So you've made the decision to have portraits made of your children or your family. You're excited to get a session booked and get some new photos! Now comes the task of choosing a photographer. You may have many choices available to you; how do you make a decision?
Not to worry, I'm here to help! As a RI children's photographer, I'm very familiar with the world of portrait photography, and I've got five tips for you to break down just what to look for in your search for a photographer who will immortalize your family's memories. Read on for the tips!
1. Choose a photographer who specializes in what you want photographs of.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it's not something that people always consider. If you are looking for portraits of your children, it makes sense to choose someone who specializes in child portraiture (rather than specializing in, say, weddings or landscapes or pet photography). Someone who specializes in the type of photography you are wanting will be an expert in that genre and that will go far in getting you beautiful photos. A person who specializes in landscapes may have gorgeous scenic photos but does not have the expertise of working with child or family portraiture. It's sort of like how you would choose an electrician to do an electrical job, not a plumber.
2. Choose a photographer whose style is what you're looking for.
Everyone has a style they like or are looking for, even if you can't name or put your finger on it. Make sure to take a look through a photographer's portfolio (via website, Facebook page or Instagram) to see whether they are a good match for what you're wanting. If you are looking for fairytale-looking photos, someone who is a documentary-style photographer would not be the best fit. If you would like posed/studio newborn photos, make sure you're choosing someone who shoots those specific types of newborn photos, vs. in-home lifestyle photos. There are many styles out there to suit everyone; do some research to find your perfect match!
3. Check for consistency.
This is related to tip #2. However, rather than just checking a photographer's overall style ,this relates to viewing their photos and seeing that they have an overall consistent look. You want to be sure you have a good idea of what your photos will look like when you go to a photographer. If you notice that a photographer's photos don't have a consistent look overall (different editing styles, different shooting styles, hard to tell that they were taken by the same photographer) that may be a red flag. Make sure to choose someone who makes you confident on what your final product will look like.
4. Choose a photographer who is involved from beginning to end.
A photo session is more than just showing up and having photos taken. While it would be great if it was that easy, there's a lot more that goes into it. Choose a photographer who is involved beyond just taking a deposit for a session, shooting the session and mailing you images on a CD. Your overall experience will be much easier and smoother if you choose someone who works with you on each step, from initial consultation to choosing a session date, helping you pick out outfits and location (even coordinating time, location, and wardrobe for that perfect look), to shooting your session, to showing you your images and helping you pick which ones work best for albums, prints, canvases, digitals, and more, to actually delivering your choices to you. Make sure your photographer is someone you feel comfortable communicating with at any point through the process, and even after the fact, lest you have any questions or issues. All these things make a difference!
5. Find out what the photographer's image storage or retention policy is.
This is something that a lot of people don't think of, but it's important. What happens if, god forbid, your home had a fire or flood five years down the line and you lost your album or your framed prints? Or what if you receive digitals from your photographer and your computer crashes somewhere down the line and you didn't have a backup of those photos? Or what if those digitals were on a DVD and it gets scratched and can't be read any longer? These aren't fun things to think about, but they can happen. Photographers have different policies on how long they keep photos. Some keep them forever (I do!); some delete after a certain amount of time (90 days, a year, several years). If you needed to get new copies of prints or digitals several years or more down the line due to some mishap, could you? It's an important question to ask.