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 as you struggle to communicate what you’re looking for and to identify what sets any one family photographer apart from the rest. 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 you’re in the market for a family photographer that lives in or near your city/town/neighborhood. So, how can you find a quality family photographer in your area? I recommend starting with a simple Google search for something along the lines of “Washington DC family photographer” or “family portraits in Washington DC.” You can also check out google places – an excellent tool to help you hone in on local businesses and professionals near you.
Step 2: Know your style
Non-photography buffs often struggle to describe what a photographer’s style is or they fail to recognize its importance all together. Well, I’m here to tell you – 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 while others focus on soft, natural, documentary style portraits. And while the photographer may be able to imitate a different cuisine, he or she is never going to be quite as good as someone who specializes exclusively in the style that 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 examples online.
Step 4: Consider the cost
Quality family photography is an investment, which I first wrote about in a blog post back in 2009 – there’s just no getting around that. But settling for a family photographer because it’s the only one you can afford is a terrible investment to buy into. Why? Because paying money for a portrait you don’t love and wouldn’t hang up in your living room is nothing more than a sour memory and a waste of your time and money. Choose a photographer that your truly value and trust, then ask yourself what your family portraits are really worth to you and how you could 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 and advise you on how to display the finished product?
Step 5: Make contact
Once you’ve narrowed down the search to 2-4 photographers, it’s time to make personal contact. Call or email the prospective photographer and 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. And only after they’ve described themselves 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 the process and make sure you’re confident that you’ll receive a quality product.
If you’re looking for a Washington DC family photographer, I’m glad you stumbled across this webpage and I’d love for us to do business together – but most importantly I want you to make an informed choice that is right for your family. Finding the right family photographer can be an incredibly gratifying process, and one that hopefully ends with you falling in love with your family portraits. You can find additional information about custom photography and questions to ask prospective photographers on this comprehensive website about the subject.
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!