Choosing your Perfect Photographer
Don't get overwhelmed choosing the right photographer. Here's some tips to finding someone you and your family connect with.
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August 25, 2022
It’s time for holiday photos and you haven’t picked your photographer! Oh no! Choosing the right photographer can be extremely challenging, especially when there are so many professionals to choose from in your area.
Before I started my business, I thought the key to finding the right photographer was finding a portfolio full of beautiful photos. I have learned over the years, there is so much more to it than that. Before you are blown away by gorgeous images and overwhelmed by all the photographers you can choose from, take a look at this list of things to look for in a photographer. Your family photos may never be the same again!
It seems like photography itself should be its own specialty, but that’s not how the photography business works. Just like doctors have different specialties, so do photographers.
Lifestyle photographers will work to recreate and capture moments and emotions. These images will give more of a candid/real feel. Portrait photographers specialize in posing. There is more structure to the shoot. Every bent arm and turned head is planned. Lifestyle photographers may give you a portrait image or two, but their focus will be on creating motion and emotions. They will use coaching, but may not specifically say how to stand.
Newborn photographers are typically studio photographers. They are masters in photo editing and newborn safety. Many of the intricately posed newborn photos are created in the photo editing process to ensure the safety of the baby. These are those gorgeous photos with the baby resting peacefully on their bellies, holding their head in the hands. You may also come across a lifestyle newborn photographer. They will give you images that feel, again, less posed. You may see mom and dad cuddling the baby or the baby may be resting peacefully in a crib, but you won’t see a baby with as many props or resting in a bean bag-looking bed. Lifestyle photographers will probably do these shoots during an in-home shoot, instead of in a studio.
There are also photographers that specialize in weddings, maternity, even goddess maternity, composite (creating images in editing), sports, landscape, adventure weddings, and so many more. Find out what your photographer is specializing in to get the best images for your purpose.
Look at previous photos your photographer has done. Photographers are artists and, in addition to posing people and finding ideal locations, they express themselves through editing. If you’re looking for images that have high contrast and darker colors, find someone with a moody edit. If you like the bright white coloring with a lot of background blur (bokeh), look for light and airy. If you are unsure of what the photographers editing style is, ask them. They may have a few different editing styles they are playing with or one they have in mind for each session. Your photographer is going to take the time to think about how each photo best represents their work, while creating a stunning image for you. It is their artistry that you are choosing when you hire them.
Pay attention to what is included with your session package. Some photographers will charge for the session and photos are extra. The photos may only be available as prints through the photographers printing lab or they may be available as digital downloads. The photographer may include 5 photos in a session or 50 photos. These are all very dependent on the photographers preference and how the photographer makes a living. I, for instance, offer packages that include session time and a specific number of images. There is an option to purchase more if they are available and there is an option to buy prints through a professional printing company. This is what works best for my business and my clients.
You want to have an accurate depiction of your photographer’s work with clients, so you should see their work with clients. Many photographers will attend styled shoots. Styled shoots exist for photographers to build up their portfolios and practice their craft. Someone organizes the event. They hire models, dress shops, a venue, a florist, a wedding planner, and many other vendors. These are great, but they don’t show your photographer’s work with their clients. I feel it’s best to see a session your photographer is in charge of, from lighting to location to posing to wardrobe. Ask your photographer to see current work with their clients. Ask how they pose their clients or ask to see their favorite image from their last session. You’ll get a good feel for your photographer’s quality of work.
Make sure you and your photographer click! While photographers in general will take great photos, the photographer you are most comfortable with will make magical images. If you feel annoyed or awkward with your photographer, your images are going to look tense and, quite frankly, awkward. It’s like choosing a real estate agent. While any real estate agent can find a home, the real estate agent you click with will find the perfect home because they know you well enough to know what will make you happy. If your photographer is someone you want to be around, you are going to love doing sessions with them, time will fly by, and your images will be stunning!
Each photographer has the power to set their own prices. Prices aren’t always a direct reflection of quality. It’s based on several factors including, planning, editing, experience, package items, quality, demand for this photographer, etc. While budget is important, don’t let price be the determining factor of your choice. Make sure you like your photographer and can connect with them. These are your photos that you will cherish for a lifetime from a time in your life that will only be here once.
Holidays are such a wonderful time of the year, but they also can be SO stressful. Don’t let your family photos be the most stressful part of your holidays. Enjoy the experience! I like to make sure my clients are having fun during a shoot. I want them to feel like they are on a typical outing and they just happen to have some paparazzi nearby snapping family photos.
I wish everyone a happy holiday and I hope you find your photographer soulmate. Maybe I’m your photographer soulmate! I would love to meet you.
Juniper & Oak
I AM SO EXCITED TO meet you!