With the amount of photographers out there, finding one that fits your style, and budget can be daunting. Each photographer has their own style. Where should you start? Read on!
Style– Just as no two people see the world in the same way, each photographer has their own eye and style. Style is perhaps the most important factor when choosing a family photographer.
If you love color, don’t hire a photographer that has mostly black and white photos in their portfolio. If you love soft natural light, look for photographers who shoot without flash. Some photographers shoot with a very wide depth of field. That means that everything in the photo from the main subject to the background is in focus. This results in a very “street photography” feeling. If you are wanting something more romantic, modern and clean find a photographer who knows how to blur out that background. Try and find someone who’s portfolio who evokes emotion. If you smile, swoon or think, “These images are dreamy and I would love to have some of my family,” then chances are you like their style, how they see the world and can then move on to price.
Price– lets face it, everyone wants to get a good deal on anything they buy. Cliched as it may be the adage, “you get what you pay for” rings true. There are many different price levels of photographers ranging from very cheap to very expensive. If someone is extremely cheap they maybe inexperienced and trying to build their portfolio. They can be competent, and you may get lucky and find a fresh new talent, but look at their portfolio. Are they up to snuff??
Some of the cheaper photographers may be trying to do a high volume business. Check if they focus on quality vs quantity. Do their photos look different and unique or do they all look the same? If you don’t mind the school photo look, they maybe the right photographer for you.
There are some photographers out there that reel people in with a “free photo session” but the session is all you get. You have to pay to get either the digital files or photo prints. Make sure you understand exactly what you are getting for your money. A quality photographer will have everything from the session to the photos, (digital and printed) priced out either on their webpage or on a price sheet. There should be no questions or surprises.
Take a look at the about page on the photographers webpage. See if their experience is inline with their pricing. Those who have exceptional experience can and should charge more, because in the end you are paying for commissioned art of your family. Are they worth it? You betcha.
Location vs studio– The weather can be unpredictable especially here in Denmark. Therefore many photographers have studios. Some work exclusively inside their studios, while others prefer location shooting, either coming to your home or helping you choose your ideal location. It is important to ask yourself what works for your family.
Studios are great for newborns because you can control the heat and the light. Beyond that —this is my own bias and I’m terribly sorry— I don’t like shooting families in a studio. Kids are high energy, goofy and want to have fun. Sitting still in front of a boring white wall and smiling in for a photographer in a studio is not only boring but it doesn’t show off those fun personalities. Ask your 8 year old self what would you rather do. Would you rather play in a park, or sit on a chair staring at some boring photographer?
Find a photographer who not only shoots on location but who can recommend safe locations for the kids. Find someone who will play along with the children and doesn’t require them to sit still. You can make a day of it and family photos don’t have to be a horrible chore, they can be an exciting day everyone will look forward to.
Specialization– Does the photographer do families, weddings, food, real estate, commercial or industry photography? Chances are the more “hats” the photographer has on their website, the less specialization they have with kids and families. While it is possible to book the hottest and most expensive photographer in the area, but if they can’t get your little one to smile, then maybe they aren’t the photographer for you.
Wall worthy– I made up this term because it is how I judge my own photos. Is this photo completely special? Does it deserve to be printed out, framed and hung on the wall? Don’t just look at a photographers portfolio to see if you can spot wall worthy photos. The portfolio images are carefully chosen to be the best of the best. Instead take a look a the blog. Do they post family photoshoots on the blog? If so did they get only one good photo from the shoot or are all the photos wall worthy? Do the images from the family shoots tell a story? Do they take your breath away? Do they catch your eye and keep you coming back? Can you imagine a photos like that on your wall at home?
If you follow these tips while browsing through the many family photographer websites you can quickly narrow it down.