It’s almost that time of year, when people are starting to set up their appointments for family photographs to be taken for the holiday’s. But how do you pick the perfect photographer for your family? Here are my 5 tips on how we’ve always evaluated and made our decision for our family photoshoots:
1. Quality and Expertise
Quality is always our families top priority when searching for a photographer. It is extremely time consuming to get everyone together and do a photoshoot, as well as all of the planning leading up. Therefore, we really want the final product to be beautiful and something we are happy to share with our family and friends. Personally, I like photographers that are either experienced or have formal training so that they not only can snap beautiful photographs but are able to edit them properly so that they look as good on the screen as they do printed. A great way to determine how consistent a photographer is, is to check out their portfolio and then decide if their work is up to the standard you expect for what you are paying.
2. Reviews and Recommendations
The best is when you know someone that has previously used the particular photographer you are looking to book. You can ask questions on how the process was from booking, to the actual session, to how long it took to receive the photos and how they ultimately turned out. Otherwise, there are great ways to search reviews such as Yelp or Google + which will give you a good idea of how the process was for others.
3. Investment and Budget
Photography isn’t cheap, from the equipment, to the classes they take to educate themselves, to the session time, to the time they spend editing the final photos! It is time consuming and expensive and therefore a GREAT photographer won’t come cheap. So be realistic in what you want achieved and what your budget is in order to find the best photographer to suit your families needs. Make sure you know the final costs, not only the cost for the session, but how much it is to get prints or a digital copy. Some photographers may have hidden fees and you may think your getting a good deal without realizing that you have all these add ons at the end. So make sure you always ask for total cost in order to make your final decision on who to hire.
When you’re searching on Google or whichever search engine you use, make sure you specify location. You don’t want to find an amazing photographer only to find out they are not in your particular location! However, if you have a larger budget, some photographers may be willing to travel to your location, or to a desired location you may have in mind. Also, consider what type of location you would like to have as your setting, outdoor, in studio at your home and make sure the photographer you choose is comfortable shooting in those locations and settings.
5. Do your due diligence (ask questions and read fine print)
Each photographer has certain set of rules and regulations that they work by. Make sure you know the cancelation policy, or how they handle rescheduling (especially if you have small children involved in the photoshoot). Also, read reviews, do your research on the photographer and ask questions. When working with a photographer, I always send some sort of presentation or list of the vision that I want created and make sure that they are super clear of what my expectations are. Don’t be afraid to email, or call and ask questions.
Lastly, plan ahead, have back up clothing, back up location in case of bad weather so there are no added stresses and you are prepared for whatever comes your way! Family photographs should be fun a fun and enjoyable experience. At the end of the day, you just need to have fun with your photographer and be yourselves and capture some memories to last a lifetime!
Note: All photographs in this article are from the talented Oxana Alex Photography from Los Angeles, CA.