Updated: Dec 27, 2018
Do you ever find yourself browsing through the beautiful images taken by a professional photographer and start thinking that it wouldn’t be half-bad to get a session arranged for your family?
Maybe you’ve just had a new baby or recently adopted a puppy, maybe the love you share with your partner is so fantastic, it just must be captured and admired for the years to come.
Whatever your reasons and whatever your family looks like, if you are reading this blog, there is a very high chance that professional photography is of interest to you as a service.
As, photography is an investment – both – financial and emotional – it is definitely worth doing the research, some pondering, soul-searching, considering pros and cons before finally deciding on WHO will get The Job of capturing your beautiful tribe’s dynamics.
It’s tempting to start with the numbers – after all, we all live to a budget. And whether you are looking at photographers in the ‘5 zeros range’ (who are you?) or hunting for a freebie (who are you?), money will inevitably always be a consideration.
But! See it this way: it is not about HOW MUCH you are spending, but WHAT you are getting in return.
I am a self-confessed recovering shopaholic and, let me tell you, I have a LOT of experience in buying things that were a ‘bargain’ price, only to discover I never actually use them – which means I overpaid by 100%!
It is likely that a family photo session is a milestone event – celebrating an occasion or capturing The Now – when you consider the cost, spread out through the days, the months, the years, in which you will enjoy and reminisce with these images, I guarantee your calculation will show you that they are priceless!
There are a LOT of photographers out there.
There are many good ones.
There are some who are great.
There are a few who are amazing.
Choosing the right one for you, someone whose services ticks all the boxes is not an easy task, but I offer my insights into how to approach the selection process to maximise the chances of hitting the photog jackpot!
You will find a range of packages available – some offer ‘all in’ prices, where the price you see gets you the photo session, a number of digitals (or prints!) and everything in-between, some offer a more ‘a la carte’ option – where you pay separately for a session fee and then add on the actual images (prints and/or digitals) – be aware of this and make sure you understand the format and the final potential cost in advance. Misunderstanding the pricing structure can leave a bad taste in your month needlessly.
My packages are ‘all inclusive’ – you chose one of the three, pay the fee and receive the photo session and the images, as per the package description. There are never any hidden costs – anything extra will be only at your request and will be discussed and agreed ahead of us even meeting for the photo session.
You will find a range of photographers available – some shoot in-studio, others will work outdoors, some will come to your home, others will invite you to theirs… again – make sure you understand what’s on offer and what it is YOU want
I work in what I call ‘the natural habitat’ – the beautiful outdoors and also Your Home. To me, nature provides the most stunning ever-changing backdrop and your home is… well, your home.
But there are definite benefits to working with a studio too, where the environment is clean and photogenic and the photographer is 100% in control of the light – if this is the look you are after, than an outdoors shoot is likely not for you.
You will see a range of styles on offer – some photographers lean towards a more dark and moody edit, while others will go all bright and wonderful on you, you’ll get those, who pose and direct and those, who quietly observe – and everything else in-between.
Make sure you review their portfolio – don’t just book someone because your friend said a friend of their neighbour’s nephew’s cousin’s puppy’s babysitter’s Fairy godmother said they heard they were good.
My style is taking the lead from you and yours: I will definitely guide some – after all, grandmas want those posed, smile-into-the-camera portraits; – but a lot of it is capturing the natural dynamics of your unit – the way you look at your partner, the way your child laughs with you, the cuddles and the kiss, the pure joy – which is the true portrait of your Family. This may be 100% what you are after, but you also might want someone to throw a bunch of pose directions at you and let you get on with your day (absolute honest truth, this may be the easier way for you) – review your considered photographer’s work, you will see the style they produce and this will help you decide whether or not they are The One for you.
Another thing worth considering is that for different types of sessions, you will want to hire different people - this is completely 'normal'. You wouldn't have a newborn session held outdoors (unless you aren't based in Scotland or are extremely brave) and someone who only works in their own studio, with very stylized props will not provide the Fresh 48 (first two days after your baby is born and often held at the hospital) experience for you.
You might want to have Christmas family photos done outside by one person, who absolutely rocks these and then have someone come to your home for a Lifestyle session in your newly built house in the summer.
Consider these options - just because you love someone's newborn work will not make them great for your teenage kids or your puppies.
My final piece of advice is to get to know your photographer a little beyond the numbers, the ‘looks’ and the packages: have a chat with them, get a feel for what they are like, because, this is likely how they will be with you on the day. Unless you LOVE getting your photo taken (97.8%* of the people I meet say they don’t (*unverified, estimated number) but then rock the shoot anyway) this is CRUCIAL!
You will look at the images around your home for years to come and inevitably, will remember the time spent with this (currently) stranger. It is important for the pictures to be good, it’s also important that the memories of you getting these pictures are special.
Questions? Thoughts? Experiences? I would love-love-love to hear them all!
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