After about 2 months now being a full time photographer I find myself trying to educate my clients, friends and family as they make the choice to choose a portrait photographer that's right for them.
There's a lot that goes into finding the perfect fit for you.
1. Type of shoot: The first question I have is- what type of shoot are you looking for -- newborn, maternity, family, couples, fashion? Is it a family reunion? Is it an event? I myself do a lot of different types of photography but my specialty is family moments from newborn all the way to weddings. My newborns are lifestyle moments, not posed. Many photographers specialize in posed newborn and posed children and don't do any events. Some photographers mainly do events but will do some family sessions from time to time. Family sessions are a different set of skills...
2. Style: Some people don't realize but photography is a HUGE investment not just in terms of price, but in terms of the time you spend planning and the time you spend with the photographer. You want to make sure the style of the person you choose is what you are looking for. Are they into posing? Will they direct you? Do they pose at all and just capture you in your essence with your family? What do you need and want? Are the photos you want to end up with edited in detail?
3. Investment: Realistically this should be the last thing on your mind, but usually it's the first. If you want someone literally just to snap photos - you can find that and cheap But is that what you want? Many photographers take their art very seriously - and don't want to just take snapshots - to your benefit. They will want to give you artwork to hold and cherish forever. They will take time to make sure the lighting is perfect and the location is perfect too. I love when my clients care about the clothes they wear and ask me for advice. I personally try to tell my clients not to wear white. Some more stylized sessions may involve tulle and tutus, some may just be casual. It's important that your photographer communicates with you and hears about what you want from your session. Then you also want to be able to trust that they will go above and beyond your expectations.
Some people think, "I just need one photo" or "I only need 20 minutes." I found all sessions basically needed the same amount of time...or more. A 20 minute session simply is not possible unless it's for one kid who smiles on command! There's no way to know how long you will need especially with children. I tend not to give a time limit at all, usually photo sessions are 1-2 hours and the children tell us when they are done. I like to ensure that people have dynamic shots to choose from.
I have clients who have had their shoots 2 years ago come back to me for help with printing. Now I want to help them right after the shoot, why should you let those beautiful photos sit on a computer, forever? It pays to print through the photographer. Let them do the work!
4. Personality: ask your friends or people you've seen use the photographer you are looking to hire. Are they good with children? With people? Are they relaxed? This could play a huge role in your event or family session. Not every one of your family members will be thrilled about their session. you want someone to make it as painless as possible.
5. Skill: Are their photos sharp and in focus, are they edited to your liking? Are they blurry and shaky? This is something many people don't even know to look for because they don't notice. Is there editing too much? Is it not enough for you? I spend hours going through my work to make sure it's 10000% perfect. I will never deliver a photo that wouldn't be hung in a museum!
Finally, go with your gut. Don't just price shop - look at their work. Fall in love. Ask your friends. Price should be the last thing on your mind if you know the quality is good and the photographer will go above and beyond. I have re-done shoots for my clients to ensure that they got the best and that their money was well spent, due to unforeseen circumstances.
Remember what it feels like to look back on your photos and remember your family in awe.
If you have anything else to add, I would love to hear it! Any questions please feel free to comment below or email me, Abbie@Abbiesophia.com
Good luck on your photography choices!