By Mallika Malhotra
Happy September! Kids are back at school, the temperature is starting to cool down and now is the time of year to start planning holiday photo sessions. Everyone wants portraits to gift relatives, images to use in the yearly holiday card and pictures to decorate their home’s walls.
If you don’t already have a photographer in mind, today is the day to start looking. But with so many photographers out there, how do you choose? Here are some tips to help you select the best professional photographer for your family.
Not all photographers are the same. It is important to spend time looking through the images on the photographer’s website, blog and Facebook. Make sure your style and aesthetic matches the photographer’s creative vision. Do you prefer posed or candid? Do you like traditional or more modern? Do you like their style of lighting? Did the photographer capture connection and emotion in a way that resonated with you? Do the images look natural or overly edited? Take time and really browse through their portfolio. Ask yourself if you would hang the photos from their portfolio in your own home. It is so important to understand your photographer’s style and choose someone that appeals to you.
To me, this is a big one. It is essential to talk over the phone or by email to the photographer before you book a session. You want to make sure you feel comfortable with that person. Because let’s be honest, photo shoots are sometimes stressful. You want to make sure the person behind the camera is in control and can help your family feel natural. Pay attention to the photographer’s tone, their word choice, their reaction time. Are they warm or matter of fact? Are they patient and informative? Did they respond to you in a timely way? Will they take the time to get to know your family? Do they like children? All of these factors are so important to capturing the story of your family. If he/she feels like a friend from the start, then you’re on the right track!
Read the Testimonials
Make sure to read what previous clients have written about their photography experience. Seek out referrals too. Friends and family are the best places to get honest reviews of photographers. Ask them how they liked working with the photographer, were they happy with their images and products, how quickly did the photographer share the images/deliver the goods and would they book the photographer again. Also visit their Facebook pages to see unsolicited feedback on the images and experience. You can learn a lot on Facebook.
Read the Bio
Find out more about the person behind the lens. How long have they been shooting? How many years in business? Are they self-taught or did they get a degree in photography? Have they been featured in any magazines or websites? Won any awards? Are they also parents? Why do they do this? You want to know more then just their personality. You want information that tells about their professional path and passions. And if you can’t find it, simply ask them!
Prices and Products
Living in a digital world, we now have photographers at every price point. In a way this is a wonderful thing because it is now a service for everyone. But, I urge you to be wary of low pricing. It might look like a steal on paper but take a closer look at the images and products that you get in return for the price. Are the images all edited? Do they have a consistent look and style? Does the photographer offer professional products like albums or canvas that will stand the test of time? Will the photographer spend time with you to select the right images and packages for your needs? Photography is an investment and a tool to remember your most cherished moments and storytelling memories. You want it to be the best quality it can be. You want to work with a professional.
Are you now ready to start your search? If you’ve been thinking about portraits for awhile, this is the time to do it because before you know it, the holidays will be here. So ask around for names and recommendations. Look closely at portfolios. Remember you are trusting a professional to tell the story of your children and family. You want the experience to be fun, stress free and memorable because hopefully, you’ll do it every year or so. Hope these tips help you find the right photographer for your family. Good luck!
Mallika Malhotra, owner of mikifoto, captures the love and life of your family. Through her camera and creative eye, she tells your story through pictures. Her vibrant personality makes photo sessions fun and children simply adore her. Her work has been featured on The Alternative Press Millburn/Short Hills, South Mountain Says, Mom Inc, Elizabeth Street and Bella Child Magazine. When Mallika is not taking photos, she is sharing her passion for entrepreneurship with the women of BIG (http://www.believeinspiregrow.com).