Finding a quality photographer for your family photos can feel like a long, confusing, search in the dark. You’ll have to wade through dozens of websites and photo portfolios. Sometimes, it’s a struggle to communicate what you’re looking for. Identifying what sets any one family photographer apart from the rest is a challenge on its own. Here are five steps to finding the right family photographer for you:
Step 1: Pinpoint your Location
Unless you’ve got a trip coming up, or are willing to pay a photographer’s travel expenses, chances are the right family photographer lives in or near your city/town/neighborhood. What’s the best way to find a quality family photographer in your area? I recommend starting with a simple Google search. Something along the lines of “Washington DC family photographer” or “family portraits in Washington DC.” You can also check out Google Places. It’s an excellent tool to help you home in on local businesses and professionals near you.
Step 2: Know your Style
Non-photography buffs often struggle to describe a photographer’s particular style. Sometimes they fail to recognize its importance all together. If you want to fall in love with your family portraits, style is the most important thing to focus on. In many ways, family photographers are like chefs. They each specialize in a different “cuisine”. Some cook up dramatized, heavily retouched images. Others focus on soft, natural, documentary style portraits. While the photographer may be able to imitate a different style, it won’t be second nature. They’re never going to be quite as good as someone who specializes in the style you’re hungry for.
Step 3: Know your Photographer
After you’ve defined and identified the style of photography you enjoy, look through a few online portfolios of local photographers who exhibit that style. Visit their Facebook Page, explore their website galleries, and ask for samples of their work if you can’t find any online.
Step 4: Consider the Cost
Quality family photography is an investment. I first wrote about it in a blog post back in 2009 – there’s just no getting around that. Settling for a family photographer because they’re the only one you can afford is a terrible idea. Paying money for a portrait you don’t love is nothing more than a sour memory and a waste of your time and money. Choosing the right family photographer means choosing the one you truly value and trust. Ask yourself what your family portraits are worth to you. Then find a way to make the investment. I also encourage my clients to keep in mind total value – rather than simply the session price. What is your takeaway value? How much of the photographer’s time do you have? Is there editing involved? How much will they assist you in making your final image selections? Will they advise you on how to display the finished product? Or are you on your own once the photos are taken?
Step 5: Make Contact
Once you’ve narrowed down the search to 2-4 photographers, it’s time to make contact. Call or email your prospective photographers. Then take some time to speak with them personally. Before you describe exactly what you want and what you’re looking for, ask questions of them. Invite them to tell you about their businesses, how they would describe their work/style, what sets them apart from the competition etc. After they’ve described themselves, you should you tell them exactly what you’re looking for. Taking this approach forces the photographer to be more transparent and authentic, rather than simply telling you everything you want to hear. Ask questions, share ideas, and be open about your wants and concerns. The right family photographer will take the time to walk you through their process. Trust me, they’ll want to make sure you’re confident knowing you’ll receive a quality product from them.
If you’re looking for a Washington DC family photographer, I’m glad you stumbled across this webpage. I’d love for us to do business together. But most importantly, I want you to make an informed decision that’s right for your family. Finding the right family photographer can be an incredibly gratifying process. Hopefully, it ends with you falling in love with your family portraits.
Do you have any questions about how to choose the right family photographer for you? Write to me in the comments section below and I’d be happy to help you in any way I can!
About the Author:
Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!