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choosing a family photographer that is right for you

When I wrote a line in my last post about me not being big on using props in photo sessions, it got me thinking. I had been meaning to write a post about this for awhile now, but wasn't sure how I wanted to approach it. I have decided to just make a list and go for it. Choosing a photographer for your family is something worth putting some research and thought into. Family photos should be a reflection of YOUR unique family. Not just a carbon copy of what you may think that a family portrait "should" look like.

There are several things to consider when you’re looking for a photographer:

1) Style

This is the biggie, for me. Most people would think it would be price.....But...if you find a photographer with a style you love, you can always take time and save up for a session...but you can't try to force a photographer with a different style than you are hoping for to fit your preferences. Do you like more formal posed portraits with backdrops and a more traditional look? Or do you prefer a more relaxed, candid look? How do you envision your finished images? Black and white? Moody urban? Vintage?  There are so many different photographers out there, each with their own style....it’s important that you find someone that matches you and your family. Look through their online gallery and blog, and facebook page. Would you like to have the images that you see there of your own family? They may do beautiful work, but if it is not a good match for what you are hoping for, keep looking. If I am talking to someone and I get the feeling that my style may not be what they are looking for, I am ok with telling them that, and pointing them in the direction of someone that is a match. Be very wary of the photographer that says, "yeah, yeah, sure...I can do that"....to requests you may have that you do not see in their work. Sure, maybe they can do it....but wouldn't you rather hire someone that does the look you want as the norm and not just in special cases?

2) Price

What is your budget for photos? There are photographers in practically every price range. You may find someone that can do your session for $50, and do a wonderful job.....But, in general, as with most things, you get what you pay for. Now, that does not mean that you have to pay thousands of dollars for your family portraits, although that is not uncommon. The key is finding someone that matches your style, at a price point that is reasonable for you. Check out some local photographers and learn how much an average session costs. Then you will know how much to plan for....or save for. Beautiful family photos are an investment.....so while you may have to save for awhile, they are something that is going to be special and valuable for years to come.

3) Referrals

Have you seen family photos that you love hanging on a friend's wall or posted on facebook? Ask your friends for the name of their photographer, and whether or not they would recommend them.

Sure there are plenty of other factors that can play into choosing a photographer (Are they insured? Professional or hobbyist? What is their policy if you are not happy with their work?) But, those are not in my big three....although, they are definitely questions that you may want to ask of potential photographers.

All in all, you need to keep in mind that you are choosing what is best for YOU and your family. That may not look the same to your mother in law or your friend. If you are not comfortable with the photographer or location of your session, it will show in the final images. Photo sessions should be a fun experience, not a stressful one...and that can be achieved with the right photographer.