Photography is part of my love language. Not only do I enjoy taking photos, but I also enjoy hanging photos and having family photos taken. We live in a 900 sq. ft. apartment, and I have over 250 photos displayed. I subscribe to the mentality of collecting memories, not things, and I love that photos are able to capture a moment in time. Like that moment before my husband and I parachuted out of a plane. Or that moment my husband started crying when he saw me walking down the aisle. Or those gummy smiles my almost two-year-old would give me when he was only a couple months old. I never want to lose those memories.
To ensure that those moments are forever documented, we’ve hired many professional photographers over the years, and in my opinion, we’ve had the opportunity to work with some very talented artists. In selecting who we want to have snapping our family’s photos, we ask ourselves five questions.
- Have they had experience in photographing families? Having a portfolio of beautiful wedding and engagement photos is great, but if they haven’t worked with small children before, chances are they aren’t the right photographer for you.
- Are they open to what you want? For every photographer we’ve worked with, I’ve created a Pinterest board ahead of time to give them an idea of what I’m thinking in regards to style. Some photographers have used it as a point of reference, and others have actually saved images to their phone for ways to pose us. Both ways work for us because it means they were taking into account what we wanted.
- Are they reliable? Do reviews say that the photographer arrived on time, prepared for the shoot AND returned pictures in a timely fashion? If reviews lack in any of those areas, you probably want to look elsewhere.
- Do they fit your budget? Cost is dependent from family to family and area to area, but make sure that the photographer’s prices work for your budget. Often times photographers have a sitting fee plus the cost of photos, so factor all costs into your assessment.
- Do they give you the rights to your photos? A non-negotiable for me is receiving the rights to our photos. I want to be able to print photos at my leisure, and I don’t want my online gallery disappearing in 90 days. Every photographer we’ve worked with has given us a zip drive or CD of our images plus a written statement saying they give us the right to print the photos (which you need to print at local drugstores).
Once you find a photographer you love, stick with them! The more they photograph your family, the better they’ll get at understanding your style and connecting with you. Photographers are an extension of your family, if only for a couple hours each year.