that person has the opportunity to grow and learn.
Ask yourself what kind of session you want to have. Do you want it to be very charming and glamorous with huge amount of props and sparkles?
Do you want it wild and lifestyle? You want to let the photographer in to your home for several hours and let him/her simply snap away whatever is going on during your regular day. I think, that’s a very neat idea, and I know several local photographers who are awesome doing those kind of sessions.
Or maybe you’re interested strictly studio portraits of your family. You don’t want to deal with getting dirty in the woods or park, you don’t want to run around with your kids and be silly. It’s simply not you.
The website is your first step to get to know the photographer. Read a little about him or her, get to know her style and get the feeling about the person behind the lens.
If during your session you want many funny props to be involved, and all what you see on a particular photographer’s website is all natural and candid portriats with no props whatsoever then do not expect that this photographer will be passionate about working around your vision for family session.
Yes! Communicate your needs, your expectations and even your worries with the photographer. In my book the only wrong question is the one not asked.
If you have worries about your kids not cooperating, express them. If you don’t know how to dress or what to bring to the session. Ask! If you don’t like certain activities, like kissing in front of other people (in this case a photographer) say it, so they will not try to force you to do it during the session. 😉
Make a list of what kind of pictures you mostly want to get from the session: the whole family, kids only, maybe one shot with the kids and the dad. Mix of everything. The more you communicate with the photographer the better chance is you will have an amazing session with photographs you love.
5. DON’T BASE YOUR CHOICE ON THE PRICE ONLY
Yes, price is important, and you want to know what you’ll get and for how much before you decide on the photographer. You need to know all your options the photographer can offer you. There are photographers who are in a process of building their portfolio therefore they photograph people for very little. There are established photographers who have been leading the market place and they will provide you with top-notch services and products for quite bit more then the starting photographers 🙂 The decision is yours. Do you care about the quality of services and products you want to get out of the session or the quantity. Think about all different services the market offers you and which one would suit your needs best. It shouldn’t be an overnight decision. Take your time.
Choosing a photographer shouldn’t be an overnight decision. Start looking for a photographer way ahead so you have the time to do the proper research and the time to get to know the photographer you’ll choose at the end. Find someone with whom you feel comfortable sharing your wishes and ideas. Choose a photographer which style of working you like and whose photographs you admire. Exchange as many emails as you want. If your desire is to meet the photographer in person before the session, he/she should be willing to meet you without hesitation. Most likely paying a higher price equals a higher quality product and services and sometimes you simply have to save up for it. If that’s not possible, look for a different photographer, but not just any photographer who’s cheaper. Pick someone who will take pictures of your family worth hanging on your walls, not hiding in the drawer. Overall, [ctt title=”it\’s better to pay more for fewer pictures where you love each and every one, rather than to pay less, but get a disc full of photographs you don’t really like. ” tweet=”it’s best to pay more for less pictures where you love all of them,than to pay less for a disc full of photographs you don’t like ” coverup=”ZPwc5″]
Remember, if you invest some time in researching the market, you will find the right photographer for your family, and you will not have to do it again, because most likely
you have found a photographer for life.
Your Family Photographer
Pleaser share this post with your family and friends if you found it helpful. Stop by my Facebook Page and say Hi. Feel free to comment with your experience finding the perfect family photographer. Have you been able to achieve it or you are still looking?
If you want to talk more about your ideas for family session then shoot me an email to ewasamples(at)gmail.com
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