Back in the day, whenever your mom wanted updated photos of you or your family, you would most likely have found yourself in some sort of a matching outfit scenario and would be dragged to the nearest Sears or JCPenny photo studio. This is no longer the case, and a quick Google or Instagram search will have you reeling down a rabbit hole of thousands of photographers all in your area. Which, I’ll agree, can be very overwhelming and stressful.
So how doe one go about finding the right photographer? That’s a big question, but my hope is by the end of this you’ll have a much more confident approach to finding the best photographer match that can meet your needs, and budget, and give you the best experience possible. Let’s dive into it, shall we?
Because photography is an investment, it’s important to do your research before you leap. Here are my five top tips for you when it comes to finding the right photographer.
Most photographers have a signature style, so when you’re looking at your list of potential photographers, take five minutes to scroll through their Instagram or website, and you will begin to see how they edit and what they typically document.
If you don’t like their style, then move on. I would suggest not even reaching out to that photographer, because asking a photographer to edit in a different style or document something they don’t document regularly could jeopardize the quality of your photos and experience. Because it is unlikely a bright and airy photographer could edit your photos to fit a dark and moody style or a photographer who specializes in posed photos probably won’t be able to give you lifestyle/candid images, so before you reach out to a photographer, make sure their style resonates with you.
It’s best to find a photographer that specializes in the genre you are looking for. Just like selecting a doctor, you want to find the one that specializes in the area of your concern. A great wedding photographer could be terrible at photographing toddlers and an award-winning landscape photographer could know nothing about posing a family.
How to make sure you are reaching out to a photographer who can document the genre of photography you are looking for, take some time to look through their website and blog. Here you’ll most likely find the bulk of their work and can see if their skills and style can help fulfill your needs.
This is a big part of booking a photographer, so don’t take this part lightly. There is nothing wrong with having a budget, we all have that threshold. However here are my two tips and tricks when it comes to booking a photographer and investment:
Photography is an investment, hire a true professional, there will always be someone cheaper but cheaper does not be better
You and your photographer are going to spend time together no matter what genre of photography you are looking for, and so it is really important to know you and the photographer jive together. It’s important to ask yourself, ‘What is their personality like?’ and ‘Am I going to be comfortable with them in my home or around my children?’
It’s also important to ask yourself more technical questions about the photographer as well such as; “do they have children/will they know how to interact with your children?” “How flexible will they be if you suddenly need to postpone?” “Do they feel like someone I can continue to work with as my family grows?” “How much experience do they have?”
Scroll through their Instagram and website and see how many of these questions you can answer. If you feel confident with them but you still have some questions, that’s when you reach out and fill out the inquiry form. From there you can get to know more about them, their process, what it’s like to work with them, what your experience is going to be like, and if they can fulfill your needs.
A big part of my job as a photographer is spending a lot of time finding locations that I can share with my clients. When you connect with the photographer you are looking to hire, ask them about their location scouting process. Find out if they have a good location with water or a forest or whatever your vision is. Ask if they have some good locations that may not fit your vision (in a beautiful forest) but that will meet your needs (i.e. a wooded park that is more family-friendly and accessible than a forest two hours away.)
Ultimately, you want a photographer who is confident, capable, and who can help you choose the right location.
In the end, go with your gut! Reach out to those photographers and see how they make you feel with their emails or on the phone call. If you are feeling hesitant or iffy even if they’re in your budget or you believe their skill set would be able to help you get the photos you want, then that is a telltale sign that they just may not be the right fit for you. And that’s okay.
I hope you found this guide helpful and useful the next time you are looking to hire a photographer. And if you are looking to hire a photographer to document your family or engagement, and you found that all of this resonated with you, I would love to connect with you.