Family photos are not just a way to document your family’s life, they’re an investment in your legacy. With the abundance of digital cameras out there and countless photographers offering services, it can be hard to choose a family photographer who is the right one for you – so here are 6 tips to help narrow down your search for the ideal family photographer:

Tip 1: Clarify what you’re looking for in a family photographer and do some window shopping.

When selecting a family photographer, keeping in mind your desired outcomes will help you find the right fit. Think about what you ultimately want to get out of a family photo session. At first, you may just be thinking about capturing images of special moments. But ultimately it’s not just about the images. It’s also about how you will enjoy those images. Do you want to display them on the wall or have an album to look at with your kids as they get older? Ask yourself questions such as: What types of end products can I expect from this photographer? Are canvas wraps, standouts, albums, or digital files available? And what is the cost for these photography goods?

Image of little girl sitting in front of brick was was selected to display as a framed print in family's home. When choosing a family photographer, make sure they offer the end product you are looking for.

choose a family photographer who offers products that you want to have at the end of your photo session, like this example of two large photo prints framed with matting for a wall display in family room of client home

Tip 2: Did you find a family photographer offering a big discount? Don’t get carried away by a sale!

Everyone loves a good deal, but deep discounts should never be the deciding factor in selecting one family photographer over another. Why? Because the bargain is a bust if you wind up with photos you hate. When it comes to family portraits, you almost always get what you pay for.

Skilled professional family photographers not only know how to take beautiful images, but they also invest in excellent equipment and professional-grade printing. These expenses are just a portion of the costs of running a viable photography business and factor into the prices they charge for the finished product. But is it worth it?

As you’re looking at prices in your search for a family photographer, think of it this way—in 20 or 30 years from now, if you are still thrilled with your precious family photos, will you regret your investment? Conversely, will you be glad you got a good deal on photos that weren’t worth displaying?

Consider selecting a family photographer whose images are worthy of displaying in your home like this photo of a 5-year old girl in Washington DC by Julie Kubal

Tip 3: Get a sense of style when searching for a family photographer.

Family photographers each have a particular perspective and some will be more willing to adapt to your particular needs than others. Peruse their website, ask for samples, and spend some time getting a sense of their unique aesthetics. Notice their editing style and try to envision how that portrait look would incorporate into your home. Is the lighting too dramatic? Do the shots look natural or overly retouched? Are poses stiff or do they seem to capture the spontaneity of the moment?

pick a family moment who can capture candid moments like this image of a father helping baby son stand on sidewalk. Image by best Alexandria, VA baby photographer Julie Kubal

Tip 4: Be clear about your expectations.

Quality photographers want to deliver products that you will cherish for years to come. If you have a special request, ask ahead of time if the photographer can accommodate you. Perhaps you want some family pet shots or want to shoot at various locations – ask in advance.

When choosing a family photographer in Washington DC, ask about including your dog or other pets.

Tip 5: Check up on personality & professionalism.

It is often the case with family and child photography that you will be inviting the photographer into your home to spend several hours with your family. Therefore, it’s important to choose a family photographer who can establish a positive atmosphere and make everyone feel at ease. Professional photographers have years of experience soothing nerves and prompting natural smiles.

In addition to their style and personality, you should make sure you’re pick a family photographer who has a registered business, whether they are insured, if they belong to any professional photography organizations, and if they participate in charity. For example, I have information on my website about all of the different fundraisers and charitable organizations I have worked with over the years.

Tip 6: Before selecting a family photographer, make contact.

In your search for family photographers, you will undoubtedly spend a bit of time looking at their websites, Instagram profiles, or Facebook pages to find answers to any questions. However, if you need more information, don’t hesitate to email and ask all your lingering questions directly. Having these concerns out of the way will help you make an informed decision about which family photographer to choose.

As an experienced Washington DC family photographer, I have been working with local families all over the DMV for almost 15 years. If you are struggling to choose a photographer, get in touch with me! I’d be happy to talk to with you to discover whether we might be a good match for your next family photo session.

Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.About the Photographer and 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!