While planning a family vacation for this summer, there was one thing that was on the top of my list. No, it wasn’t finding the perfect vacation rental property or just the right summer afternoon activity. It was finding the right photographer to take our family portrait! I am the oldest of four siblings, three girls and one boy. My two younger sisters have each married and had a baby over the last few years so my number one priority while we will all be together is getting a portrait made with new husbands and the most adorable nephew and niece in the world (I’m biased, I know!).
As I was going through this process, I thought about all of the things that matter to me as a photographer when I am providing services to my clients. And although I have the inside track about photography and how to work my camera, I am not very good at self-portraits – not to mention that large group self-portraits are nearly impossible. No, I fully follow my own advice and intend to hire a professional to do this for me. Although I know what to look for, it occurred to me that some of you out there might be struggling with such a decision, so I thought I would share my 4 Steps to Finding Your Perfect Photographer which will help you evaluate any photographer you come across. This week we will look at steps 1 and 2, style and process, and next week we will finish off the 4 steps with products and price so that you can be on your way to finding your perfect photographer
4 Steps to Finding Your Perfect Photographer
Step 1: Style
Style comes first because, let’s face it, if you don’t love the work they have done in the past, it’s unlikely you will be mesmerized by what they create for you. Finding someone who is your ‘style’ of photographer is totally a numbers game. You have to look at a lot to find the right fit. I liken it to finding the right wedding dress. You don’t often fall in love with the first one you try on (and even if you do, you may still want to shop around to see what else is out there). You have to try on a lot of dresses to find THE ONE!
Finding the right photographer is the same. I suggest starting by asking your friends and co-workers if they have a photographer they love. Referrals are the best way to start your search because they have the added bonus of being recommended by someone you know. Get a list together and then take an hour one evening and start checking their websites. Look at the work they have posted. Is it pretty? Does it make you feel something? Can you imagine yourself or your family/newborn/senior in photos like these? If the answer is yes, then put a star next to that photographer so you can come back to them later in the checklist. If their photographs don’t “make your heart sing” then cross them off the list. Don’t spend time looking into something that doesn’t match your style. If you don’t have recommendations, start checking Google! Start with your town and search what you are looking for: “Boston Newborn Photographer” or “San Diego Family Photographer.” Visit the sites that come up and make a list of the photographers whose work impresses you. Once you have a list, you’re ready for step 2!
*Note: Step 2 and 3 can be interchanged if you’d like. This is the way I went about it because of what is most important to me!
Step 2: Process
When I say process, I mean the photographer’s process and how they service you as a client. At Babies and Beauties Photography, we are full-service because I believe in being with my clients every step of the way.
- “What do I wear?”
- “What time is best for my photo session?”
- “How and when will I see the photographs once the session is over?”
These are just a few of many questions clients may have so I make it very clear that we are there for all of these things; from planning location and clothing to capturing the best photos. From presenting the images at an in-person ordering appointment where we can help you make decisions about how to display your photographs, all the way through to delivery of your products and installation of your wall art. If you feel like you just want digital files and will figure out the rest on your own, there are a plethora of photographers whose process will fit your needs. So, now you head back to that list and check the website for information on what you can expect when working with that photographer. You may cross a few more off of that list and then you can move on to the next step.