1. Make sure you like their style
Clearly you want to make sure that the photographer’s pictures are the types of images you’d like to have of your family. Look through their galleries and take note of the feel of their images. What types of colors do the pictures have—are they muted or vibrant? What types of settings are the pictures in? To what extent are the pictures posed vs. naturalistic or lifestyle pictures? Each photographer has their own style, and a good photographer will listen to what you want, but you should make sure you can see yourself in their portfolio.
2. Get a sense of their personality
Half of being a good photographer is presence. A good photographer should be able to strike a balance of being in charge during a photo session, while ensuring that your family—and the interactions between your family—are at the center stage. We’re here to help you feel at ease, to get you pumped up, and to ensure that you have a good time because that’s when you get quality pictures. Good photographers should be able to understand and adjust for what your family needs in order have a good session, something that differs from family to family. Read through the photographer’s website and get a sense of the tone and the energy they’re putting out. Set up a time to talk to them and generally suss out whether they sound like your type of people.
3. Having professional family pictures is an investment, make sure you’re hiring a professional
Taking family pictures is an investment. Hopefully, the pictures you take today will be up on your walls when your kids bring significant others home to meet the family. Family pictures help us define who we are and what it means to be part of our family. The natural thing we do when we sit down with a photo album, whether we’re with our kids or our friends, is to begin to tell stories about the past. The pictures you take today might even get passed down from generation to generation—think about the old pictures of your great grandparents you might have lying around in a trunk. That’s cool to think you might be helping your great great grandchildren tell the story of their family, and we’d argue that it’s worth an investment.
Anybody can pick up a camera, so you can likely find photographers who will charge you a wide range. Cheaper is not necessarily better though. Good professional photographers know how to engage the whole family, from little kids to stubborn spouses. We have technical knowledge of the camera and post-production process, but also professional experience that helps us set the stage for a good session, choose a good location, and avoid common pitfalls. And pricing often reflects that. So start by identifying photographers that look like they’ll be professionals who will help you tell your family’s story, then think about what you can afford. If you have questions, or like to talk on the phone, you should reach out to the photographer. How they respond will likely tell you something about how they’ll run their shoot.
4. Make sure you understand their pricing structure
Finally, you need to understand what you’re getting for your money. Some photographers make their shoots look cheaper than they are by charging a low shooting fee and then requiring a minimum purchase of images and albums. Read through their website and ask questions. If you want to get a photo album, how much will that cost? If you’re taking newborn pictures and think you might also want a six-month-old or a one-year-old session, do they have packages that include those or discounts if you get two sessions?