By having such easy access to photo-taking devices, we have the opportunity to photograph any and every milestone and moment we want. The problem is that we, as parents, aren't IN most of these photos. Hiring a professional photographer can not only help YOU to be present in photos with your most favorite people on the planet, but it is a wonderful way to celebrate your family and give a brief glimpse into your family life right now in all of its glorious beauty and chaos.
With so many photographers to choose from, how do you find the right fit? Here are 5 tips for choosing the right photographer for YOUR family:
1. Choose your style. Do you prefer the look and feel of traditional portraits with a studio backdrop? Would you and your family enjoy a more casual photo session at a local park or urban setting? Will it feel less stressful to document your family life from the comfort of your home? Each of these types of sessions have their advantages and limitations, so it helps to know which look and style you'll appreciate most.
2. Browse images. Spend time navigating a photographer’s portfolio to make sure their style of work matches your taste. If you are looking for a traditional portrait session where everyone is sitting and looking at the camera in most of the photos, for example, you may not want to choose a photographer who displays images with a more photojournalistic, candid style.
3. Learn about the photographer and the process. One of the first places I go when I am visiting a potential photographer’s website is their “about” page. You want to feel completely relaxed and comfortable with the photographer you choose, and getting to know a bit about him/her will help. You also want to understand what to expect. What type of photo session experience does the photographer offer? Do you receive helpful information in preparing for your photo session (tips on what to wear, ideas on what to do with your images, etc.)?
4. Experience with children. You want to choose a photographer that not only “gets” children and knows how to interact with them, you want to be sure they know how to connect with YOUR child. Whether your child is energetic, needs more time to warm up, or has difficulty in new situations, it helps when the photographer you’ve selected understands these needs and does whatever it takes to build a relationship and form trust with your little one. When there is trust, children are much more likely to relax...which inevitably helps you as the parent to feel at ease, too.
5. How much should you spend? Most professional photographers have spent countless hours (and dollars) learning composition, lighting, posing, and honing their craft. They have also taken the necessary steps to operate a legitimate business. A dedicated photographer and professional business owner will strive to offer you a quality experience throughout the entire process. Your photographer should take the time to get to know you and your family, and understand your specific needs. When you find the right photographer whom you feel will capture the essence of your family, figure out a way to hire her/him even if the investment is higher than someone else. Start a photo session fund where you set aside a bit of money each month. Ask the photographer if there is a payment plan option. Subscribe to her/his newsletter to receive special offers. Figure out a way to make it work if you really feel a connection with a particular photographer and believe they will create a positive photo session experience for your family.
The images you create with your children today will be their most treasured possessions someday. Take the time to capture who you are as a family at this particular moment in time and get IN the photos with them by hiring a professional photographer. You'll be so glad you did.